Returning Warriors Jake Reimer (left) and Nic Howell (right) go through backfield movements during spring drill workouts
in late May 2009. Both players were strong contributors to Mountain Football's success in 2008, with Reimer serving
as placekicker and Howell in the defensive secondary. Photo by Michael Duffy, The Tehachapi News

Springing Into Action
Mountain Football Begins Off Season Training

Posted on June 4, 2009, by Tom Shea, The Tehachapi News

It was a memorable last two seasons for Warrior football, with Tehachapi coming off back-to-back CIF Central Section Division III titles.

With the memories comes a host of senior departures, including notable names Adam Mullen and Josh Strauss at runningback, Kevin Ruiz, Vince Ortiz and Dominic Chavarria on the line of scrimmage, and three-year hitmen Derek Lange and Garrett Coontz at linebacker.

With departed senior-laden talent from 2008 comes a new look for Tehachapi this season, with expectation levels remaining the same.

“You don’t want to get caught up in predictions and who will be where, but the talent is there for sure,” Denman said. “If the players work hard, listen, and dedicate themselves they will see the field and will have a chance to contribute.”

Back on the line of scrimmage for the Warriors are Drew Howell and Niko Taliulu, both two year varsity starters for Tehachapi, along with Travis Hall on the defensive line, the leader in sacks for Tehachapi last season. The offensive and defensive scrum includes a great deal of depth. It is 22 players strong, including linebacking talents John Cramer and Austin Herman.

“On the line and defense we like what we’ve seen, we have some guys that will need to step up and fill the holes left by some of our departed seniors,” Denman said. “We’ll just have to see how things go as we continue on, a lot of guys will get an opportunity to step up and contribute in a variety of positions.”

In the backfield, Tehachapi will have a lot of talent at their disposal with the return of starter Jesse Olfoson, who had a 6.77 yards per carry average last year and over 200 yards rushing overall, and upcoming junior varsity standout Michael Lowder, who torched the SSL opposition as a Brave last season with 1,275 yards and 15 scores in 10 games.

Talented athletes Max Clark and Zach Maravigli are also returning to the football lineup after a one-year hiatus. Phil Rhodes and Tre’von Harris also return to football after helping the Indians to an SSL title in 2007. Sophomores called up to varsity for evaluation include Adam Bullard (QB/DB), Marcus Curiel (RB/LB), Gabe Saavedra (RB/LB) and Cory Lange (LB/QB).

“Senior leadership will be important, we are counting on our veterans to set a positive example for the rest of the team,” Denman said. “The harder these guys work now will determine the reward at the end of the year. This time is just as critical for success as it is in the fall and winter.”

Upcoming events for Tehachapi include off-season workouts on June 15 at the high school weight room (Varsity 6:15 a.m. / Junior Varsity-Frosh 5:30 p.m.) and the Golden State Offensive Football (Wing-T) camp on June 19-21 at the Benz-Visco Youth Football Fields.

The Warriors will also be providing a community service Warrior-to-Tomahawk Youth Football clinic from June 29 to July 1 and holding a fundraiser pancake breakfast fundraiser at City Park at 7 a.m. on July 4. The public is encouraged to attend all events and support the football program.

2009-2010 Mountain Football

Quarterbacks/Defensive Backs/Wideouts: Zach Austin, Levi Garrett, Chris Rush, Cosmo Balassa, Noah Copus, Brennen Davis, Michael Kennison, Nic Howell, Kash Knudson, James Register, Jake Reimer

Runningbacks/Linebackers: Max Clark, Bobby Cooly, Matt Anderson, Tre’von Harris, Jason Kerns, Matt Khoury, Michael Lowder, Zach Maravigli, Jesse Olofson, Justin Perry, Phil Rhodes, Skyler Stephens, Zach Timm, Salvador Contreras, Cal Weeks, John Cramer, Travis Farewell, Austin Herman

Offensive/Defensive Line: Niko Taliulu, Drew Howell, Travis Hall, Zach Crosby, Ray Cross, Logan Curry, Dylan Fralick, Oscar Gonzales, Tyler Guyon, Cameron King, Jaime Lopez, Troy Matthews, Luke Mears, Cesar Meza, Tony Montes, Colt Murrow, Jonathan Porter, DJ Rickheim, Charles Rouston, Gene Wahlstrom, Luke Thompson, Ryan Selga, Tyler Holstrom

Sophomores on the Varsity: Adam Bullard (quarterback / defensive back), Marcus Curiel (running back / linebacker), Gabe Saavedra (runningback / linebacker), Cory Lange (linebacker / quarterback)

Coaches: Steve Denman, Bill Carll, Dennis Ruggles, Pat Snyder, Chris Olofson, Mo Cramer

Skyler Stephens (right) leaps for a screen pass while Matt Khoury (left) provides defense on the line of scrimmage.
Tehachapi is looking to build off their back-to-back CIF championships achieved in 2007 and 2008 with an early start to the
upcoming fall season. Photo by Michael Duffy, The Tehachapi News