Independence Falcons (Bakersfield) at Tehachapi

October 7, 2016

Warrior quarterback Chris Garcia #1 runs for yardage against Independence Friday night in the SYL opener at Coy Burnett Field.
Garcia scored the only Warrior TD on a short run play. The Falcons from Bakersfield won 32-8. The Warriors are home again this Friday for the
third straight week playing undefeated East Bakersfield.   Photo by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News.

Warriors Lose SYL Opener To Warrior-like Indy

Posted on October 8, 2016 by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News

It wasn't easy to watch from the Tehachapi side of the field, even though it might have felt uneasily familiar.

In the South Yosemite League opener for both teams, Independence did to Tehachapi what the Warriors have been doing to opponents for years.

The Falcons controlled the ball on offense with long drives, played some tough defense and took advantage of Tehachapi's mistakes for a 32-8 victory on Friday night, Oct. 7. It looked a lot like the Tehachapi Mountain Grind.

“Credit Independence. They made the plays when they had to,” Warriors head coach Steve Denman said. “We're still not out of it. I don't see anybody going undefeated in our league.”

Both teams were 1-4 going in, but the Warriors were coming off an impressive, 28-6 victory over North on homecoming the week before.

Against North, Tehachapi used a balanced offensive attack and its trademark defense to dominate. Against Independence, the defense was solid, but the offense all but vanished.

The Warriors managed just 77 yards total offense against Indy.

“I don't think we played that bad defensively,” Denman said. “The problem was our offense just couldn't get things going until late in the second half.”

The Falcons dominated time of possession, holding onto the ball for about 26 minutes to 22 for Tehachapi, and it was worse until the Warriors put together a six-minute drive that finally stalled on the Falcons 20 with 43.4 seconds left to play.

At one point during the game, the Warriors had consecutive possessions of 10 seconds or less, both ending with fumbles.

“We've got to look at some things and re-evaluate, refocus,” Denman said. “We've got to get our offense going.”

Sophomore Chris Garcia, who had seen a lot of time as a backup, got his first start at quarterback against Indy, and last year's rushing leader, Keyron Scott, returned to action after being sidelined for nearly a year with a knee injury that required offseason surgery.

Garcia completed one 30-yard pass to Carson Bethany that led to Tehachapi's only touchdown, which he scored on a 1-yard run with 8:05 left in the fourth quarter, and rushed for 20 yards.

Scott, meanwhile, was not as successful, rushing eight times for minus-17 yards. He also had a fumble on a missed handoff.

“He'll get better and better with every game,” Denman said.

Quarterback JR Layman scored four rushing touchdowns for Independence, which led 20-0 at halftime. The Falcons were able to convert on fourth-and-5 situations on each of their first two touchdown drives.

“On their first drive, they're fourth-and-5 and a kid makes a great run,” Denman said. “They get a touchdown. Same thing, fourth-and-5, on their second touchdown, and they scramble to get the first down.

“They made some good plays.”

After a scoreless third quarter, the Falcons made it 26-0 on the first play of the fourth quarter on another Layman TD run, a 5-yarder. The Warriors finally got on the scoreboard 3:48 later.

Garcia connected with Bethany on a 30-yard pass play to the Independence 19 on the drive. Garcia then rushed four straight times to the touchdown, passing to Connor Timm for the 2-point conversion.

Independence fell on an attempted onside kick by Tehachapi on the Warriors 49 with 8:01 left to play. Three plays later, Layman ran it in from the 44, making it 32-8 when the Falcons' 2-point conversion attempt failed.

That's when Tehachapi went on its longest, most time consuming drive of the night, starting on its own 30 with 6:20 left and ending 12 plays later on the Independence 20 with 43.4 seconds to play as the Warriors turned it over on downs.

Zion Dean rushed five times during the drive, gaining most of his team-leading 30 yards.

Next up for the Warriors is East Bakersfield on Friday night, Oct. 14 at Coy Burnett Field.The Blades are 7-0 and 1-0 in the SYL after beating West 42-0.

“East is undefeating and coming in this week,” Denman said. “They'll be all we can handle. We can play with them. We just need to get our offense going.”

Warrior defender Philippe Vachon makes a nice defensive play Friday night against Independence of Bakersfield. The Falcons defeated the Warriors 32-8.
The Warriors are now 1-5 for the season; 01- in SYL play.   Photo by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News.

Falcons Roll Past Warriors In SYL Opener

Posted by Tom Shea, The Bakersfield Californian, on Oct. 7, 2016.

TEHACHAPI — Quarterback JR Layman led the Falcons with four rushing touchdowns and a game-high 73 rushing yards
to help spearhead Independence to a 32-8 victory over Tehachapi in the South Yosemite League opener for both teams.

The defense for Independence (2-4, 1-0 SYL) was dominant, holding the Warriors to 77 yards of total offense, most of which came in the fourth quarter.

Chris Wyrick was the workhorse for the Falcons, finishing with 63 yards on 11 carries, including a 25-yard touchdown run in the second half.

For Tehachapi (1-5, 0-1 SYL), Chris Garcia scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Carson Bethany led the Warrior offense with 30 yards receiving.

On defense, Bethany also recorded an interception and Cameron Walsh recovered a fumble.

1st2nd3rd 4thFinal
Independence  7 13   0 12 32
Tehachapi  0  0   0  8 08

The Scoring:

1st Quarter:

Ind: JR Layman 18 run (Young kick)

2nd Quarter:

Ind: JR Layman 2 run (Young kick)
Ind: JR Layman 1 run (kick failed)

4th Quarter

Ind: Wyrick 25 run (kick failed)
Teh: Garcia 3 run (Timm pass from Garcia)
Ind: JR Layman 44 run (pass failed)

Independence vs Tehachapi Stats

First Downs
Rushes-Yards39-185 38-47
Passing Yards5330
Total Yards23877

Individual Statistics:

RUSHING—Tehachapi: Dean 6-30, Garcia 12-20, Timm 4-11, Mata 4-9, Vachon 1-(-2), Metzler 3-(-4), Scott 8-(-17).
Independence: JR Layman 14-73, Wyrick 11-63, Bell 8-28, Belmontes 1-11, Herron 2-6, Young 3-4.

PASSING—Tehachapi: Garcia 2-3-0 30. Independence: Greenlee 2-4-1 38, JR Layman 1-8-0 15.

RECEIVING—Tehachapi: Bethany 1-30. Independence: Belmontes 2-30, Young 1-23.

Varsity Records: Tehachapi 1-5 (SYL 0-1). Independence High 2-4 (SYL 1-0).

JV: Tehachapi Braves 25, Independence JV's 31.
FROSH: Tehachapi Indians 14, Independence Frosh 20.