Senior Josh Strauss (left) established a new single game rushing record this past week racking up 304 yards in 23 carries in a 34-8 win over Rosamond. Adam Mullen (right), scored 3 TD's against Rosamond, giving him 5 TD's for the season, and 24 TD's so far in his two year varsity stint.

SSL Ramblings ...
Warriors Reflect On 1st Half Of Season
Hoping To Rebound For South Sequoia League Play

Posted by on October 9, 2008

Reflecting on the 1st half of the Warrior season, many a player could be seen on the practice field this week shaking their heads and whispering to themselves "if only". The Warriors find themselves with 2 wins and 3 losses at the mid-season break --- resting up with a well deserved "bye" week.

Being optimistic, the Warriors could easily be 5-0, if only. A heartbreaking overtime loss to Garces on the mountain, a 1 point loss to Frontier in Bakersfield, and a 2 point loss to Burroughs in the final seconds of the game on a 98 yard kickoff return. No question, the Warriors are the best 2-3 team in the County at this point.

So what do the Warriors need to do to rebound and come out ready to play in the 2nd half of the season?

First, stay healthy. The absence of Adam Mullen in several games has hurt the Warriors, and allowed opponents to key on Josh Strauss. Hopefully Mullen will remain healthy for SSL play --- and the Warriors will have their 1-2 punch in the backfield. If so, look out SSL opponents.

Second, eliminate the turnovers. Miscues are not a trait of Denman coached teams. When was the last time a Warrior team lost SIX fumbles in one game? Certainly this stat doomed the Warriors in Ridgecrest.

Third, eliminate the penalties. By mid-season, the penalties should start to diminish. The Warriors were penalized 11 times against Segerstrom; 10 times vs Garces; 14 times (131 yards) in Ridgecrest; and 12 times (135 yards) last week in Rosamond. Way too many penalties.

And finally, connect on key passing plays. Defenses will load the box trying to contain the Warrior Wing-T running game. Important the Warriors can keep the defense honest by demonstrating the ability to complete key passing plays.

Speaking of a healthy Mullen, Adam has scored 5 TD's this season in limited action. His Warrior varsity career numbers now total 24 TD's (19 TD's in 2007), putting him #11 all-time in the record books --- right behind QB Jared Romo (1998-2000) with 25 TD's.

And how about that Josh! After 78 1/2 years of Warrior football, Strauss is now the proud record holder of the single game rushing record --- 304 yards --- established against Rosamond this past week. Josh also has a chance of breaking the magical 3,000 yard career rushing mark. He currently has 2,394 career rushing yards, 641 yards as a sophomore, 989 yards as a junior, and 764 yards so far this year. Only five Warrior running backs have ever exceeded the 3,000 yard plateau.

And behind every good running back is a fine offensive line. The Tehachapi News reported this week that the lineman for the Warriors (Kevin Ruiz, Dominic Chavarria, Drew Howell, Niko Taliulu and Vince Ortiz among others) have generated the most rushing yards by any Kern County team, with 1,522 yards overall and an impressive 6.32 yards per carry by the talented backfield. Way to go "O" line!

Around the SSL This Week ...

In other SSL games played last Friday night, October 3, Arvin defeated Burroughs, 17-10, yes, the same Burroughs team that defeated Tehachapi a week earlier; Bakersfield Christian, now 3-1, crushed Coast Union-Cambria; Shafter won their first game of the season edging Woodlake, 14-12; as expected, undefeated Corcoran shutout Wasco 47-0; and Taft had a bye.

Key games this week (October 10) include Taft at Porterville; McLane-Fresno at Wasco; and on Saturday, Bakersfield Christian will play Village Christian at Sun Valley. Shafter and Arvin both have the week off.

Edison High School football coach Tim McDonald said he is confident a disputed grade for one of his players is legitimate. He also said he would resign if the allegations of a grade change are proved to be true. Photo and caption by The Fresno Bee

Edison High School Stirs Controversy in Fresno
School Ethics In Question

Edison High School of Fresno is perhaps the best team this year in Division I football in the central section. Currently they are rated in the Top 10 in the State of California.

But the school is swirling in the middle of controversy according to multiple reports published by the Fresno Bee this past week.

Jeff Powell, a math teacher at Edison, told The Bee this week he flunked a prominent Edison High football player, only to learn later the player's grade for his algebra/geometry class was changed to an "A" without his knowledge.

Benere Smith, a vice principal at the school, has supported the teacher's account. Smith said school records show the student missed 66 of a possible 90 sessions in the class, and that he believes the grade was changed by a school administrator within a week of when Powell posted an "F" for the player on June 4, 2008. An "F" grade would have made the player ineligible for the football team this Fall.

It even gets better. Edison High School is coached by alum Tim McDonald, a USC football star, and a 13 year NFL player. He returned to his alma mater a few years ago to "make a difference".

The coach said he would immediately resign if the accusations are true. But McDonald is confident the grade is legitimate. The player has not been named by The Bee due to privacy laws.

McDonald said he is looking forward to the results of an investigation by the Fresno Unified School District.

"I've got all the faith in the world in our administration, at least the principal [Rick Lopez] and assistant principal [Rufus Taylor]," he said. "They're in it for the same thing: to advance kids and education."

"But if there's a grade change, I'd expect them to resign, too. On the flip side, if this proves to be false, I'd expect the people who are making these accusations to also resign."

The plot thickens. We should add that assistant principal Rufus Taylor is the nephew of coach Tim McDonald.

CIF officials have investigated the matter and initially cleared Edison of any wrong doing --- but this was before teacher Jeff Powell contacted The Fresno Bee and provided specific details of the incident. CIF officials have never spoken to Powell.

McDonald does not teach on campus. He is a successful businessman in Fresno, and receives a $2,500 per season stipend to coach. McDonald stated that he puts 10 times that back into the program annually out of his own money.

And the beat goes on in high school football.

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