Warriors QB Lars Olofson hands off during drills as THS prepares to begin summer football practice. Photo by The Tehachapi News.

Warriors Start Summer Football Drills
With High Hopes

Posted by The Tehachapi News, on June 7, 2015

It's a time-tested axiom in football, particularly at the high school level.

“You never know what's going to happen until you put the pads on,” Warriors head football coach Steve Denman said.

While the Warriors won't put on their pads for nearly two months, they have begun summer practice. Although they lost a pot load of seniors from last year's squad, they still seem optimistic.

“We want to win the championship,” projected starting quarterback, senior Lars Olofson, said.

In their first season in the South Yosemite League, the Warriors finished 3-2 and in a three-way tie for second place. At 6-5 overall, they had an OK season.

“We're not going to be the biggest or the fastest,” Denman said. “We're trying to teach life skills, things like discipline and determination, to be responsible human beings.

“We've always felt that if you do all the right things, you'll win most of your games. Do things the right way, and the wins will come.”

Two key returning players will be Olofson and linebacker Angel Garcia.

Denman said he expects Olofson to assume a leadership role and “to play his part. We don't want to put too much on any one player. A lot of other kids have to come through too, and Angel Garcia needs to be our leader on defense.”

Olofson got some time behind the center last season.

“I've always believed that the way the seniors go, we all go,” Denman said. “They have to be leaders, role models, and the other kids will follow suit.”

Last season, Denman said, defense was his team's strength. It could well be the same this coming season.

“Our expectations on the defense are pretty high,” Denman said. “Our offense has got to learn to control the ball, keep the defense off the field, and we can't beat ourselves.”

Denman is entering his 34th season as Warriors coach, and most of that time the team has used a run-oriented wing-T offense, which it will continue to use.

Summer practice will concentrate in weights and speed training for a six-week period through about the middle of July.

“After that, we'll take a break before coming back on Aug. 3,” Denman said. The Warriors will start with helmets only, taking about a week to work up to full pads.

Their first game is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 21 at South High School, followed a week later by a game at Foothill. Their home opener is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 4 against Burroughs of Ridgecrest.

The Warriors open their second South Yosemite League campaign on the road at Independence on Oct. 9.

Denman said he expects a varsity roster of about 60 players, with 34-40 junior varsity players and 50-55 freshmen.

“It's not how you start that counts, it's how you finish,” Denman said. “If you set yourself up to win, the wins will come".

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