Head coach Steve Denman and Tehachapi Unified School School District Superintendent Dr. Richard Swanson display the CIF championship plaque after the Warriors defeated Foothill for the DIII crown in Tehachapi on December 7, 2007. For coach Denman, it was his fifth CIF Sectional Championship. Photo by Michael Duffy, The Tehachapi News.

SSL Ramblings ...
The Warrior Football Legacy
Continues To Grow

Posted by thswarriors.com on December 16, 2007

Congratulations to the 2007 Warriors on their CIF (sectional) Division III Championship! As head coach Steve Denman said after the game, “These guys will go down in history as one of the greatest teams in Tehachapi Warrior football history.” And quite a history it is --- the Warrior football program can now boast the following accomplishments.

A total of 57 winning seasons in the past 65 years. This is truly an amazing feat.

A trip to the post-season CIF playoffs 40 times in the past 50 years.

A total of 26 league championships since their first one in 1942.

And now, 9 CIF section championships.

The 12-1 record by the 2007 Warriors is the best overall season record since the 1997 Warriors finished at 12-1 as well. With the win over Foothill, the Warriors improved their all-time record at home to 33 wins and 7 losses in CIF playoff games (since Coy Burnett opened in 1958).

South Sequoia League opponent Taft High also claimed a Division IV championship by defeating Corcoran in Taft. It was their first CIF football championship since 1930. That seems unbelievable considering Taft is a very old school with a history of successful football teams.

Kern County had a year to boast about as the mighty Bakersfield High Drillers defeated Clovis West in the Division I finals in Bakersfield. The Drillers still rank No. 1 in California for most all-time reported wins and most undefeated seasons (21) from 1896-1997. Bakersfield High also ranks 1st in the state for the most CIF Sectional and State Championships.

The Denman Era

Coach Denman also continues to build on his own legacy at Tehachapi High School. The 1975 Tehachapi High School graduate has now coached the Warriors for 26 years, with an overall record of 223-87-4 for a .717 winning percentage. His teams have advanced to the post-season playoffs 22 times in 26 years, claiming 11 league titles along the way, and winning five CIF sectional championships. The Tehachapi News is reporting that Denman is now the all-time leader in wins in Kern County. The all-time leader in the central section is Woodlake High legend Leo Robinson with 291 wins in 41 seasons of coaching.

2007 Warrior Offensive Attack

The 2007 team scored 429 points this year, averaging 33.0 points per game. That ranks #2 all-time in 78 seasons of Warrior football!

Junior running back Adam Mullen led the team in scoring with 120 points, which includes 19 touchdowns (17 rushing) and 6 points from PAT’s. In breaking the magical 100 point barrier, Mullen ranks #10 all-time for the most points scored in a single season. Standing firm at #9 are Mark Ricker (1980) and Ruben Narez (1956) with 128 points each.

Top Warrior Running Backs
Final Statistics

GPCar Yds LngTDAvg.
Josh Strauss13167   989 54  776.0
Adam Mullen13120   971 841774.7
Kelly Lorenz13156 1,132 821587.0

At the center of the offensive attack is quarterback Ehren Ochsenrider. Every play starts with the QB, and it was a treat for Warrior fans to see this young quarterback develop over the past three years.

The Warrior faithful may recall that Ochsenrider began his quarterback duties with the Warriors in 2005 as a sophomore when starting quarterback Tyler Hansen went down with a late-season injury. Ochsenrider played in the final three games of the 2005 season.

Ochsenrider picked a great time to have one of his finest performances as the Warrior signal caller. In the championship game against Foothill, the southpaw slinger connected on seven passes for 164 passing yards, including three TD passes.

Here is Ochsenrider’s final three-year statistics as the Warrior Quarterback:

Ochsenrider's Final Varsity Career Statistics

GCmpAttPct YdsLgIntTD
200713 4896 .50081671 312
200611 2871 .39460260 6  6
2005  3  928 .32123654 2  2

Warriors File Protest --- and Lose

The Warrior football program will be participating in the South Sequoia League through at least 2010. The current six-team membership will remain the same during this time frame. We share this with you because from time-to-time the central section will re-align leagues in an effort to maintain competitive balance throughout the section.

However, as pointed out in this column before, all 91 schools currently playing varsity football in the central section are divided into five divisions of play for the purposes of “post-season play”. Teams are placed in these divisions based on a number of factors including student population.

Thus, you get Tehachapi in Division III, Taft in Division IV, and Bakersfield Christian in Division V.

So what is happening to the Warriors in 2008-09? Well, they will remain in Division III. On the surface that sounds okay, except a number of former Division II schools are dropping down into Division III.

So, the Warrior brass appealed to the CIF Central Section Board, pleading their case to move down to Division IV. The Warriors lost their case. To make matters worse, the Warriors have been criticized in some circles for appealing (given the fact they have a highly successful athletic program).

Here is a listing of teams that the Warriors will be facing in the next few years, if they qualify for the post-season playoffs. Keep in mind this impacts all varsity sports --- not just football. Tehachapi has just over 1,500 students. Student enrollments are also listed.

Cesar Chavez-Delano (2,000); Dinuba (1,700); Foothill-Bakersfield (2,600); Fresno (2,600); Delano (2,100); Golden Valley-Bakersfield (2,600); Hanford (1,700); Hanford West (1,700); Highland-Bakersfield (2,000); Madera South (1,500); Porterville (1,900); Ridgeview-Bakersfield (2,600); South Bakersfield (2,000); Yosemite (1,200); and new school Clovis North.

Tehachapi and fellow mountain school Yosemite seem to have the biggest gripe. The following Division IV schools, as examples, are playoff eligible in a division LOWER than Tehachapi.

Arvin (2,600); McLane-Fresno (2,600); Roosevelt-Fresno (2,600); Selma (1,700); Wasco (1,500); and Shafter (1,500).

Other factors on divisional placement include the historical success, or lack of success of a school athletic program. This is where things get tricky, political, and controversial. And then you have the whole private school debate. There is no perfect system, but it sure seems like the Warriors got the raw end of the deal in this case.

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