1991 Warriors

Warriors Win Desert Inyo-League Championship
CIF Finalists Finish At 10-4 For The Season

Season Review by Tom Shea, thswarriors.com

For the fifth consecutive year, the Warriors advanced to the CIF Division IX championship game! The 1991 season would also mark the final year that the Warriors would participate in the Desert-Inyo League. In recent years, Warrior sports teams were dominating league play, due in part, to a booming school enrollment. The Warriors would move to a new CIF section and a new league in 1992. The new section would be the CIF Central Section (San Joaquin Valley) and the new league was the bigger and more competitive South Sequoia League (SSL). In recent years, the Warriors have been playing a number of SSL schools in non-league games (Garces, Wasco, Shafter, etc.).

For the overall season, the championship campaign hit a considerable snare early on when Tehachapi came out of the gates with an 0-2 record. Coach Steve Denman then put Tehachapi’s fate in the sure-hands of Bumper Stanley in week 3 against Wasco, and Tehachapi utilized Stanley’s skills to crush the Central Section’s 8th ranked Tiger team 27-0. The defensive was especially impressive over Wasco, holding highly touted D-I college recruit Nacho Martinez to only one yard rushing.

Stanley, along with Ben Creason, proved to be a very formidable one-two punch for the Warriors from week three on. Creason finished the season with 955 yards on 150 carries for seven scores, while Stanley touched the ball 177 times for 919 yards and six touchdowns.

The Warriors won the DIL championship for the third year in a row, defeating then undefeated Bishop in the regular season finale 9-7, for a perfect 5-0 record in league play. There were many emotions coming into the Bronco game, with Coach Steve Denman the victim of an assault the week before at his home. With inspiration from Denman in a wheelchair on the sideline supporting his players, the mountain men fought hard in the defensive battle to secure the win. The game wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter when Sal Murguria and Eric Vollmer pounced on a Bishop tailback for a safety, which was the result of a bad pitch from the Bronco quarterback to break a 7-7 tie. Denman was quoted saying that the victory against Bishop was “one of the best wins ever by the program.”

The Warriors would move to the Central CIF section and the South Sequoia League in 1992, but not before making a strong run in the Division IX playoffs. Tehachapi opened their 1991 playoff run with a convincing drubbing over Lancaster-Highland, led by strong defensive performances by Vince Galan and David Jojola, who combined for 17 tackles and two sacks, limiting the Bulldog offense to only 142 yards on the ground. The 9-1 Bulldogs were also averaging 36 points a game before facing the “green wall” against the Warriors. The second round brought a rematch with 1990’s section championship game against the Harolds of Whittier Christian. This time, the Warriors proved to be the victor behind Ben Creason’s 103 yards on 13 carries. Josh Rathbone would also account for the games only scoring, with a field goal and a 23-yard touchdown catch from Nash.

In the semifinal game, Tehachapi had one of the year’s biggest tests in St. Bonaventure, who has been a perineal powerhouse for many years. The Serph’s, who brought as many warm amenities as they possibly could for the game (gas heaters, tarps, etc.) at Coy Burnett field, still couldn’t find an answer for Stanley and Creason show, who combined for 289 yards on 42 carries and a score.

In the section championship game, the Warriors would meet their old playoff foe Carpinteria, pitting the fourth time in five years that the Warriors would play the “Coast Warriors” in the CIF Division IX finals. The game was played at the neutral site of San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, and in a grueling game, Carpinteria would once again prevail by scoring a touchdown with 9:18 to go to defeat Tehachapi, 14-7. The “Mountain Warriors” drew first-blood in the contest when quarterback Joel Nash took a keeper in the endzone for the early lead. Nash finished the game with seven completions for 69 yards and the score, and played a brilliant junior season stepping in for Fletcher Austin, who suffered a back injury against Garces in week 5. Austin, like a true Warrior, would still play considerable time during the second half of the season, sharing snaps with Nash both in the DIL season and the playoffs. Austin finished the season firing 27 completions for 222 yards and two touchdowns, while Nash had 71 completions for 707 yards and seven touchdowns (one rushing).

Although Tehachapi lost another heartbreaker in the finals, they still had the distinction of reaching the big dance five consecutive years from 1987 to 1991. That positive accolade was one to be proud of as Tehachapi bid farewell to the Southern Section, and a very talented group of players that played outstanding football for Tehachapi.

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Game-by-Game Results

Sep 13Taft 08 29HTrad Eilers: 1 TD, 57 yds. rushing
Sep 21Serrano 07 10ABen Creason: 1 TD, 86 yds. rushing
Sep 27Wasco 27 00ABumper Stanley: 1 TD, 109 yds. rushing
Oct 4Shafter 14 00HBen Creason: 1 TD, 151 yds. rushing
Oct 11Garces (Bakersfield) 14 30AEric Patchen: 1 TD, 26 yds. receiving
Oct 18Paraclete (Lancaster)* 44 17AJosh Rathbone: 27 yd. FG, 5 PAT's
Oct 25Mojave* 14 07HBumper Stanley: 2 TD's, 88 yds. rushing
Nov 1Desert (Edwards AFB)* 19 00HJoel Nash: 2 TD's, 168 yds. passing
Nov 8Kern Valley (Kernville)* 07 00HBumper Stanley: 1 TD, 67 yds. rushing
Nov 15Bishop* 09 07AJoel Nash: 1 TD, 92 yds. passing

* Denotes League Game

CIF Southern Section Division IX Playoffs

Nov 16Highland 17 07HBen Creason: 1 TD: 92 yds. rushing
Nov 23Whittier Christian 09 00AJosh Rathbone: 1 TD, 21 yd. FG, 53 yds. receiving
Dec 1St. Bonaventure 14 08HBumper Stanley: 1 TD, 173 yds. rushing
Dec 8Carpinteria 07 14AJoel Nash: 1 TD, 69 yds.passing