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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Generals gear up for biggest test


Last updated 10/21/2023 at 2:22pm | View PDF

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Christopher Espinoza leans across the goal line for a touchdown.

The Shafter High Generals' football team has gone through the season undefeated so far, boasting an 8-0 record, 4-0 in the SSL. They have outscored their opponents by a margin of 254 points, 355-101, with 34 of those points coming in one contest.

Shafter has dominated the majority of their games, with the 35-34 victory against Bakersfield Christian being their only game that was within 28 points, and with last week's, it gave the Generals an extra week to prepare for the squad's biggest test to date.

On Friday night, the team will travel to Delano to take on the Thunderbirds of Kennedy High School. The team has used the extra time to focus on stopping the powerful running game of Kennedy, and planning a strategy that will make the team productive against a well coached team.

"This is probably our biggest game to date," coach Jerald Pierucci said. "They are a well-coached team that will do a lot of things to try and slow us down."

Pierucci also said that he thinks that they will try to wear them down defensively against their running attack. Pierucci said that this past week has been a lot of getting back to the basics and working on the blitz-heavy Kennedy defense. "Our offensive line has a big job ahead of them, with what the Thunderbirds do defensively, EZ [quarterback Ezekiel Osborn] will need to be spot on with our sight adjustments and reads in the passing game."

Defensively, he said that it is really about stopping the run. "They have a very good running attack with a running back that is hard to bring down. A lot of tackling and gang tackling drills this week."

So far this year, Pierucci said that it has been a journey so far, with the team still not playing at the level that they are capable of playing. "I believe we still have some growing to do. But, I am happy with our development so far and how we have handled the schedule so far."

He also said that the past games don't matter leading into these next two weeks. The Generals end their regular season with Kennedy this Friday and hosting rival Wasco the following Friday night.

"We are playing for a SSL Championship. I am looking forward to seeing the Shafter faithful fill that stadium like they always do."


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