The 1953 Warriors include top row, left to right, Charles Burk, Ervin Hutson, Ruben Montana, Harry Cowan, Glen Austin,
Manuel Terrazas, Paul Knight, Dewain Palmer, Alfonso Muro, Bill Spencer, bottom row, l to r, Ernie Muro, Kenneth Peters,
Glen James, LaVoise Gary, Merle Gilligand, Kim Cummings, Byron Early, Robert Mantoth, and coach John Goodell.
The streak was finally over. After winning five straight Sierra League championships --- and back-to-back Valley Championships --- the 1953 Warriors had to settle for a 2nd place tie in the South Sierra League with McFarland. Overall, the Warriors finished with a 2-1-1 league record; 3-4-1 overall; their first losing season since 1941.
Warriors Suffer First Losing Season Since 1941
Garces won the Sierra League championship in 1953, and went on to win the Valley Championship. Garces was paced by their quarterback Gary Ogilvie who would go on to coach both Garces and Tehachapi to many successful football seasons.
The offense was guided throughout the year by flashy quarterback Ernie Muro. Sophomore Al Muro was also an effective runner during the first half of the season, but suffered a season ending injury (broken thumb) during the Trona game.
Some big games for the Warriors during the 1953 season:
In Week 3, in league play, the Warriors routed Maricopa 39-6. The scoring parade included two Ernie Muro 1 yard TD runs; an Ernie Muro to Ken Peters TD pass; an Al Muro to Ruben Montana TD pass; a Peters 20 yard TD run; and an Ernie Muro-to-Peters 27 yard TD pass play.
In Week 7, the Warriors played the McFarland Cougars to an exciting 20 to 20 tie. The scoring included a Peters-to-Muro-to Early 25 yard TD pass; a LaVoise Gary TD run; and a Peters-to-Ernie Muro TD pass.
In the season finale against North High, playing in a "sea of mud", the Warriors defeated the Stars, 19-6. Peters hit Early for an 18 yard TD pass; Early also returned a punt 50 yards for a TD; and LaVoise Gary scored on a 4 yard run, set up by a 40 yard punt return by Early.
According to the 1953-54 Tomahawk Yearbook, "the Warriors were led by #8 Byron Early (wide receiver), #5 Merle Gilligand (lineman), and #2 Kenneth Peters (running back)." Gilligand along with Ernie Muro and lineman Kim Cummings were selected to the All-Sierra League 1st team.
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|Sep 26||Victorville||07||21||A||Glen James: 1 TD Pass Rec.|
|Oct 3||Bakersfield JV's||32||07||H||Al Muro: 2 TD's|
|Oct 9||Maricopa *||39||06||A||Ken Peters: 3 TD's|
|Oct 16||Trona||19||20||A||Byron Early: 2 TD Pass Rec.|
|Oct 24||Garces *||00||25||H|
|Oct 31||Barstow||06||46||H||Glen James: 1 TD Run|
|Nov 6||McFarland *||20||20||A||Byron Early: 1 TD Pass Rec.|
|Nov 14||North High (Bakersfield) *||19||06||H||Byron Early: 2 TD's|
* Denotes Sierra League Game
Left to right, head Song Leader Madalene Moore, varsity football player Bill Spencer, and song leader Mary Moore.