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Taft High School football program enjoys 'special journey' this season

Taft team photo.jpg
Posted at 10:18 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 11:20:20-05

CINCINNATI — The Taft High School football team has certainly added to its program legacy this season, and the Senators don't plan on having this campaign completed any time soon.

Taft (9-2), the No. 1 seed in Division V, Region 20, plays No. 5 seed Versailles (11-1) in a regional semifinal 7 p.m. Saturday at Bellbrook's Miami Valley South Stadium. The Senators defeated visiting Springfield Shawnee 21-7 last week to earn their second playoff win in a season for the first time in program history, according to Taft athletic director Romell Salone.

"The message has been just continuing to strive to be better," coach Tyler Williams said. "Continue to come together more as a team and enjoy this journey. This is a special journey for our program and also for our community."

Williams was named the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference Red Division Coach of the Year in his first season as Taft's head coach.

The former Colerain High School football star told his players the sky is the limit for the program. Williams said he has noticed a great deal of leadership from within the program as well as strong chemistry as the team prepared for games throughout the season.

"The guys have been preparing well each and every week with school work, study tables, coming to practice focused and executing the game plan on game day," Williams said. "It's been a great journey."

The Senators are led by several players, including senior defensive back Keyandre Larry, who has nine interceptions. Larry was named the CMAC Red Division's defensive player of the year and the punter of the year.

Taft sophomore defensive end Elias Rudolph has made some key tackles and helped with some fourth down stops, while junior linebacker/defensive lineman Geneo Jackson has also played well the past two games.

Offensively, junior Gavin Crawford had two touchdown carries last week. Crawford, along with junior Jahmar Richardson, helped the Senators reach 300 yards rushing overall. Junior offensive linemen Elijah Garnes and Trevontae Black have returned this postseason to help the rushing game.

Williams said all of the players want to continue this journey, especially for the seniors.

"The school community is extremely proud," Salone said. "This group has seen quite a few accomplishments."

Taft also noticed the great deal of support from the school community and alumni during this playoff run.

"It has been great support," Williams said. "The alumni, they came back. There was a lot of alumni the last game. The fan base is definitely great here at Taft — the alumni is strong, they really love their Taft Senators. They support anything we got going."