Wasco running back Michael Martinez #30 has rushed for 1,006 yards and scored 11 TD's in 2011.
Martinez provides Wasco with an alternative running back option to primary runner Austin Tijerina.

SSL Ramblings:
Showdown in Wasco
SSL Title On The Line For Warriors

Posted by thswarriors.com on November 1, 2011

The stage has been set for Friday night when the once beaten Warriors travel to Wasco to challenge the undefeated Tigers. The biggest game of the year is now set as Tehachapi romped over Bakersfield Christian, 35-7, and Wasco thumped Arvin, 47-0, in games played last Friday night.

The winner of the game will emerge as at least the co-champion of the South Sequoia League (SSL). Wasco last won the SSL in 2009 when the Tigers shared the crown with Taft and Tehachapi. It was the first SSL crown for Wasco since 1961.

The 2009 game between the Tigers and Warriors was memorable. With the Warriors leading 21-19 late in the fourth quarter, the Warriors were driving for the touchdown that would put the game away. Instead, with the ball inside the Wasco 5 yard line, a Warrior running back was stripped of the ball, and a Wasco defender returned the fumble 97 yards to win the game, 27-21. It was a dramatic turn of events, much to the delight of the jubilant hometown Wasco crowd.

In 2011, Wasco has been a well oiled football machine averaging 49 points per game and giving up an average of just 6 points per game. The strong Wasco offensive line has been opening up massive holes for running backs Austin Tijerina #5, Michael Martinez #30, and Darius Moore #44. Super running back Tijerina has rushed for 1,258 yards and scored 25 TD's; Tijerina is also the leading receiver on the team with 6 receptions for nearly 200 yards; and has kicked 28 PAT's. QB Kyle Wedel runs the Tiger offense but rarely has to pass.

The Wasco defense is anchored by lineman Amilcar Valdes #75 (6'2" 250 lbs.) who leads the team in tackles and quarterback sacks. Wasco coach Russ Prado, in his 5th year at the helm, has turned the Wasco football program around. After losing year-after-year, Prado has led the Tigers to an overall record of 25-18 since 2007. The Tigers have advanced to the valley playoffs three times in the past four years.

Senior Marcus Curiel #21

Warriors Ready For The Challenge

While the 2009 loss to Wasco was painful, Tehachapi rebounded nicely in 2010 to overwhelm the Tigers, 45-14. The Warriors went on to win the SSL title in 2010 for their 8th SSL title since joining the league in 1992.

The Warriors would like nothing better than to close out their final 20th season in the SSL with one more championship.

The Warriors are hoping senior running back Marcus Curiel can continue his powerful running behind the talented Warrior offensive line. Controlling the line of scrimmage will be a key to victory for both teams. In 2011, Curiel has racked up 901 rushing yards in 106 carries, scoring 16 TD's. His two year varsity totals now register at 2,013 yards and 32 TD's. Running back Wyatt Vance and wide receiver Cory Lange are also looking to have big games for the Warriors.

Defensively, the Warrior mainstays include linebackers Adam Bullard (52 tackles) and David Lara (4 sacks), and lineman Jack Blewett (45 tackles).

The Warrior kicking game has also been impressive this year behind kicker/punter Blake Waters and PAT specialist Dallas Scaggs (37 PAT's).