Warrior Head Coach Steve Denman

Denman Named All-Area
Coach of the Year

Posted on January 1, 2011, by Zach Ewing, The Bakersfield Californian

Steve Denman has seen plenty of twists and turns in almost three decades as the man in charge of Tehachapi High's football program.

But this season might just take the cake. In its first year in the Central Section's Division II -- in which Tehachapi is the smallest public school by some 1,000 students -- the Warriors won four playoff games, three on the road, culminating with a 97-yard game-winning drive late in a 13-10 championship victory at Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial.

For winning his fourth section title in the past eight years -- and eighth overall, including three Southern Section titles -- Denman is The Californian's Coach of the Year for the third time.

"West High (Tehachapi's first-round opponent) was loaded with athletes," Denman said. "Then the first time I watched (quarterfinal foe) Sunnyside on film, I thought it was in fast-motion. I told our kids, we might not be able to match up with these guys athlete for athlete, so we have to play better as a team, play better together and make fewer mistakes to win. And basically, that's what we did."

In the semifinals, Tehachapi avenged its only loss, a 35-6 setback against Garces, by beating the Rams 34-21. Then it was on to Fresno for the dramatic championship.

"The unique thing about this one is we really didn't expect it," Denman said. "We thought we'd be competitive in (the South Sequoia League), and we're just thinking one game at a time. The neat thing was the kids pulled together. Every season that happens, but this group really jelled together."

You can e-mail the webmaster regarding this column at bigesports@yahoo.com