The Warriors, 7-2 for the season, play host to #6 seed Tulare Western this Friday night in Tehachapi. Game time is 7 pm.
The Mustangs defeated North High 41-7 last Friday to advance to round 2 of the playoffs. Tulare Western, the
East Yosemite league champions are 8-3 for the season; 5-0 in league play.

Warriors Prepped & Healthy
For CIF Quarterfinals

Posted by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News, on November 15, 2015

The Warriors have been tending to some injuries and illnesses, and now, it's time to tend to Tulare Western.

Tehachapi comes off a first-round bye on Friday night, Nov. 20, at home against Tulare Western in the quarterfinals of the CIF Central Section Division 3 football tournament.

“I think we'll be 100 percent,” head coach Steve Denman said. “We had some flu on the team, too, so it's a good thing we didn't play last week.”

In addition to a flu bug, the Warriors also had trouble with the injury bug in the final weeks of the season.

Junior running back Keyron Scott ended the regular season with 1,351 yards rushing despite missing the final game and a half with a bone bruise below his left knee.

Then, in the season finale, a 48-7 victory at West on Friday night, Nov. 6, fullback Noah Whitlach pulled a shoulder muscle in warm-ups and did not play.

Denman said his two leading rushers have taken advantage of some time off to get well.

“Keyron will be fine, he'll be 100 percent,” Denman said. “We gave him a week off to recover. Noah will be fine, too.”

That will give the Warriors their Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside punch they could very well need against a successful Tulare Western team.

The victory at West clinched second place behind powerhouse Ridgeview in the South Yosemite League as the Warriors finished the regular season 3-1 in league and 7-2 overall.

If history is a sign post, then the Warriors should do well against Tulare Western after their bye week. On Oct. 2, they won 34-12 at North after a scheduled bye week, and they beat Golden Valley 49-19 on Oct. 23, one week after a game was washed out by rain and flooding.

“Practice has gone well,” Denman said. “We had a real positive week.”

The season-ending victory over West also was a huge boost. The Warriors were humiliated in the most lopsided loss in Denman's 34-year coaching career the week before against Ridgeview, losing 64-21. Ridgeview is in the Division 1 playoffs.

“It was huge to go into the playoffs on a positive note,” Denman said. “We played very well against West, and that set the stage for us. So, now we've just got to do what we do.”

Denman will be going for his 296th career victory against Tulare Western. If the Warriors were to win the division, he would finish the season with 298 career wins, setting him up to reach the 300 plateau early in 2016.

First, the Warriors must deal with Tulare Western. The sixth-seeded Mustangs beat North 41-7 on Friday night, Nov. 13 to advance to the quarterfinals against Tehachapi.

The Warriors got the home game as the higher seed, No. 3. Western won the East Yosemite League with a 5-0 record, 8-3 overall. North was their only common foe this season, and the Stars came out losers both times.

The Warriors coaching staff has been studying Tulare Western, and they look a little familiar.

“They look just like West,” Denman said. “They sometimes run a single back, they throw quite a bit, and they're a very athletic team.

“They'll be a physical team, a really tough team to beat.”

Denman said he did not anticipate any major changes in strategy against the Mustangs. The Warriors will continue to play tough defense, as they have all season, and try to control the ball offensively on the ground.

“If we play our game, we'll be fine,” Denman said.

Warrior fans can view all of the playoff bracketing for Division III if you follow this link to the CIF offices in Porterville:

CIF Central Section Division III Playoff Brackets

Central Section CIF Les Schwab Football Championships Division III Championships

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