While some Kern County teams were guaranteed to get their first wins Friday night, the odds didn't look so favorable for West High.
But with a depleted roster and a shutdown effort by its defense in the second half, the previously winless Vikings ended their season with an upset, rallying past Independence for a 21-14 win in prep football action.
A week after having their game against East canceled, the Falcons, who came in 3-0, were not at full strength, playing without star running back Evan Peaker and dual-threat quarterback LaDon Denmark. Despite this, they were still able to grab a 14-7 halftime lead behind a 28-yard touchdown run by Emiliano Rodriguez and a 53-yard touchdown catch by Mekhi Deans.
But West (1-4) took control beginning with the opening kickoff of the second half, which sophomore Raymond Huerta returned into Falcon territory to set up a touchdown.
Quarterback Dalon Leach, who rushed for 135 yards, accounted for all three Viking touchdowns, including a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter which put West ahead. That was enough for the Viking defense, which didn't allow a point in the second half and forced three turnovers.
West was able to do this with a depleted roster that forced several young players into varsity action for the first time.
"We started with a team (in the) mid-30s. We ended with 22 kids," Viking coach Derrick Dunham said. "We had to combine our JV and varsity this week, played some freshman and sophomores who'd never played a (varsity) game.
"This is just a really big win for the program. I'm really proud of the kids who stuck through it. They really could have given up but the kids fought it out."
Kern Valley and Ridgeview both broke into the win column for the first time Friday night as well.
The Broncs were led by quarterback Kaden Preston, who accounted for 348 yards and four touchdowns in a 40-34 in over Arvin (0-5). Preston gained 203 of those yards on the ground while Vincent Pearman scored three touchdowns as well, one of which came on a 99-yard fumble return.
Jaron Amos (174) and Tommy Strickland (118) both eclipsed 100 yards on the ground for the Wolf Pack, who topped Stockdale 32-6 for their first win.
Strickland also had 1.5 sacks for a Ridgeview defense that took the ball away four times.
Stockdale (0-3) has one more chance to earn its first win next week, when it travels to face Frontier in a game that was postponed in week one.
That will prove difficult against a streaking Frontier team that improved to 3-1 Friday, overcoming a slow start by scoring 25 unanswered points in a 25-13 win over Centennial (2-3).
PATRIOTS ROUT DRILLERS, FINISH 5-0
Liberty capped an undefeated spring with a dominant win over arch rival BHS, riding a powerful run game an imposing defense to a 35-0 win.
Prentice Boone, Hayden Mann and Jalen Hankins ran for a combined 241 yards, Jojo Montecinos had 102 yards receiving and the Patriot defense shut the Drillers out for the second time in three years.
The Patriots have won three consecutive matchups with BHS, outscoring them 79-7 in that span.
MIRA MONTE CLINCHES FIRST WINNING SEASON
Mira Monte made history with its 40-12 win over Foothill Friday.
Abe Casillas ran for 193 yards and two touchdowns, quarterback Sebastian Marbaugh accounted for three touchdowns, and the Lions finished the season 3-2, the first winning season in program history.
"It's an amazing accomplishment," Mira Monte coach Christian Johnson said. "All the credit goes to the players ... especially this senior class. They have done nothing but work hard and compete for the last three years and have this program going in the right direction."