For the first time all season, defensive tackle Aziz Shittu and his Atwater Buhach Colony teammates found themselves trailing on Friday night, looking up at a 24-19 second-half deficit against Turlock Pitman. The Thunder were able to rally for a 27-24 victory behind a final scoring drive and big defensive stand. Both teams entered the game with 6-0 records, and the buildup all week long had been intense.
Shittu (6-foot-2, 275 pounds) was noticeably drained after the game, clutching his back and leg at various points throughout the contest. But his quickness and versatility was evident. He was constantly challenged by Pitman's veer offense, as the Pride often simply ran away from him. But there were plays where Shittu was able to fight off defenders and make the play. He authored two highlight plays, chasing down a running back on the edge and delivering a crushing blow on one, and quickly penetrating through the line and putting a big hit on the opposing quarterback just after the ball was released.
Shittu said he has put recruiting on the back burner at this point, concentrating on leading Buhach Colony back to the playoffs. The usual suspects dot the top of his list -- Stanford, California, USC -- but he has given no hints as to where he is leaning. Shittu did have a chance to watch the USC-California game on Thursday night and said he was very impressed with how the Trojans came out and dominated.