Top Row, left to right, Sal Murgia, Ben Creason, James Peel, Eric Patchen, Paul Martsolf, George Tapia, Dion Murphy, Derek Wilson, Carlos Palos,
second row, Scott Noonan, Henry Schaeffer, Bruce Geilenfeldt, Brandon Uetz, Kurt Liebengood, Jason Valenzula, Micheal Moulton, Patrick Duffy, Josh Acosta, Eric Vollmer,
third row, Ivan Castaneda, Weylin Jensen, Kharry Kidd, Jordan Moore, Tony Nocelo, Steven Lineham, Carl Brooks, Kyian Spain, Abdul Saline, Steve Denison, Ronnie Frye,
fourth row, Jason Maaskant, Robert Massey, Anthony Martinez, Jim Damian, Eric Knowles, Joe Choate, Tommy Williams, Trad Eilers, and Tyson Kingsbury.
Season Review by Tom Shea, thswarriors.com
Warriors Finish 3rd in South Sequoia League Play
1992 Warriors Log 5-3-2 Season Record
In 1992, Tehachapi began playing football as a member of the South Sequoia League. The Warriors had been a solid member of the Desert-Inyo league since 1957 (35 years), and were moving from the CIF southern section to the CIF central section (San Joaquin Valley). As the student enrollment at Tehachapi High School began to explode in the 1980's, the Warriors began to dominate the Desert-Inyo League in a number of sports --- specifically football. The Warriors had won three straight league championships (1989-91) and had been in the CIF Division IX finals six times in the past seven years!
A new beginning in the CIF central section had itís first big test for Tehachapi in week one, when the Warriors traveled to Bakersfield to take on the third ranked Highland Scots, led by 1991 South Yosemite League leading rusher Tyrin Prince. Tehachapi fell behind early in the game 14-0, but would stiffen its defense and find the endzone twice in the second half to secure the tie. Quarterback Joel Nash orchestrated one of Tehachapiís best drives in the third quarter, hitting wide-out Pat Duffy on a 41 yard streak to cap a 77 yard drive that ended with a Ben Creason 37-yard touchdown catch. Trad Eilers ended the contest with 94 yards on 19 carries and the game-tying score in the fourth quarter.
After easily dispatching Serrano (Phelan) with 28 second quarter points in week two (Head Coach Steve Denmanís 100th coaching win), Tehachapi faced yet another pre-season test, but this time from an old southern section foe in Burroughs (Ridgecrest). The game against Burroughs was arguably the most thrilling of the 90ís decade, with the Warriors and Burros exchanging blows until Tehachapi was able to execute a miracle touchdown with seconds left on the game clock. With the game tied 14-14, Joel Nash dropped back from Tehachapiís own 15-yard line, throwing a hail-mary pass toward Pat Duffy. After the football tipped off the helmet of a Burroughs defender, Duffy snagged the pigskin in mid-air at midfield and bolted for the 85-yard pass play with no time left on the scoreboard. An elated cluster of Warrior players and fans mobbed Duffy in the end zone after the game winning score.
After the contest with Burroughs, Tehachapi received its first ever #1 ranking in the sequoia division polls, but it would be short-lived after a week four loss to St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, who scored 22 unanswered second-half points after a 14-14 first-half tie. Josh Acosta led all receivers with four grabs for 61 yards, while Ben Creason and Ronnie Frye contributed with a touchdown apiece.
The final pre-season game was Tehachapiís most dominant of the year, scoring a seaon-high 33 points in a 256 yard rushing barrage against the Tigers of Delano. The game proved to be the confidence booster the Warriors needed heading into their first-ever South Sequoia League game against Wasco, where Joel Nash scored a season high three touchdown completions for 240 yards. Running back Kurt Liebengood also had his first 100-yard game as a Warrior, amassing 109 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown.
The next two league games would be set backs for Tehachapi with two straight losses to Shafter and Taft. Liebengood and Eilers combined for 117 yards on 25 carries against the Generals, and Liebengood scored once and collected 109 yards on 15 carries against the Wildcats in a rain-soaked loss.
After four weeks of SSL play, Garces moved into first place in the SSL with a 6-2 (3-0-1) record after tying Tehachapi in Bakersfield. Liebengood got Tehachapi off to a fast start in the Garces contest with a 4-yard score, and defensive standout Jordan Moore returned an interception 80 yards to secure the second tie of the season for the Warriors. In the final week of league play, Garces secured the league title with a 17-6 win over Taft, while Tehachapi ended their season behind the wings of Pat Duffy, who combined for 164 of Tehachapiís 225 total yards in a 26-19 win over Stockdale in the regular season finale. Sophomore Kurt Liebengood finished with 62 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns against the Mustangs to supplement the fine play of Duffy.
For the year, Tehachapi ended with 1,467 yards on the ground, and 747 yards passing on offense, and only 2,097 yards allowed on defense, good for fifth in Kern County. Joel Nash ended his season completing 34 passes for 685 yards and six touchdowns, while junior Pat Duffy finished with twelve completions for 62 yards and three scores. On the ground, Trad Eilers led all runningbacks with 595 yards on 132 carries and six scores, while sophomore Kurt Liebengood finished with 447 yards on 84 carries and six touchdowns. Duffy led all receivers with fourteen receptions for 318 yards and three touchdowns.
The move to the much larger and competitive South Sequoia league was not an intimidating experience for the Warriors as they had been playing SSL teams for a number of years in non-league contests. However, the Warriors found the going tough in their first official year in the SSL, going 2-2-1 in league play, and failing to qualify for post-season playoffs for the first time in nine years (since 1983).
Earning first team ALL-SSL honors for the Warriors were Patrick Duffy (wide receiver), Steve Denison (lineman), Josh Acosta (tight end), and Sal Murguia (defensive back). Murguia was also selected the Most Valuable Player of the team.
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LISTING OF SSL CHAMPS
OPPONENT THS OPP L GAME HIGHLIGHT Sep 11 Highland (Bakersfield) 14 14 A Joel Nash: 1 TD, 197 yds. passing Sep 18 Serrano (Phelan) 28 13 H Trad Eilers: 1 TD, 126 yds. rushing Sep 25 Burroughs (Ridgecrest) 20 14 H Pat Duffy: 1 TD, 109 yds. receiving Oct 3 St. Joseph (Santa Maria) 14 36 A Trad Eilers: 1 TD, 102 yds. rushing Oct 9 Delano 33 06 H Trad Eilers: 3 TD, 78 yds. rushing Oct 16 Wasco * 26 00 H Joel Nash: 3 TD, 240 yds. passing Oct 23 Shafter * 06 21 H Gleilenfeldt: 1 TD, 32 yds. rushing Oct 30 Taft * 09 12 H Kurt Liebengood: 1 TD, 109 yds. rushing Nov 6 Garces (Bakersfield) * 14 14 A Pat Duffy: 92 yds. rushing Nov 13 Stockdale (Bakersfield) * 26 19 H Pat Duffy: 2 TD, 91 yds. rushing
* Denotes League Game
Senior Trad Eilers #27 breaks loose from a St. Joseph Knight defender while teammate Josh Acosta #15 looks on.
This rare afternoon game was played in Santa Maria, with the Knights winning the non-league contest, 36-14.