The 1966 Warriors include, front row, left to right, George Cortez, Gerald Valdez, Manuel Cazares, Tom Rolin, Tom Graham, Dan Jackson, Don Mitchell, Tim Sanders,
Jerry Gassaway, Jack Iriart, Steve Thompson, Roger Ary, Jim Blair, F Valenzuela, Manager Richard Davies, back row, Manager James Gooding, Wayne Bush,
Allen Austin, Dan Henderson, John Valenzuela, Garry Witty, Mike Clayton, Wes Smith, Don Ward, John Bradley, Pete Hernandez, Nick Damian, Keith Warner, B Scott,
Ken Perry, Kurt Lennert, Larry Wiggins, Philip Fry, Jim Quesada, Demecio Aguilar, Bob Casey, and Manager J Braun.
In his third (and final) year as the head coach, Pat O'Donnell had a nucleus of experienced players but a team that, according to the Tehachapi News, "lacked depth". Behind returning all-league players Tim Sanders and Don Mitchell, the Warriors figured to have a steady offense that could put points on the scoreboard. As it turned out, the Warriors struggled to score points in the early part of the season.
Warriors Finish at 6-3 in 1966
Tim Sanders Selected As Team MVP
The Warriors opened up their 1966 season against the highly touted Trona Tornadoes. The Tornadoes were the defending DIL and CIF small-school champions and featured a number of returning lettermen.
On the home turf, the Warriors jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead and took that score into the halftime locker room. But Trona scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to win the game, 21-6. Don Mitchell led the Warriors with 1 TD run on 80 yards rushing in 24 carries. Fullback John Bradley also had 95 yards in 13 carries and quarterback Tim Sanders had 28 yards rushing and one completed pass.
In Week 2, the Warriors crushed Mojave 54-0 in a mismatch. Mitchell led the Warriors with 3 TD's on 131 rushing yards. As a team, the Warriors rushed for 235 yards and completed 2 passes for 55 yards.
Week 3 was a defensive battle with Boron as the teams took a 0-0 score into the final stanza. Field goal kicker Don Mitchell connected on a short field goal with 4:13 left in the 4th quarter and the 3 points was enough to preserve the victory. Mitchell also rushed for 67 yards while quarterback Sanders rushed for 40 yards and connected on 3 passes --- all to Mitchell (for 43 more yards).
In Week 4 the Warriors suffered a heartbreaking 12-0 loss to the Scorpions at Edwards Air Force Base. Warrior fullback John Bradley missed the game due to an injury, and the Warrior offense never quite got untracked. The Warriors had only 79 yards rushing for the game with Mitchell picking up 57 of those yards. Sanders did connect on 7 passes for 80 yards.
In Week 5, in an effort to shake up the lackluster Warrior offense, coach Pat O'Donnell moved QB Sanders to the slot position and moved Gary Witty into the QB position. But once again, the Warriors found themselves in another low scoring gritty DIL contest with the Rosamond Roadrunners. With the score tied 6-6 late in the 4th quarter, and the Runners' driving towards the goal line, defensive back Gary Witty picked off an errant Rosamond pass and scampered 83 yards for the touchdown. Mitchell added the PAT to insure the thrilling 13-6 victory.
Week 6 was the BIG game of the season against rival Bishop. Playing in front of a large hometown crowd on Homecoming, the emotional Warriors could not overcome the highly talented Broncos, dropping a 15-0 decision. Bishop continued its dominance of the Warriors, winning their seventh straight game dating back to 1960 --- and tenth win in the last eleven years.
The Warriors got back on the winning track in Week 7 by defeating Lone Pine, 37-13. With Sanders absent from this game, the Warriors brought up Brave phenom Mike Douglas for one game. The sophomore opened up some eyes by completing 5 of 7 passes and rushing for 44 yards, including 1 TD run and 1 TD pass. Mitchell added 2 TD's on 85 rushing yards and Bradley ran for 107 yards and 1 TD. Receiver Dan Henderson also hauled in two passes for TD's --- one from Douglas and the other from QB Gary Witty.
In Week 8, the Warriors defeated the Spirits of Paraclete High School, 13-6. Mitchell had his best rushing game of the season collecting 163 yards on 24 carries; Bradley had 100 yards on 12 carries including 2 TD's of 38 and 21 yards; and Witty had 28 yards rushing.
In the league finale, the Warriors won their third game in a row, by blanking Kern Valley 28-0 to finish the season at 6-3. Mitchell had 114 yards and 2 TD's rushing; Henderson caught 5 passes for 92 yards including 1 TD pass; Henderson also returned an interception 25 yards for a TD. Mitchell added 4 PAT's to round out the scoring.
Bishop won the DIL in 1966 with an 8-1 record and Trona finished in 2nd place at 7-1-1.
Offensively, the Warriors were led by Mitchell who scored 8 TD's and rushed for nearly 800 yards; the often injured Bradley scored 4 TD's; and Henderson chipped in with 4 exciting TD's. Sanders, Witty, and Douglas also contributed to the scoring parade.
The Warriors were led by team Most Valuable Player Tim Sanders (#31). Sanders, who played quarterback, wide receiver, and defensive back, was also an all-league 1st team selection. He was joined by lineman Dan Jackson, running back Don Mitchell, and lineman Larry Wiggins.
Under head coach Harry Jasper, the junior varsity Braves went undefeated in league play with a perfect 8-0 record. The Braves suffered a season ending non-league loss to the Big Pine varsity. The game replaced the vacant Kern Valley date --- since KV did not have a junior varsity team. The Braves were led by quarterback and team MVP Mike Douglas.
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LISTING OF DIL CHAMPS
OPPONENT THS OPP L GAME HIGHLIGHT Sep 24 Trona 06 21 H Don Mitchell: 1 TD, 80 yds. rushing Sep 30 Mojave 54 00 A Don Mitchell: 3 TD's, 131 yds. rushing Oct 8 Boron 03 00 H Don Mitchell: 1 FG, 67 yds. rushing Oct 14 Desert (Edwards AFB) 00 12 A Oct 22 Rosamond 13 06 A Gary Witty: 82 Yd. TD Int. Return Oct 28 Bishop 00 15 H Nov 5 Lone Pine 37 13 A Don Mitchell: 2 TD's, 85 yds. rushing Nov 12 Paraclete (Lancaster) 13 06 H John Bradley: 2 TD's, 100 yds. rushing Nov 19 Kern Valley (Lake Isabella) 28 00 A Don Mitchell: 2 TD's, 114 yds. rushing
Warrior Co-Captain Don Mitchell #33 had an outstanding season in his senior year
scoring 8 TD's, rushing for nearly 800 yards, and handled the PAT chores for the Warriors
including a game winning field goal against Boron. For his efforts, Mitchell was rewarded
with a 1st team all-league selection for the second straight season. During his two-year varsity
career, Mitchell rushed for over 1,600 yards, scored 20 TD's, 1 FG, and numerous PAT's.