Senior Alek Taliulu #44

SSL Ramblings ...
Victory over BCHS Should Secure a #1 Seed

Posted by on October 29, 2007

As a tribute to former THS Principal 'Corky' Roberts, we think its appropriate to call this column "SSL Ramblings".

Roberts, the long time Principal at Tehachapi High, and former varsity football coach in the early 1960's, wrote an informative weekly column called "DIL Ramblings" for the Tehachapi News from the mid-1960's well into the 1970's.

With his spirit and passion for the Tehachapi athletic program in mind, would like to share a few observations about the 2007 season with the CIF playoffs looming for the Warriors in the next few weeks.

The Week 10 SSL match-up of the week finds Bakersfield Christian (BC) coming to Tehachapi for a shot at the league title. A BC win will probably result in a three way tie between the Warriors, BC, and Taft. A Warrior win will give Tehachapi sole possession of first place and a probable #1 seed in the Central Section Division III playoffs.

The local high school football blogs and forums seem to be focusing in on the pass happy Bakersfield Christian offense versus the defensive secondary of the Warriors. Junior quarterback Jake Peterson has already lit up the evening sky for more than 1,500 passing yards. Meanwhile, the Warrior secondary has a league leading 15 interceptions. Should be an interesting match-up? The question is the status of Peterson? He was knocked out of the game by the Taft defense last Friday night and sat out the 2nd half of the game (won by Taft) for precautionary reasons --- and a possible mild concussion.

If the Warriors defeat BC, and earn a #1 seed, then Tehachapi will be at home for all it's playoff games. The Warriors have historically had a tremendous advantage over its opponents on the mountain --- especially in November and December. Of course, history has taught us that the CIF pairings can become very political --- especially when the CIF seeding committee evaluates the success of Fresno area schools versus Bakersfield area schools. The answer will come on Saturday afternoon when the pairings are released.

Note to CIF playoff committee ...

The only blip on the Warriors record so far is a Week 4 homecoming loss to Righetti of Santa Maria, 21-19. That one hurt, 3-3 was the touchdown score, but those darn PAT's count too. So, how are those Warriors doing this season? Righetti is 6-3 for the season, 2-2 in PAC-7 play. Righetti defeated a very good Atascadero team this past Friday night, 21-13. That Atascadero team (7-2) defeated Clovis High, 41-0; Dinuba 42-0; and Washington Union 41-22. DIII schools Dinuba and Washington Union are being looked at as possible high seeds in the playoffs, along with Tehachapi. And oh yes, Righetti is a Division I school with over 2,600 students, nearly twice the size of Tehachapi.

As mentioned many times before, much of 2007 team success can be attributed to the Warrior defense. The centerpiece of the Warrior defense is linebacker Alek Taliulu, who leads the league in tackles. What many Warrior fans may not realize is that Taliulu comes from good family stock --- his grandfather Al Muro, and Al's brothers Ernie, Joe, Fred, and Rudy were all outstanding Warrior athletes on many Warrior teams throughout the 1950's. Grandfather Al played on the Warrior varsity football team all four years he was in high school from 1952 through 1955. During that period, he scored 31 touchdowns, and scored 214 points --- both school records! Muro held those records for a long time. Patrick Snyder broke the touchdown record with 35 TD's in 84-85, and Anthony Kelly established a new record of 242 total points in 88-89 (since that time, these records have also been broken). Keep up the good work Alek --- your making the family proud.

While much of the focus this year has been on the success of the Warrior defense, the offense is executing Denman's famed Wing-T system as well as any team in recent history. What may be overlooked is the 2007 team is averaging 34.6 points per game! If the season ended today, this team would rank #2 all-time (and that's 77 years of Warrior football) in average points scored per game. The #1 team was the undefeated and Valley Champion 1951 Warriors who average 44.0 pts. per game behind legendary quarterback Carroll Killingsworth.

What makes the 2007 team so versatile is the Warriors have THREE excellent running backs making it difficult for opponents to key in on any one running back. And when opponents load the 'box' (as BCHS will do), Tehachapi's experienced QB Ehren Ochsenrider will surprise you with a pass to one of his speedy receivers.

This Warrior team has positioned itself to be one of the most successful teams in the history of the school. The Warriors have locked up at least a share of a SSL championship, and its 12th straight trip to the Central Section playoffs. But this Warrior team has a special chemistry that seems destined for much greater things --- hopefully Warrior fans and alumni will come out and support the Warriors as they set their sights on the lofty goal of a ninth CIF sectional championship! Go get em' boys.

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