Warrior head coach Steve Denman will begin his 28th season as the Chief
of the Warrior football program. Photo by The Bakersfield Californian

SSL Ramblings ...
Denman Entourage Key To Ongoing Success
of Warrior Football Program

Posted by thswarriors.com on August 31, 2009

With little fanfare, Warrior head coach Steve Denman will begin his 28th season as the undisputed centerpiece of the Warrior football program. He is the main character in a program that produces a winning program year-after-year.

His Warrior teams have won 6 CIF Sectional Championships and 11 league championships. His teams have qualified for the post-season CIF playoffs 23 times in his 27 years as head coach. His overall record at THS is 233-91-4 for a whopping winning percentage of .72%.

But if Denman is the "Vinnie Chase" of the Warrior football program, who are his entourage of coaches that keep the big guy out of trouble and looking good?

Well, we're not exactly sure who the "Turtle" or the "Johnny Drama" of the coaching staff might be --- but we do know Denman has an oustanding group of experienced assistants that provide the back bone to a successful program.

The coaching staff includes two legends in the Warrior coaching program --- Bill Carll and Dennis Ruggles. Both were actually head coaches at one time in the football program, Carll from 1967-1970, and Ruggles from 1976-1978. Currently, Carll is a defensive coordinator and works with the defensive backs. Ruggles is also a defensive coordinator and guides the linebackers and defensive line. Carll has been a coach in the Warrior athletic program for 43 years while Ruggles has racked up 34 years.

The other long-time assistants on the Warrior coaching staff include offensive coordinator Pat Snyder and offensive line coach Chris Olofson. Snyder has been part of the staff for 16 years while Olofson has 14 years on the sidelines. Both coaches are alumni of Tehachapi High, and gifted athletes when they played on the gridiron for the Warriors.

Denman's entourage also includes team trainers Roger Davis with 19 years and Mo Cramer with 2 years. The team physical therapist is Derek Thompson with 18 years tending to the needs of players.

The coaching team also includes the hard work of Gary Warner, who provides team statistics and Field Control. Warner has been volunteering for 25 years! Rick Rickheim handles game video and Stadium Control. And Tom Shea begins his 7th year as the marketing and media man for the Warriors.

Warrior fans, when you get a chance, take the time to thank these men for the countless hours they contribute year-after-year to make the Warrior football program a true success!

2009 Warrior Season: Reload or Rebuild?
Tough Pre-Season Will be A Challenge

The 80th edition of Mountain Football will open up the 2009 season in Santa Ana this Friday night against the upstart Segestrom Jaguars. The Jaguars have seen steady improvement in the three year history of their varsity program. Segestrom is a member of the tough Golden West League --- which has been dominated in recent years by five time champion Westminster High School. Segestrom, one of nine public high schools in Santa Ana, will be the largest school (2,500 students) the Warriors will face during the regular season.

The Jaguars return six starters on offense, led by 1st team all-league quarterback Brian Murrietta and the backfield trio of Justin Mills, Matt Navarro and Aaron Amrine. The trio combined for 1,600 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2008. Mills also led the defense with 78 tackles from his outside linebacker position. With all of its returning talent, Segerstrom is primed to make school history by bringing home its first league title.

Facing tough competition during the pre-league portion of the schedule has been a trademark of the Warrior program. This year is no exception with upcoming games against Garces-Bakersfield, Burroughs-Ridgecrest, and Frontier-Bakersfield.

The big question around the prep beat sports circles these days is reload or rebuild for the Warriors? Lost to graduation were all-league record setting running backs Adam Mullen and Josh Straus, along with quarterback Kurt Knudsen, and tough linebackers Garrett Coontz and Derek Lange.

Who will emerge as the team leaders for the 2009 team? The Warriors appear to be very strong on the line, but the question mark will be the skill positions. No question --- it will be very difficult to fill the talented shoes of Mullen and Strauss.

Around the SSL This Week ...

Other SSL games this week find league favorite Taft High traveling to Templeton; Arvin visits Highland-Bakersfield; North High-Bakersfield will travel to Shafter; Wasco is at Kennedy High-Delano; and Bakersfield Christian will play Avenal.

Keep an eye on the Taft-Templeton game. Templeton, 5-6 in 2008, has been very competitive in recent years and will be a good match for the Wildcats. Taft won the 2008 contest, 28-3, in Taft.

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