In 2003, Warrior Kris Haycock scored the first Warrior TD on an interception return to help lead the Warriors to a 14-10 victory over the Badgers
in Oakhurst. By defeating Yosemite, the Warriors won the 2003 Central Section championship. (Photo by Michael Duffy, Tehachapi News)

Warriors and Badgers Meet For The
4th Time In Competitive Series

Posted by on December 4, 2008

This column includes some predictions from both The Bakersfield Californian and the Sierra Star in Oakhurst. The Warriors and Badgers have met three times previously, all in playoff games, with the Warriors holding a slim 2-1 advantage. One important note to add to these pre-game reviews and predictions is that both current head coaches were in place in 1999, 2002, and 2003, when the teams previously played each other. These coaches know each other well, and will be well prepared for an intense, competitive game.

The following predictions come from Zach Ewing, high school sports writer for The Bakersfield Californian:



There are two schools of thought, I think, surrounding the Trojans this year: One, they've been playing up and down but will kick into another gear and make a playoff run like they have the past two years, or two, Foothill isn't as good as it has been under Dennis Manning and the Trojans struggle whenever they step up to a truly tough test. The truth, as it usually does, probably lies somewhere in between, though it's true Hanford is a tougher opponent than Foothill had in either of its semifinal victories from the past two years. Can the Trojans hang with a balanced Hanford offense in front of what should be a noisy, hostile crowd? Sorry, but Foothill hasn't showed me enough to make me a believer. Hang around for a while, sure. But the No. 1 seed is too tough.

Prediction: Hanford 38, Foothill 10


Here's betting Steve Denman and company broke out some Bakersfield Christian game film this week. The Eagles are the only team Tehachapi has faced that throws the ball nearly as much as Yosemite will try to do Friday night. The bad news is, the Warriors didn't do a great job against BCHS, allowing more than 400 passing yards in a 42-35 loss.

The good news? Yosemite doesn't have Derek Carr at quarterback, and the weather in Oakhurst, I've heard, isn't always pleasant in December. The forecast looks nice for Friday night, but I'm thinking Josh Strauss and Adam Mullen might do a little running around anyway. It takes quite a bit of moxie to knock off the defending champions, unless you're clearly the better team. I'm not so sure Yosemite is.

Prediction: Tehachapi 33, Yosemite 28

Tehachapi's Running vs Yosemite's Passing
Warrior and Badgers Renew An old Rivalry

Posted by the Sierra Star, Oakhurst, on December 4, 2008

Matchup: #6 seed Tehachapi (8-4, 4-1 SSL) at #2 seed Yosemite Badgers (8-3, 4-2 NSL)

When: Friday, December 5, 7 p.m.

Where: Badger Stadium, Oakhurst

Weather: Sunset, 4:41 p.m., Partly cloudy, with temperatures in the mid to high 50s. Winds out of the WN 2-5 m.p.h.

Series: The two schools first met in 1999 in the first round of the playoffs with Tehachapi defeating the Badgers in Tehachapi 19-10.

The two teams did not meet again until 2002 when Yosemite defeated Tehachapi 22-6 in Badger Stadium enroute to the Valley championship.

The last time that the teams squared off was in 2003 and the Warriors defeated the Badgers 14-10 in Badger Stadium.

That (2003) victory was the second Central Section championship for the Warriors since moving from the Southern Section in the early 1990s.

How they got here: Tehachapi opened up its playoff season at home with a 34-18 victory over the 11th-seeded Ridgeview Wolfpack on Friday, November 21 in a first-round game.

The playoff win advanced the Warriors (8-4) to the Division III semifinals where it will face Yosemite in Badger Stadium tomorrow night.

The Badgers went undefeated in Badger Stadium this season winning all eight games played in the Den. Yosemite started a six game win streak with a 44-0 thumping of Liberty on Oct. 17.

The victory over Dinuba was the second time the two teams had met in 2008, the first was on November 7 in Dinuba where the Badgers avenged their 28-21 loss of a year ago.

What Tehachapi has to do to win: Stop the Yosemite passing game. Sounds simple enough, but with a healthy receiver corps and a dry field it is easier said than done.

The Badgers Jesse Lownsbury has thrown a touchdown pass in seven consecutive games in the 2008 campaign and has shattered the career touchdown mark of 52 held by Shawn Long.

Lownsbury has 62 TD passes and counting.

But he has not done it alone with four receivers catching at least 20 passes and over 300 yards each.

When wide receiver Cody Shahan went down with an ankle injury in week four senior Jon McNamara stepped in and has made 40 receptions for 753 yards and a league leading 13 touchdowns.

Junior Jackson Glines has 41 catches for 624 yards and six TDs so the aerial game has not lost a step.

So stop the pass and then you have to deal with a competent running game led by seniors Jayme Lee (644 yards, 5.4 yards per carry) and Erik Sotelo (310 yards, 4.03 yards per carry) and Jeffrey Shackleford (338 yards, 4.57 yards per carry).

Not big numbers but they complement the balanced offense that Yosemite is known for.

The Warriors are second in the Central Section in Sacks (41) trailing Yosemite who lead with 45. The defense has also intercepted 15 passes and recovered 11 fumbles and it gets better, they have only turned the football over seven times and they are very disciplined committing an average of two penalties a game.

On offense, the Warriors' rely upon the running game of a pair of seniors, Adam Mullen (5-feet-8-inches, 190 pounds, Sr.) and Josh Strauss (6-feet, 175 pounds, Sr.).

The running combo is scary with Mullen gaining 1,282 yards (8.97 y/p carry, 142 y/pg) and scoring 20 touchdowns.

There is no relief when Strauss carries the football with 1,566 yards (8.6 y/p carry. 130.5 y/pg) and 12 touchdowns.

As a team the Warriors are averaging 314 yards a game on the ground and have scored 45 TDs. through that route.

But to add insult to injury, Mullen has averaged over 24 yards a catch and has three TDs.

Strauss is also the teams top receiver with 13 catches for 280 yards (21.54 yds/p catch).

Tehachapi's quarterback, Kurtis Knudson throws when he has to and has completed over 60 percent of his tosses for more than 700 yards.

What Yosemite has to do to win: For the Badgers it's still simple: don't make mistakes (penalties) or turn the ball over and dominate the clock.

Sounds easy but against Dinuba the Badgers coughed the ball up five times in the first half, fortunately, the Emperors could only convert them into 10 points.

Don't expect Yosemite to get away with that for a second week, Tehachapi isn't coming up the mountain to lose.

On a dry field, Lownsbury should have a big night and the running game will be the difference tomorrow. and once again, holding onto the football will be the difference.

Prediction: I still have to go with the Badgers, Yosemite 38, Tehachapi 34.

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