SHAFTER, Calif. — Shafter is a city known for its traditions. More than 100 years worth of them.
And high school football is one of them.
“ It's never gonna get old is still watching young people go out and perform in something that they love to do,” Shafter Head Football Coach Jerald Pierucci said.
The man at the helm since 2016 and Shafter grad, Jerald Pierucci has been busy building his own football traditions. Like developing quarterbacks.
“I think a lot of it comes down to our system we're very quarterback centered and we develop our kids,” Pierucci said.
The lone quarterback for the generals this season is junior Tyson Dozhier.
“This year he's having a lot more success and he's doing everything we need them to do right now, but he still has a long way to go and development,” Pierucci said.
Can we just say that Dozhier is having a doozy of a short season?
“The coaches teach nothing but perfection out of their quarterbacks and they expect nothing but perfection,” Dozhier said.
Through four games he’s passed for more than 1300 yards, ran for another 333 and combined for a total of 21 touchdowns.
“He wants to be good, and he's willing to work to be good, which most players want to be good but they're not really willing to put in the time that you need to be good,” Pierucci said.
“ I like having to put up numbers every week, just because everybody expects it and I like to be put up on on a level where I have to I have to succeed every week to be able to stay in that spotlight,” Dozhier said.
Dozhier evading all types of pressure these days. And he’s even passed for seven scores alone in the Generals 49-6 win over Kern Valley in week two. A school record.
Like most great quarterbacks, he knows he’s not out there alone.
“It’s definitely an honor to be able to be in this position, not only as, as the quarterback but a leader of the team, but ultimately I couldn't have done any of this without my guys back here so props to them for coming to practice and working their butts off just so I can succeed just like the rest of them,” Dozhier said.
One of his top playmakers this season has been senior Cameron Huerta.
“Tyson is a great quarterback. He has great vision great arm strength, his poise, everything about him. He's a great, He's a great person on and off the field,” Huerta said.
And he knows a thing or two about the quarterback role having served as Cesar Chavez’s for two seasons before switching schools and positions to make the most of his final season.
“ This season is just a blessing just being able to play down of North 20 miles you know my hometown went and are playing over there so I figured, you know why not make most make the most out of my senior season,” Huerta said.
“That’s the thing that's probably made my heart sore more than anything, is just watching these kids that have put in four hard years, and getting to see them in, even though a short season, but to see them do what I've always known that they were going to be able to,” Pierucci said.
Shafter making this most of this opportunity for its seniors but also giving a glimpse of more history the team can make in the future.
“Being able to get back on the field and nonetheless just being able to put the pads on back with your boys. It was, it was an amazing feeling, and then be able to do to do, do so and then succeed on the field. It's even more of an amazing feeling so. Overall, I’ve just had a blast being able to be the quarterback of this team,” Dozhier said.
“There's still a lot of upswing and upside he's not playing his best football yet,” Pierucci said.
Shafter looks to improve to 5-0 against another unbeaten team on Friday when they finish this short season at Golden Valley.