Tehachapi at Garces (Bakersfield)

September 9, 2016

Warrior defenders Troy Noda #10 and Carson Bethany haul down a Garces runner in action Friday night in Bakersfield. Warrior defenders were chasing down
the Ram offense all night long enroute to a 42-7 loss. The Warriors are at Bakersfield Christian this Friday night.   Photo by The Bakersfield Californian.

Warriors Off to 0-2 Start
Humbled 42-7 by Rival Garces

Posted on September 10, 2016 by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News

It was the renewal of a great rivalry – just a bad game for the Warriors.

And a bad start to the 2016 season.

“It's back to the drawing board,” said head coach Steve Denman, whose career victory total at Tehachapi remained at 295 after an 0-2 start.

Back to Square One.

The Warriors had break-downs in virtually every part of their game in a 42-7 loss at Garces on Friday night, Sept. 9.

They missed blocking assignments, they let receivers slip into the open, and while they couldn't get enough pressure on the opposing quarterback, they couldn't protect their own, either.

It was the 45th meeting of the two teams but the first since 2013 as they renewed one of the oldest rivalries in the area, and it was one the Warriors would soon like to forget.

“We were back on our heels waiting for them,” Warriors senior linebacker Tanner Herman said. “We weren't on our toes and attacking. I feel like we didn't do our jobs.”

With barely six minutes gone in the game, the Warriors trailed 14-0 and appeared totally stunned and overmatched against Garces. It was immediately apparent that Tehachapi had little answer to Garces' passing game.

Rams senior quarterback Conor Bruce completed 9-of-16 passes for 138 yards in the game, including a 30-yarder that made it 14-0 with 5:53 left in the first quarter.

Bruce had another apparent TD pass called back on a penalty three minutes later, and Garces took a 21-0 lead with 2:23 left in the first quarter on a 25-pard run by Isaiah Martin.

“They beat us in the trenches,” Denman said. “It's tough, but now we just have to go back to fundamentals. You can't afford to make mistakes like these against very good teams.”

The Warriors had not gone 0-2 since 2003, but they came back that season to win a CIF division championship.

In fact, rough starts have not necessarily meant bad seasons for the Warriors, at all. In 2008, after starting the season 1-3, they won their second straight CIF Division III title, becoming only the second team to ever do that and the first since 1951-52.

Tehachapi finally scored its first and only touchdown early in the second quarter after Bruce, under pressure finally from the Tehachapi defense, threw an interception to Eddie Graham deep in his own territory, allowing Chase Podratz to score on a short run with 11:32 left in the first half.

By halftime, Garces led 35-7 and had outgained the Warriors in first-half yardage, 227-57.

“All we can do now is go back to basics, be positive and try to turn it around,” Denman said.

Staying mostly on the ground with backup quarterback Michael Barnett, Garces scored just one second-half touchdown while holding the Warriors scoreless.

Tehachapi's best opportunity in the second half came on the opening kickoff. With good field position on the Garces 49 to start the half, six plays netted the Warriors just 9 yards, including the loss of 5 on a sack, and they punted.

Next Friday night, Sept. 16, the Warriors will play their third straight road game to open the season, at Bakersfield Christian. The Eagles have won their last two games after losing their season opener to Garces, 44-21.

The good news is, the game probably will mark the return from knee surgery of last year's leading rusher, Keyron Scott. Scott said he could be cleared by doctors to resume play by early in the week.

The bad news is, the 0-2 start makes it less likely that Denman will reach the 300-career win plateau during the Warriors four straight home games following BCHS. The Warriors would have to go on a 5-0 run for him to do so, starting with an old High Desert League rival in Paraclete on Friday night, Sept. 23.

“The kids have played really hard. We knew it could be like this, starting with three road games,” Denman said of the 0-2 start. “We just have to be positive. That's all we can do now.”

Warrior running back Zion Dean #24 is stopped for a short gain against Garces Friday night in Bakersfield.
The Rams defeated the Warriors, 42-7.   Photo by The Bakersfield Californian.

Garces Rolls Over Tehachapi

Posted by Trevor Horn, The Bakersfield Californian, on September 9, 2016.

The pleasantries of one of the oldest rivalries in Kern County ended the minute the first whistle blew in a game that was out of hand before the first quarter ended.

Garces put a hurting on Tehachapi in a 42-7 rout in the 45th meeting of the Ogilvie Bowl, named after Gary Ogilvie, a former player and coach at Garces and the man Steve Denman took over for at Tehachapi 35 years ago.

“It all came into focus for us tonight,” Garces coach A.J. Gass said. “Our offense and defense finally came together. This is a good bounce-back for us. So good to see the kids respond.”

Garces lost a 36-32 heartbreaker to Arroyo Grande on the road last week without Chris Coleman on the field.

Coleman was suspended from that game for a violation of team rules. The senior had an effect on this game from the beginning with a 7-yard touchdown run to open the game. He also had two interceptions on consecutive Tehachapi passes late in the second quarter.

“That’s what he does,” Gass said. “He takes care of his responsibilities. He is a kind and understanding kid. But he’s still a teenager who makes mistakes.”

Coleman transferred from West in the offseason. He said he was unaware of the long history between the two programs until Monday, and he knew he wanted to make his mark on the storied series.

“It’s great rivalry between us and Tehachapi,” Coleman said. “I just wanted to put my name on it. I knew nothing about this rivalry. This was great.”

Coleman’s second interception set up a 21-yard touchdown for Conor Bruce with just more than a minute left until halftime. The senior quarterback was 9-for-16 passing for 138 yards while connecting with Jacen Roberson for a 30-yard score.

Bruce also gained 84 yards on the ground on 10 carries and two scores in the first half.

There is a different feel around a Garces progam that won just three games combined the previous two seasons. With athletes like Isaiah Martin (110 rushing yards 2 TDs), Scott Boylan (100 total yards) on offense and stalwarts like Jack Tobias and Lebrevon Austin (two sacks) on defense, the team is striving for much more.

“I think the best part of it is bringing the love of football back to this community,” Bruce said. “It was hard the last couple of years and the fans went away. Now we have something to show them and it’s fun again.”

Garces outgained Tehachapi 277 yards to 57 in the first half.

“It was exactly what we didn’t want to happen,” Denman said. “They put pressure on us and outplayed us in the trenches.”

After an 0-2 season, Denman remains at 295 career wins for Tehachapi. The Warriors play at Bakersfield Christian next week.

Garces will play a third rivalry game in the first month of the season next week at home against undefeated Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial.

“A lot of these guys growing up and now getting to understand how to win football games,” Gass said. “They stepped up. It pleases me to see this happen.”

1st2nd3rd 4thFinal
Tehachapi  0  7   0  0 07
Garces 21 14   7  0 42

The Scoring:

First quarter

G: Coleman 6 run (Villalobos kick)
G: J. Roberson 30 pass from Bruce (Villalobos kick)
G: Martin 25 run (Villalobos kick)

Second quarter

T: Podratz 2 run (Graham kick)
G: Bruce 41 run (Villalobos kick)
G: Bruce 21 run (Villalobos kick)

Third quarter

G: Martin 2 run (Villalobos kick)

Tehachapi vs Garces Stats

First Downs7 20
Rushes-Yards 36-190 35-258
Passing Yards 0 138
Comp-Att-Int0-8-2 9-18-1
Total Yards 190 396
Punts7-31.2 3-35.7

Individual Statistics:

RUSHING—Tehachapi: Mata 3-21, Podratz 10-38, Dean 8-59, Stephens 2 -(-4), Metzler 2-12, Timm 7-49, Garcia 2-1, Noda 1-9, Powell 1-5.
Garces: Martin 21-110, Coleman 1-5, Bruce 6-84, Boylan 3-50, Fisher 3-8, Barnett 1-1.

PASSING—Tehachapi: Stephens 0-7-2 0; Garcia 0-1-0 0. Garces:Bruce 9-18-1 138.

RECEIVING—Tehachapi: None. Garces: Coleman 2-22, Boylan 4-50, J. Roberson 1-30, C. Roberson 1-32, Johnson 1-3.

Varsity Records: Garces 2-1; Tehachapi 0-2.

JV: Garces 35, Tehachapi 00.
Frosh: Garces 55, Tehachapi 13.