Shafter, Calif. - As the Shafter Generals are preparing for a scimmage against McFarland the motto "One Heartbeat" with the number 79 is plainly displayed on team shirts. The scrimmage marks one week before the opening game in the in their third year under head coach Ricky Ishida.
"You hit clean, you wrap up, you let them know that they got hit by a General," coach Ishida barks in the pregame, "eleven Generals with one heartbeat."
One heartbeat is the General's theme for the 2013 season. A theme arising out of one Fateful night, late December of 2012.
Varsity lineman Moises Chavira died suddenly in a car crash while on Winter Break. The Generals lost the heart of their offensive line and of the locker room.
"Moises was one of those young men that would every single day come to my classroom and shake my hand," coach Ishida described, "whether is was to give me a hug, just a kid that you always wanted around and had a presence in a room."
"The year before high school we got pared up together on the same football team," offensive tackle Greg Richardson, Jr told 23ABC, "we had a great friendship. Moises was an awesome player."
The person closest to Moises, his brother Eduardo, recalled the worst night of his life.
"They got in a car wreck in Loma Linda, San Bernadino," Eduardo said, "so we were at home, all I remember was my mom knocking on my door like, telling me Moises got in a car accident, we didn't know how bad it was. I only called his two best friends and I let them know."
"Some of our boys and some of our coaches were just shocked," Ishida described.
The Generals will march on for the first time without Moises in their opening game, Friday hosting Strathmore with one goal in mind and one heartbeat.
"I feel like he will be there in a spirit for me," Richardson explained, "I plan on going and visiting him at the cemetery before the game."
"We're definitely going to have a moment of silence and do things throughout the season to honor him," coach Ishida described, "we want to show his family that he has another family here."
"Not seeing him there will be hard but knowing that the kids' drive is Moises, that's what's pushing my family to go to all the games and support them just as Moises would support them," Eduardo told 23ABC, "hopefully we have a good season this year."
The Generals opened the season with a 42-14 win over Strathmore, you can see the highlights on the FNL page of turnto23.com