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Generals clinch a share of SSL title

The Shafter Generals clinched at least a share of the SSL title with a 28-21 win over host Kennedy High School last week. The win gives the Generals a perfect 9-0 record heading into its rivalry game with Wasco High on Friday night.

The game was a title fight between two heavyweights, trading blows. Kennedy struck in the first quarter, breaking out on a long touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead. The Generals answered back with a touchdown late in the first quarter, tying the score.

The Thunderbirds took a lead into halftime with a touchdown just before the end of the half, leading 14-7. In the second half, before the Generals could attempt to tie the score, the Thunderbirds went up by 14 points, making the score 21-7.

Quarterback Ezekiel Osborn connected on a long touchdown pass to Jesus Figueroa, one of two touchdown passes Osborn had for over 50 yards each. He tossed a 67-yard pass to Maryon Sloan to cut into the lead, and then with Figueroa for 56 yards to tie the score at 21-21 with under three minutes to go in the game.

The Shafter defense made a critical stop on Kennedy's next drive, capped off by a powerful sack by Alex Aguirre.

Osborn and company drove the length of the field in under two minutes, getting a first down and goal at the Thunderbird 3-yard line. The Generals then got into the Wildcat formation, and Sloan took a direct snap into the end zone for the win. Osborn ended the game going 9-13 for 273 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, the Generals were led by Sloan with 12 tackles, Nick Rossette and Alex Aguirre.

Coach Jerald Pierucci said that he couldn't say enough about the resiliency of his players. "Every time they get down on the scoreboard, they never get down on the field. They always come back."

The Generals would win the South Sequoia League title outright with a victory against the Tigers of Wasco on Friday night. The Tigers have one loss in the SSL, against the Thunderbirds. The game on Friday night will be the culmination of a week of activities at Shafter High during "Wasco Week," including games at lunch, dress-up days and an exchange rally on Friday.


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