Record 11 Players Earn SSL Honors

Posted by Tom Shea of the The Tehachapi News on December 29, 2007

It was a banner year for Tehachapi, both as a team and in the individual honor category. The most first team nods the Warriors have received in one year since joining the South Sequoia League has been seven recipients, but this season, Mountain Football shattered that mark with a staggering 11 players named to the All-league first team. Adding to the fray were three players added to the second team, and three players named as honorable mention candidates.

As a team, Tehachapi averaged 33 points a game, good for fourth all-time in 78 years of football, and an incredible 4,443 yards of offense, 62 touchdowns and 3,614 yards rushing. Also, for the first time in school history, the Warriors had three backs rush or receive for 1,000 yards or more, with Kelly Lorenz (1,167), Adam Mullen (1,126) and Josh Strauss (1,069) setting their mark on the ground and through the air.

Earning second team All-SSL honors for Tehachapi were Marcus Abarquez on the offensive line and Garrett Coontz and Derek Lange at linebacker. Earning honorable mention All-SSL honors were Jonathan Perrien on the defensive line, Josh Schulgen at defensive back and Adam Mullen at running back.

All-SSL First Team Selections (Seniors)

Ehren Ochsenrider – Quarterback

Ochsenrider was the kingpin of the vaunted Wing-T attack, helping to run a fluid offensive machine that was considered one of the best in Kern County and the Central Section. Ochsenrider finished with a 2007 quarterback rating of 103, completing 48 passes for 816 yards and 12 touchdowns. In three seasons as a starter for Tehachapi, Ochsenrider has completed 85 passes for 1,634 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Kelly Lorenz – Running Back

The bruiser back in the three-headed snake, Lorenz never wavered from shooting the gap and bouncing off the first tackle. The end results gave the senior a team-leading 1,132 yards rushing and an impressive 15 touchdowns on the ground. Lorenz averaged an impressive 87.1 yards per game, an impressive feat considering that the ball was shared equally with three talented backs. Lorenz epitomized the Warrior spirit, and in the end was the one given the honor of holding the CIF championship plaque with his teammates at the conclusion of the dramatic victory over Foothill.

Shawn Pimentel – Tight End

The heart and one of the instrumental leaders of the team, Pimentel was depended on to rally the troops on and off the gridiron. Pimentel dreamed of being a Warrior at a very young age, and now, he will be remembered as one of the greatest Warriors of all time. Pimentel finished his high school career with 93 yards receiving and two scores, and uncanny blocking ability at the line of scrimmage that created mismatches with the opposition’s linebackers and defensive ends. This past season was the second CIF championship for Pimentel, having also won a title in basketball in 2006-2007 with fellow football/basketball teammates Jeff Waldram, Franky Rodriguez, Josh Schulgen and JJ Balkar.

Jeff Waldram – Defensive Back

The cerebral Warrior, Jeff Waldram studied his opposition with a sophisticated efficiency rarely seen at the high school level. Waldram was the leader of the Warrior secondary, shattering the stigma that a Tehachapi team could defend the pass, while also collecting an amazing six interceptions on the season. Waldram guided a unit that collected 23 picks total, a team record for one season. Arguably, you could say that no one wanted the championship more than number 28, and the smallest Warrior on the team played a large roll in making the dream into a reality.

Marcus Abarquez – Defensive Line

A pivotal two-way starter for Tehachapi, Abarquez got the job done for Tehachapi both in the trenches as a center on offense and a scrum disruptor on the D-line. Abarquez was fifth on the team in tackles with 86 and third on the team in sacks with six. The production that Abarquez was able to amass was nothing short of amazing, taking on his roll to be an iron-man player and bulldozer for Tehachapi’s talented linebacking corps with great tenacity and success.

Louie Olofson – Defensive End

On paper, it was a clear mismatch between the 6’0” and 170-pound defensive end in Olofson and the 260- to 330-pound offensive tackles he faced week to week. But unfortunately for Mountain Football’s opposition, games aren’t played on paper, they’re played on the field. Olofson took on each challenge with great success, finishing the year as the top player in sacks (10.5) and 72 total tackles. Olofson embraced the Warrior spirit every snap of the football, and the team captain made sure to introduce himself on a consistent basis in the backfield to the opposition’s quarterback and running backs.

Alek Taliulu – Linebacker

For the second-straight season, the top player in the tackling category was none other than Alek Taliulu. In 2007, the quick-hitting linebacker recorded 131 stops to finish the last three seasons for Tehachapi with 309 total tackles, tops in Kern County among any defender. Taliulu is a second-straight All-SSL first-team selection and will couple his 2007 award with a first-team All-Area selection. In addition to the All-Area and All-SSL awards this year, Taliulu was also named to the 2007 Hometown Sports All-Star team, and was a Bakersfield Californian pre-season “Most Wanted” player honoree.

All-SSL First Team Selections (Underclassmen)

Underclassmen first team All-League selections were Dominic Chavarria and Vince Ortiz on the offensive line, which helped Tehachapi plow away the defensive front to an amazing 341.8 yards of offense per game. Franky Rodriguez was also selected as a first-team selection at defensive back, finishing the season with three interceptions and a fumble recovery. Rodriguez, one of the most talented athletes at Tehachapi High School, was a formidable threat in the secondary that frequently was asked to cover the opposition’s best receiver. Also garnering first-team honors in the underclassmen ranks was talented running back Josh Strauss, whose shifty feet and mastery of the sweep helped him amass 989 yards and seven touchdowns in his second year stint as a varsity starter.