Denman's 300th Victory On Horizon For Warriors

Posted on August 25, 2016 by Zach Ewing, The Bakersfield Californian

The 35th season in Steve Denman’s Hall of Fame career as Tehachapi’s football coach officially begins Sept. 2 with a road trip to Ridgecrest to face Burroughs.

But on the mountain, many eyes are already looking toward October.

For one thing, Denman — who would never approve of looking beyond this week’s opponent, by the way — sits at 295 career wins. Considering Tehachapi has won at least
five games in 32 of his 34 seasons, it seems a shoo-in that he’ll become the fifth member in California’s 300-win club, probably before Halloween.

“We just want to go out and win every game we can,” said Denman, who was inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame and the California Coaches Association
Hall of Fame earlier this year. “We’re taking this like every other year, trying to prepare for every game the same."

”Another reason for Warriors fans to anticipate October? That’s the anticipated return of running back Keyron Scott, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left
knee in Tehachapi’s penultimate game last year. In that game, Scott ran for 171 yards in the first half against undefeated Ridgeview, single-handedly keeping the Warriors in the game.
Then he was injured, Tehachapi faded in the second half and lost its playoff opener two weeks later.

“It affected us quite a bit,” Denman said. “He was our mainstay guy. That really took the wind out of our sails there.

”With Scott reportedly ahead of schedule for a return but still out for at least the first month of the season, Denman will use a stable of running backs,
including Chase Podratz and Oceanside transfer Zion Dean, and then hope that crew can lighten Scott’s load once he returns.

“We want to time it to where he has confidence, but at the same time build the confidence of the other kids,” Denman said. “Then when it comes to showtime
(in the playoffs), we’ll be ready to roll.

Warriors Ready For Season Opener vs Burroughs

Posted on August 27, 2016 by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News

Burroughs and Tehachapi are not exactly strangers. They play each other every year, and the Warriors usually win a high-scoring game.

Except for the last two years.

Last year, the Warriors won 7-0 at home. Quarterback Lars Olofson scored on a 1-yard TD run in the first quarter, and the rest was a defensive struggle.

The year before that, Burroughs beat the Warriors 20-14 in Tehachapi, breaking a streak of five straight losses to Tehachapi.

“They’re always athletic, and they throw the ball well,” Warriors head coach Steve Denman said. “They’re very physical usually on defense, and they have a lot of speed. That’s them, year in and year out.”

Denman will start senior left-hander Paul Stephens at quarterback against the Burros in Ridgecrest on Friday night, Sept. 2.

“He’s our guy,” Denman said. “We’ve just got to avoid turning the ball over on offense and play our game — play good defense, keep moving the chains and keep their offense off the field.”

Since the Warriors did not play a Week 0 game this past Friday night, Aug. 26, Denman and his coaching staff took the opportunity to travel to Palmdale to scout Burroughs in its opener. The Burros beat Palmdale 29-22.

“We had a good look at them,” Denman said. “They were athletic and overall a really good football team, pretty much the same team they’ve always been.

“They’re not huge, but they’re very physical, for their size,” the coach said. “They’ve got a lot of speed, they throw the ball, and they’re well coached.”

Denman said he has not yet named a starting backfield, but with Keyron Scott still sidelined while he recovers from knee surgery, it could include the likes of senior transfer Zion Dean, JV newcomer Connor Timm, and seniors Anthony Powell, Chase Podratz, Philippe Vachon and Tyler Mata.

“We’ll just wait and see,” Denman said. “It really doesn’t matter who starts because we’ll rotate through about four to five guys.”

Even with the return of Scott, their leading rusher from last season, in late September or early October, the Warriors do not figure to be a one-man offense this season.

And, with Tanner Herman and Jackson Caudle set at linebacker and Favian Garcia moving into a regular spot on the line, the defense should be strong, too.

“Once you face another team, then you start shaking things out,” Denman said. “You see kids start rising to the top and seperate themselves from other playes as far as ability goes — and not making mistakes.”

The Warriors follow the Burroughs game with two more on the road, at Garces and Bakersfield Christian. They then begin a four-game homestand.

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