The Shafter High Generals football team earned the nickname "Cardiac Kids" last year, after pulling off one come-from-behind victory after another during the playoff run. Well, the Kids made an appearance on Friday night, as they came from 14 points down with under four minutes to go in the game to beat the Bakersfield Christian Eagles, 35-34, improving their record to 4-0.
Behind 34-20, Shafter's Ezekiel Osborn hit Maryon Sloan for a short touchdown pass to narrow the lead to 34-27.
Ernesto Guerrero then executed a successful onside kick, skipping and hopping the ball in the air, and recovered by the Generals. Shafter then scored on another catch by Sloan with under 30 second to go in the game, making the score 34-33. Instead of going for the PAT kick, Head Coach Jerald Pierucci decided to go for the win, and Osborn found Sloan once again in the end zone.
As they did in Bakersfield against the Drillers last week, the Shafter squad had trouble getting anything going in the first quarter. The offense was out of sync, and the defense allowed a number of long passes, two of them for touchdowns, to dig themselves an early hole of 12-0. The Generals found a little rhythm in the second quarter, with Osborn connecting with Sloan, as well as receiver Jesus Figueroa for good gains. Shafter took the lead into the locker room with a score late in the first half, giving them the lead 13-12.
But, in the second half, the Shafter defense had trouble tackling, and the Shafter offense hurt themselves with penalties, as well as several missed blocking assignments.
The Eagles used these miscues to their advantage and built a seemingly insurmountable lead of 34-20, giving their crowd a reason to make some noise. And they came back,
Coach Pierucci said, "I really can't say enough about this group of kids. They could have packed it in when they got down by 14. But, they kept playing and came through."
Osborn ended the game with 20-39 passing for 223 yards and three touchdowns. Cash Gutierrez and Christopher Espinoza gained 110 yards combined, with the holes in the line few and far between for most of the night.
Shafter will open its SSL season on Friday night when they travel to Chavez High to take on the Titans. Kickoff for the junior varsity game is set for 5 p.m., and the varsity kicks off at 7 p.m.