Returning senior QB Aaron Kolb #2 and the Taft Wildcats are looking to upset
the Warriors on the Mountain Thursday night. Kolb leads Taft with 808 rushing
yards and 13 TD's scored. The last time a Wildcat team defeated the Warriors
in Tehachapi was in 1992. Photo courtesy

SSL Ramblings ...
Warriors Play Host To Taft In SSL Finale
Playoff Brackets Announced This Week

Posted by on November 11, 2010

In a rare Thursday night football game, the Warriors will play host to the Taft Wildcats in Week 10. The game is being played one day early this week due to the school Holiday on Friday. The Warriors are now 8-1 for the season; 4-0 in SSL play. Meanwhile, Taft has struggled this season at 2-6; 2-2 in SSL play.

Taft has been a mystery the past two seasons under veteran coach Steve Sprague. Taft is on their way to back-to-back losing seasons --- something unfamiliar to coach Sprague. Taft has won SSL championships in 2009, 2004, and 2000. After an impressive Week 1 win over Golden Valley-Bakersfield, the Wildcats have struggled.

Taft has been led by senior quarterback Aaron Kolb #2 who leads the team in rushing with 808 yards and 13 TD's scored. Kolb has also completed 37 passes this season, with receiver Strosnider Matt #6 catching most of those passes. Running back Miller Justin #22 has chipped in with 404 rushing yards and 5 TD's.

Since the two schools began playing each other at the varsity level in 1990, the Warriors lead the overall series, 13-7. Taft has not defeated the Warriors in Tehachapi since 1992. Taft is one of the smaller schools in the SSL with a student population of nearly 1,000 students and will enter the CIF Central Section playoffs in Division IV, if they elect to participate this season.

The Warriors are coming off an emotional and rugged win over Wasco, 27-18. The big win assures the Tehachapi squad of at least a co-championship in the SSL, their final season in the league.

Senior Warrior running back Marcus Curiel had a season high 31 carries and scored 3 TD's to lead the Warriors. PAT specialist Dalton Scaggs played a critical role in the game with a perfect 3-3 in the kicking game --- bringing his season total to 40 PAT's. The stingy Wasco defense had been giving up an average of just 6 points per game.

Defensively, the Warriors were again led by lineman Jack Blewett and linebacker Adam Bullard. The duo lead the Warriors in tackles this season with 83 and 71, respectfully.

A win over Taft this Friday night guarantees Tehachapi sole possession of first place and three straight SSL championships. A win would also position the Warriors for a desirable seed as they enter the Division II Central Section playoffs. The seeding will be very important as it will dictate the opportunities the Warriors have to play at home. Historically, the Warriors have had a decisive advantage playing at home during the playoffs in late November - early December. The playoff brackets will be announced this Saturday from the CIF offices in Porterville.

Playoff Brackets To Be Released This Saturday By The CIF Central Section ...

The Warriors will enter the valley playoffs in the Division II classification for the second year in a row. Last year, the Warriors entered the playoffs as the #6 seed and ran the table winning four straight games to win a CIF crown.

Central Section Commissioner Jim Crichlow and company will do all the seedings this Saturday. When records are identical, or things get a little tough, there are several key factors to consider:

* Overall record

* Head to head competition

* Strength of schedule

* Record vs common opponents

The first two criteria on the list are easy to decipher, its the strength of schedule and record vs common opponents factors that get a little dicey.

There will be a maximum of 17 teams eligible for the Division II tournament --- with no guarantee all will participate in the tournament (example: Golden West-Visalia is 1-8). There is no clear cut favorite for the number #1 seed, but here are some of the teams looking for high seeds in the tournament. For seeding purposes, the Warriors are hurt by the fact they play in a league that features all Division IV teams --- and the perception is Tehachapi plays a "soft" schedule.

Clovis North (5-3; 2-2 in TRAC) ... at Buchanan-Clovis this week.

Frontier (4-4; 1-3 in SWYL) ... plays Centennial this week.

Garces (8-1; 3-0 in SEYL) ... at North Bakersfield this week.

Tehachapi (8-1; 4-0 in SSL) ... plays Taft this week.

San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno (7-2; 2-2 in CMCA) ... plays Edison-Fresno this week.

Sunnyside-Fresno (6-3; 2-2 in CMAC) ... plays Bullard-Fresno this week.

Lemoore (7-2; 4-1 in WYL) ... plays Hanford this week.

Redwood-Visalia (5-4; 3-2 in WYL) ... plays Mt. Whitney this week.

Upstart Clovis North currently has the highest rankings in the valley of any Division II team by both The Fresno Bee and The Bakersfield Californian. Despite their 5-3 record, Clovis North plays in the tough TRAC against other Division I Clovis schools and the largest Fresno schools. Chances are Clovis North will eventually end up as a Division I school in the next few years --- but for now are nested in Division II --- and are the odds-on-favorites to garner a very high seed.

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