State Sen. Melissa Hurtado joined the Shafter Generals for their Homecoming game with the McFarland Cougars as they dismantled the visitors, 49-0.
Hurtado said that she was proud to join with the Shafter community to celebrate the Homecoming Night and the passing of a bill in both houses of the state legislature.
The bill would make the California Interscholastic Federation hold all State Championship games in football at neutral sites with the best facilities available.
Currently, only Divisions Open and Division I get this protection.
State Bill 486, or the Equity for Rural Schools Act, came about because of Shafter's run to the State Championship game last year. The Generals pulled off upset after upset, earning the right to compete for the State Championship. It was played in Orland, in what could best be described as a mud pit instead of a football field. Coach Jerald Pierucci made headlines with his rant against the CIF after the game ended.
Former State Sen. Dean Florez, a Shafter High graduate, contacted Hurtado after the incident and asked if something could be done at the state level. This got the movement going, including not just Shafter, but all small schools who have had the misfortune to be competing for a state championship in an atmosphere that displayed anything but state championship quality.
"This isn't just about Shafter," Hurtado said "This is for all of the small schools who have every right to compete in the same kind of atmosphere at the state level that every division deserves."
Hurtado went to midfield and tossed the coin at the beginning of the game. She also said that she is proud of the bill and hopes that it helps small town communities throughout the state.
The bill is waiting for the governor to sign it. This could be very soon or it can take up to 30 days for the bill to be signed into law. Two current Shafter Generals players, Maryon Sloan and Ezekiel Osborn, also accompanied Coach Gerald Pierucci and Hurtado onto the Senate floor, testifying on behalf of the bill.