Senior Jesse Olofson has had a stellar 2009 season as the featured running back in the Warrior Wing-T offense.
Olofson has firmly positioned himself amongst the all-time great Warrior running backs with 1,859 yards rushing and 25 TD's scored
through 12 games this season. Photo by Michael Duffy, The Tehachapi News

SSL Ramblings ...
Porterville Coming to the Mountain
Warriors Escape With 21-14 Win Over Foothill

Posted by on December 1, 2009

There was a little bit of Warrior magic (and luck) Friday night, as Tehachapi turned a late fourth quarter Foothill miscue into a Warrior touchdown to defeat the Trojans in the final seconds of the game, 21-14.

The Warriors are now 10-2 for the season and will host Porterville this Friday in a semi-final CIF Central Section Division III game. Game time is 7:00 pm at historic Coy Burnett Field.

While the Warriors battle with Porterville, #5 seed Hanford (8-4) will travel to #1 Dinuba (9-2) in the other semi-final game. The two winners will meet for the D-III championship on December 11.

This past week in D-III, Porterville defeated Ridgeview, 28-14; Hanford nipped Delano in a shootout, 44-39; and Dinuba crushed Clovis North, 34-14.

The Warriors have now won a school record nine straight post-season playoff games and have not lost at home in a playoff game since 2001 (to Clovis East). Tehachapi improved their all-time home playoff record to 36-7 in games dating back to 1958, when Coy Burnett Field was first dedicated.

Running back #44 David Ali
2009 All-EYL 1st Team Selection - 1,686 rushing yds.

Porterville Coming To The Mountain For First Time

Tehachapi and Porterville will meet for the first time in school history this Friday. Amazing when you consider the two schools have been playing football for a long time, Porterville was established in 1896, Tehachapi in 1928.

Porterville participates in the East Yosemite League (EYL) with cross town rivals Monache and Granite Hills of Porterville; Tulare and Tulare Western; amd Cesar Chavez-Delano and Delano High. Porterville finished in 2nd place this year in the EYL behind league champion Tulare Union. Tulare (11-0) is participating in the Division II tournament and seeded #1, facing Edison-Fresno this Friday in the semi-finals.

The green and orange clad Panthers are led by third year coach Rick Stewart. Stewart assumed a program that had gone 1-9 in 2005 and 1-9 in 2006. In 2007, Stewart guided his new team to a 2-8 record. In 2008, he turned the program around, improving to 6-5 and advancing to the post-season playoffs. This year, Porterville is 9-3 and coming to the mountain with a lot of confidence.

Porterville is trying to become the first high school from the city of Porterville to earn a spot in a Central Section title game. Before this season, the Panthers hadn't won a playoff game since the Central Section was formed in 1964.

Porterville has won two straight games in the playoffs over Independence-Bakersfield, 42-5, and Ridgeview, 28-14, and have a five game winning streak. The Panthers and Warriors have two common opponents this season: Wasco and Taft. Porterville lost to both Wasco, 34-14, and Taft, 28-6. But that was many weeks ago.

The Panthers have been led in 2009 by running back #44 David Ali (1,686 yards); guard #56 Diego Paniagua; linebacker #42 Brandon Gonzales (160 tackles); defensive lineman #75 Jake VanWinkle; and safety #23 Matt Clark. All of these players were recently selected to the all-league 1st team in the EYL.

Regarding the upcoming Panther-Warrior game, coach Stewart was quoted in the Porterville Recorder as saying, “It’s like us playing in the mirror. They’re smash-mouth football, they take a lot of pride in playing up there on the mountain in that cold weather. They run the same offense we do, they pretty much run the same defense we do. It’s gonna boil down to who doesn’t wanna turn their pads in.”

And this from Zach Ewing, Prep Sports Writer for the Bakersfield Californian:

"Let's talk schedules for a minute. Yes, Porterville is in a Yosemite league and Tehachapi only in a Sequoia one, but those designations have become blurred over the years. The Panthers' EYL, other than Tulare Union, was down this year — the other winning team, Delano, bowed out in the D-III quarterfinals — and Tehachapi's SSL was strong as always. Porterville even counts Taft and Wasco as two of its losses. Those, of course, are the teams that split the SSL title with the Warriors. I know doubting Porterville has cost me in the past — the Panthers have proved me wrong a couple of times by beating Delano and Ridgeview — but both of those instances were at home. Take away that advantage and give Tehachapi a big one on the mountain, and the Warriors continue their march toward Three-hachapi."

Prediction: Tehachapi 27, Porterville 13

Olofson Taking His Place Amongst
Warrior Running Back Legends

In 2008 as a junior, Jesse Olofson didn't get too many opportunities as a running back. In fact, he carried the ball just 30 times in 14 games. And it all makes sense, the Warriors had a couple of guys named Strauss and Mullen running all over the gridiron, breaking school records, earning all-league and all-area accolades, and leading the Warriors to a second straight CIF championship.

Fast forward to 2009, Strauss and Mullen have graduated, and the show now belongs to Olofson. The 6'0" 180 lb. senior finally got his chance, and has responded beautifully. Behind another stellar Warrior offensive line, Olofson has rushed for 1,859 yards in 262 carries, and scored 25 TD's.

So where does he rank all-time?

Olofson is currently tied for fourth place all-time in TD's scored in a single season with Dustin McBride (2000). Sitting at number three with 29 TD's is Tanner Hutchinson (2003).

In rushing yards for a single season, Olofson is just one yard behind number five all-time Josh Strauss (2008). Olofson is at 1,859 yards while Strauss is at 1,860. Next on the list at number four with 1,925 yards is Patrick Snyder (1985). If Olofson rushes for more than 66 yards against Porterville, he will shoot up to number three on the all-time list.

Yes, congratulations to Jesse Olofson on a great 2009 season, and thanks for all the great memories. Your place in Warrior folklore and tradition will be remembered for a long, long time.

Around the SSL ... Taft Wins, Wasco Eliminate in DIV Playoff Race

In the eleven-team Division IV tournament, four teams remain after the second week of playoff action. SSL member Taft shutout Dos Palos, 27-0, while Wasco lost to Exeter, 27-0.

This week, undefeated and #1 seed Kingsburg (11-0) will meet Exeter (7-4), while #2 Washington Union-Fresno (9-2) will host the Taft Wildcats. This past Friday, powerful Kingsburg overwhelmed Kerman, 75-0 (not a misprint) to advance, while Washington Union crushed Sierra-Tollhouse, 45-9.

For Wasco High School (8-3), it brings to close one of their most successful seasons in decades. Wasco won a share of their first SSL title since 1961.

Warrior fans can view all of the playoff bracketing for Division III if you follow this link to the CIF offices in Porterville:

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