Zach Ewing is the prep sports beat writer for The Bakersfield Californian.
He is providing season previews on all Kern County high school football teams.

School House Zach
Previews the 2012 Warriors

Posted on August 19, 2012, by Zach Ewing, Prep Beat Sportwriter, The Bakersfield California

I'm trying to remind myself of how cold it gets in Tehachapi come November and December, just so that I'm not so jealous of the 20 degrees they have on us now. Man, 90 has never sounded so good. But since most of us will stay out of the heat on this Sunday, let's take a trip up the mountain for our Tehachapi season preview.

Key Players: Bobby Howell, sr, QB/DB; Jorge Garcia, sr, RB/DB; Tyler Curry, jr, RB/LB; Andrew Jimenez, sr, OL/DL

Key Losses: Cory Lange, WR/DB; Adam Bullard, TE/LB; Marcus Curiel, RB/LB; Jack Blewett, OL/DL; Troy Matthews, OL/DL; David Lara, RB/LB

Offense: Same song, different verse for the Warriors, who lose leading rusher Marcus Curiel but will plug in Jorge Garcia, who saw plenty of playing time as a sophomore and shouldn't miss a beat in their über-efficient wing-T. It also helps that quarterback Bobby Howell returns, though he loses his big-play target, Cory Lange. That changes the dynamic of the offense significantly; in the past couple of years, defenses couldn't crowd the line of scrimmage to stop the running game because Lange would burn them. This year, Dalton Scaggs or Dakotah Medovitch will need to fill that role. The other concern is the offensive line, where both guards return but no other starters. The Warriors always have solid players waiting in the wings, though, so this unit should be as effective as always.

Defense: The big revelation on defense last year was Tyler Curry, a rare sophomore starter in Tehachapi who made his presence felt at middle linebacker on a defense full of experienced seniors. Now he's got to become the leader on a unit that returns only three other starters, though that number includes productive defensive linemen Kiefer Fincher and Logan Smith. It's possible the Warriors take a small step back here, but they should still be one of the best defenses in an SEYL that's loaded with pretty good ones.

Outlook: Tehachapi steps into the SEYL in an extremely comfortable spot. The program has already (very quickly) cleared the hurdle of rising to Division II, winning the section title in 2010, and it already plays most of the SEYL schools on a semi-regular basis anyway. Now the Warriors enter the league as one of the co-favorites, with Garces — and they get to host the Rams on the mountain in the regular season's final week, when the weather should be turning cold. But even if Tehachapi doesn't have quite enough returning firepower to avenge a couple of losses to Garces last year (and it still might, with that home-field edge, because I can't remember the last time Tehachapi lost a big game at home), it should still sport a good record and a high seed going into the postseason. Prepare for another deep run.

Quotable: "Our first year into the league means these kids need to be kind of a stepping stone. These guys have that responsibility." — Denman

Prediction: 8-2-0; 4-1 SEYL

For all of School House Zach's high school football previews click here.

SEYL Predictions For 2012
By Zach Ewing, The Bakersfield Californian

#1 Garces (5-0)
#2 Tehachapi (4-1)
#3 Highland (2-3)
#4 East Bakersfield (2-3)
#5 North Bakersfield (1-4)
#6 Foothill - Bakersfield (1-4)

(Webmaster Note: All of the 2012 South Sequoia League teams were previewed by the Bakersfield Californian between August 10-13, 2012.)