Warrior Austin Herman #34 goes in low for another Warrior tackle in a recent game. Herman, a senior, leads the Warriors with 36 tackles this season.
Assisting are Brian Matthews #28 and an unidentified player. Photo courtesy burrosfootball.com

SSL Ramblings ...
Warriors Pitch Rare Shutout versus Shafter
Wasco Emerges as SSL Party Crasher

Posted by thswarriors.com on October 19, 2009

The Warriors began SSL play this past week by pitching a 28-0 shutout against Shafter. For a variety of reasons, its becoming a rare event to witness a shutout these days. The offenses are more much sophisticated. The game is quicker. Coaches with big leads will get reserves into the game --- thus giving up points late in a game that otherwise would not have been scored against the first team defense.

The last Warrior shutout previous to Friday night? One year ago, same school, the Warriors shutout Shafter 41-0 in Tehachapi. Reviewing the season logs for the past few years reveal the Warriors have had just three shutouts in the past six years --- a span of 67 games --- dating back to the 2004 season.

The Warrior record for shutouts in a season? SIX. Five different Warrior teams have accomplished that feat --- the last time in 1986.

Back to the Shafter shutout, much praise goes to the Warrior defense. Statistically, the Warrior defense has been led this year by linebackers Austin Herman with 36 tackles; Drew Howell has 34 tackles; defensive lineman Travis Hall has been in on 32 tackles; while defensive back Nick Howell has 32 tackles and two interceptions.

The win over Shafter gives the Warriors an overall series lead of 23-21-1 in a rivalry that dates back to 1930. The only other school the Warriors have played more than Shafter is Bishop High School.

Frontier High football player Matt Darr gets a big hug from his mom after the press conference announcing
he was selected to play in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Photo by Felix Adamo, The Bakersfield Californian.

Warriors Finish 4-1 In Impressive Pre-League Schedule

The biggest question about the 80th edition of Mountain football coming into the season was re-load or re-tool? After all, many players from the back-to-back CIF champion Warriors of 2008 and 2007 were lost to graduation. Well, the verdict is in --- it's re-load! Anchored behind an experienced offensive line, the Warriors finished a tough pre-league schedule with a fine 4-1 record.

The Warriors earned quality wins in defeating Segerstrom (Santa Ana), Garces (Bakersfield), and Burroughs. Each of those teams will battle for the championships of their respective league's and will most certainly be in the post-season playoffs.

The only blip on the season record is a lopsided loss to Frontier High School of Bakersfield, 43-14, in the home opener. At the time, a highly touted Warrior team fell off of the charts in the area rankings --- with many prep beat sports writers thinking this Warrior team was probably over rated.

But as the weeks have passed, Frontier has raised the eyebrows of many sports journalists throughout the San Joaquin Valley as the Titans have raced out to an undefeated 6-0 record. Frontier has emerged as one the Bakersfield area powers for the 2009 season. The Titans have some huge games coming up in the next few weeks against South High, Stockdale, and Centennial.

Leading the charge for Frontier is linebacker and punter Matt Darr who wreaked havoc on the Warriors. Darr was recently selected to the prestiguous 2010 US Army All-American Bowl which showcases national high school football talent. He's also the CIF state champion in the shot put and discus, titles he hopes to defend this spring.

The emergence of Frontier, and the Warriors getting back on the winning track, has shot the stock of Mountain football back into the Top 20 rankings of San Joaquin Valley football teams.

Around the SSL This Week ...

In other SSL games this past week, Taft bombed Arvin 65-6, and Wasco over powered Bakersfield Christian 34-6. Most of the early season predictions pointed to the Taft Wildcats or Warriors as the pre-season favorite to win the SSL.

But the suprise team of 2009 has been the Wasco Tigers. The Tigers are ready to crash the party and have never won the SSL since Tehachapi joined the league in 1992. Wasco has quality wins this year over Corcoran, 35-28, and Porterville, 34-14. The Tigers are off to their best start in many years at 5-1 and are led by running back Quentin Cheatham.

A key SSL showdown takes place this Friday night when Taft travels to Wasco. In other SSL games, Bakersfield Christian travels to Tehachapi and Arvin will play Shafter.

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