In our second Warrior Fan Poll, the Bishop High School Broncos were voted the greatest all-time rival of the Warriors. This non-scientific poll ran from September 8, 2001 until November 9, 2001 (approximately 8 weeks) with 222 votes cast.
The Webster dictionary defines rival as "to be in competition with; to strive to equal or excel ... "
Giving this some thought, who should be considered as the Warriors all-time football rival? Our poll included Bishop, Garces, Shafter, Maricopa, and Mojave.
While not listed, strong consideration could have been given to former Desert-Inyo League rivals Boron, Desert (Edwards AFB), and Rosamond.
Your vote probably depended a lot on when you attended Tehachapi High School ...
Chances are if you attended Tehachapi High in the 1930's or 1940's --- you would have stated that Maricopa, Shafter, or perhaps Lone Pine were the Warriors greatest rivals. The Warriors also had some tremendous non-league battles with Barstow and Victorville all through the late 1940's and early 1950's.
Maricopa and Tehachapi played some intense and heated games in the early years of the Warrior football program. In a 1932 game, Maricopa accused Tehachapi of using a cheating hometown (drunk) referee. Maricopa was so upset, they left the field in the second half of the game. Tehachapi was so outraged by the accusations and actions of the Maricopa team --- that they pulled out of the Sierra League! The Warriors actually played in the "Desert League" in 1933 and 1934.
The Warriors returned to the Sierra League in 1935 but the bitter feelings towards Maricopa went on for many years.
In the mid to late 1950's, the Warriors struggled to defeat McFarland, Strathmore, and Trona. The Warriors played McFarland 31 times in a 35 year stretch between 1930 and 1964. While the Warriors dominated the majority of the games, McFarland defeated Tehachapi three of four times between 1961 and 1964. From 1950 through 1959, the Warriors were 4-4-1 against Trona. From 1955 through 1959, the Warriors were 2-3 against Strathmore. Overall, the Warriors were very successful in the 1950's --- but these teams proved to be difficult.
Throughout the 1960's and 1970's, as previously mentioned, the Warriors were battling with Boron, Desert (Edwards AFB), and Rosamond for league championships.
The 1980's found the Warriors battling with Desert and DIL newcomer Paraclete of Lancaster for league titles. A rivalry was also brewing on the non-league schedule with the Garces Rams.
That bitter rivalry with Garces carried over into the 1990's and intensified when the Warriors joined the South Sequoia League in 1992. Since 1992, the Warriors have always pointed to the Garces game on the league schedule as THE BIG GAME.
Complete through the 2001 season, the Warriors and Rams have met 28 times since their first meeting in 1946. Sure enough, the series is tied 13-13-2.
But the one constant through 70+ years of Warrior football has been the Bishop Broncos. The schools first met in 1930. Including the 2001 season, Tehachapi has played Bishop more than any other school --- 48 times.
Bishop won 19 of 22 games against the Warriors between 1930 and 1969! The Warriors only managed to score more than 7 points TWICE in 20 games between 1930 and 1967. There was also that five-year period between 1963 and 1967 where Tehachapi didn't score at all against the Broncos.
In the 1970's, the Warriors turned things around by defeating the Broncos in 6 out of 10 games. But some of those losses were very painful --- like the 1974 title game where Bishop defeated Tehachapi at home on the last play of the game.
In the 1980's, as school enrollment began to grow, the Warriors began to dominate the Broncos by winning 9 of 10 games --- but many of those games were very competitive.
The two schools last met in "league play" in 1991. The Warriors left the Desert-Inyo league in 1992 and the long-time rivalry came to a temporary end. Seven years later, the relationship was renewed in 1998 and the two schools have played each other four straight years with Tehachapi dominating each game. In fact, the Warriors have won 16 of the last 17 meetings with the Broncos.
An important part of the voting process was the ability for Warrior fans and boosters to leave comments regarding their selection of the "greatest all-time Warrior football rival". Here are a few selected comments ...
"Boron was the greatest rival in the 70's and early 80's. Every game was always a hard fought contest and usually led to the DIL Champion."
"There's nothing like a Garces game. Fanucci, Baker, Antongiavoni, Valprado, Rocha --- just some of the names of former Rams' players that wore the opposing green. Tehachapi vs. Garces were wars! Heck what other school warranted a tee-shirt that expressed our dislike? Anyone remember the "Ram Busters" tee-shirts in the late 80's?"
"Anyone who voted for Bishop better be older than 40. Garces vs. Tehachapi is currently one of the most heated rivalries in the valley .... second only to maybe BHS/Clovis West and Wasco/Shafter."
"I am over 40. Bishop and Boron kept the Warriors from having a perfect seasons in 1974 and 1975 respectively."
As long as there is a South Seqouia League with Tehachapi and Garces....there will be a very bitter rivalry. I really have a hard time believing that Boron and Bishop can compare to the present. I mean ... Tehachapi didn't throw ice at Garces's homecoming floats last year (2000 season) for nothing ...!"