It was one giant party at Shafter on Friday night. At least for the home team.
Spurred by a raucous crowd — in what appeared to be a packed house on both sides of the ledger — the Generals moved to 8-2 on the season and 5-1 in South Sequoia League play with a 47-7 win over rival Wasco.
In this long-standing series, anything is possible. It was nearly 10 years since Shafter last beat Wasco, but the Generals took care of business Friday. In a game typically reserved for the unexpected, this was a one-sided outcome that went strictly in the home team’s favor.
"It felt great, honestly," said said Shafter quarterback Alex Aguilar. "It was a relief for all of us. We reset the machine tonight."
Aguilar, wide receivers Jackson Sanchez and Marco Rodriguez, along with a gaggle of other offensive weapons for Shafter cut through the Wasco defense like a hot knife through butter in the opening half.
Aguilar ripped off big run after big run (a 61-yard TD; a 40-yarder into Wasco territory; and a 17-yard scamper) while hitting his targets regularly in the passing game. Shafter took a 19-0 lead early through the second quarter, and it appeared like things could get ugly in a hurry.
Still, Wasco (5-5, 4-2) hung around and got a big touchdown to stop the bleeding — a 91-yard scoring run from Dontreon Smith made the score 19-7 with 3:31 to go in the opening half.
Midway through the third quarter, however, the Tigers suffered a turnover on a drive in Wasco territory. Shafter would add two more touchdowns — two runs from Aguilar (from 10 and four yards out). That effectively put things away, with Wasco in full-on pass mode and unable to move the ball effectively via that mode of transportation.
The rout was officially on after that, with Aguilar adding two more scoring runs — 38 and 44 yards — as the Generals poured it on. In true rivalry fashion, the Generals even recovered a short kickoff attempt with 3:30 remaining, up 47-7.
Head coach Jerald Pierucci said the kickoff was designed to be a pooch kick that was simply mishit by Rodriguez.
"My kicker missed the dang ball," Pierucci said.
Aguilar proved his mettle once again as a true all-around threat.
He threw for 246 yards and rushed for 277 while accounting for six touchdowns on the evening.
"Even at the Division I schools, he'd probably have the opportunity to play there," Pierucci said. "We're lucky to have him. He's a special athlete."
The atmosphere was nothing short of electric in this rivalry that dates back to 1933.
Fans packed the house for the junior varsity game, and by the time varsity took the field for warmups, it was wall-to-wall electricity at Shafter High School.