ATWATER, Calif. -- In the world of California Central Valley football, the Atwater Buhach Colony football team has become a bit of a traveling circus. A visit from the Thunder is circled on every calendar in the Central California League, and fans young and old flock to get a look at arguably the biggest group of linemen in the state.
Defensive lineman Aziz Shittu might be the most talented player on the team, but he's almost an afterthought when it comes to first-off-the-bus players. That honor likely goes to Aaron Cochran, a junior offensive tackle who stands 6-foot-8 and weighs 310 pounds. And if not him, it could be his older brother, Matt Cochran, a defensive tackle and offensive center who checks in at 6-2, 320. Then again, maybe the pregame chatter from the opposing fans is centered on senior Andrew Mark, a senior offensive tackle who would physically stand out on any other team at 6-5, 290. But when the lights come on and the Thunder defenders settle into their stances, all eyes focus on Shittu, as he combines terrific quickness with a 6-2, 275-pound frame, making him one of the top defensive tackles in the state.
The group possesses size that isn't often seen at the high school level, and fans in the area know they could be witnessing something special -- a true David versus Goliath matchup each Friday. This past weekend was especially interesting, as the Thunder put their perfect 6-0 record up against Turlock Pitman, which also entered the game at 6-0.