Season Review by Tom Shea, thswarriors.com
Warriors Win Valley Championship!
Final 13-0 Log Best Record Since 1980
In just their second year in the Central Section, Tehachapi won their first South Sequoia League championship with a sweep of all league foes. Tehachapi also had an undefeated non-league schedule, advancing to the Valley Playoffs with a perfect 10-0 regular season record. The Warriors won three straight games in the Sequoia Division playoffs to win the championship of the San Joaquin Valley. The 13-0 record was just the fourth perfect season in Tehachapi High School history (others were 1951, 1956, and 1980) and marking the first time since 1985 that a Tehachapi team went undefeated during the regular season.
The road to a championship had a major road block from the get-go, with Tehachapi opening up their season against Highland-Bakersfield. Heavily favored in the contest, the Scott’s featured an option offense that many predicted would give Tehachapi a 0-1 start to their young season. However, behind the defensive effort of linebackers Josh Acosta, Scott Noonan, and Bruce Geilenfeldt, Highland was limited to only 88 yards rushing and a score-less first three quarters in the Warriors’ narrow 14-8 victory.
In Week 2 against Serrano (Phelan), Junior Kurt Liebengood turned many heads in the valley by registering his second 100-yard game with a 14 carry, 149 yard performance with three scores. Also adding to the scoring was Pat Duffy, who showcased his special team talents with an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
The next two games would bring more smash-mouth football from Liebengood, who blew up for 118 yards against Burroughs and 112 yards against St. Joseph in two pre-league wins. Duffy would also provide the ‘jab’ to Liebengood’s ‘blows’, combining for 104 yards and three touchdowns versus the Burros and Knights at the quarterback position.
In Week 5 and 6, the match-up with the “Tigers” of Kern County, Delano and Wasco, provided more doses of the engine of the green machine, a.k.a Kurt Liebengood. The talented 191 pound back wearing #34 combined for 261 yards on 50 carries and six touchdowns in the two games. Complementing Liebengood in the two wins was the defense, holding Delano to only 178 total yards with three interceptions and Wasco to 195 total yards with four turnovers.
Sitting at 6-0 and recording their first league win of the season, the Warriors entered their match-up with Shafter on a season high, whereas their General opponent was entering on a season low, reeling from two straight losses to Coalinga (35-28) and Garces (22-14). Much to the dismay of the Shafter faithful, Tehachapi dashed any hopes of an SSL title for the Generals with a 31-14 thumping behind the legs and arm of Pat Duffy, who registered a 22 yard field goal, four extra points, and two touchdown passes of 23 and 52 yards (both to Brandon Parks).
The next two league games gave yet more dominating performances from Liebengood and Duffy, with the duo combining for 577 total yards and six touchdowns in back-to-back thrashings over Taft and Garces. Tehachapi would secure a league title and a Sequoia Division playoff birth in Week 10 with a win over Stockdale-Bakersfield (7-2 overall; 3-2 SSL), amassing 195 yards on the ground and 83 through the air in the 10-point victory.
Despite having a 10-0 perfect regular season record, Tehachapi found out at the league seeding meeting that it would need more than an undefeated record to prove their worth as a new member of the Sequoia Division playoffs, receiving a controversial #3 seed. The Warriors first round playoff test proved to be a formidable one, relying on a defensive effort led by Brandon Uetz, who recovered a fumble in Corcoran’s endzone for a touchdown. Albert Quinones would get Tehachapi’s other score, recording his third touchdown of the year on an 18-yard pass play from Duffy in the narrow 14-7 win at home.
In the second round, Kerman came knocking on Tehachapi’s door after upsetting #2 seeded Central-Fresno. Despite the impressive 14-10 first round win over Central, the Lions had no more tricks up their sleeve, allowing 282 yards on the ground against the Warrior offense. Liebengood, who had been nursing a hip injury since Week 10 against Stockdale, played a masterful game for the Mountain Men, scoring three times in a 34-7 drubbing to set up a championship with the winner of Dos Palos-Coalinga.
Coalinga (#4 seed) entered the championship game against Tehachapi by shocking Dos Palos (#1 seed) 34-32, giving Tehachapi yet another home game in the Ssequoia Division playoffs. Behind 17-7 in the third quarter of the championship, Duffy would spark the Warrior offense with a 92-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. Three plays later, Liebengood would punch the ball in the endzone to cut into the Horn Toad lead to only three points. Tehachapi would still find themselves on the losing end of the scoreboard at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but a score by Jon Geilenfeldt (25-yard reception) and Liebengood (2-yard run) secured the victory. Coalinga gave Tehachapi it’s biggest test of the year, but behind the offensive line, and Liebengood’s 236 yards and four touchdowns, the Warriors would earn on of their most exciting victories in school history with the 35-23 win.
For the year, Liebengood paced the Warriors with 293 carries for 1,954 yards and 23 TD's, while Jon Geilenfeldt carried the ball 38 times for 302 yards and three scores. Geilenfeldt also registered a touchdown reception, while leading Tehachapi’s defensive secondary with four interceptions. Pat Duffy finished his stellar Warrior career with 35 pass completions for 699 yards and ten scores, hitting Josh Acosta for 21 catches for 331 yards and three TD’s, Brandon Parks seven times for 216 yards and two touchdowns, Albert Quinones for three scores, and Bruce and Jon Geilenfeldt for the other two. Duffy also kicked 30 PAT's and 2 field goals for the season.
Tehachapi placed six players on the All-South Sequoia League 1st team, led by TE/LB Josh Acosta, who was honored by the committee for both positions. Other honoree’s were Mike Williams and Anthony Martinez on the offensive line, defensive back Jon Geilenfeldt, down-lineman Robert Massey, and runningback Kurt Liebengood. All players mentioned were also selected to the All-Southern Area team, along with LB Bruce Geilenfeldt.
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|Sep 10||Highland (Bakersfield)||14||08||H||K. Liebengood: 1 TD, 137 yds. rushing|
|Sep 17||Serrano (Phelan)||27||06||A||K. Liebengood: 3 TD's, 149 yds. rushing|
|Sep 24||Burroughs (Ridgecrest)||16||06||A||Pat Duffy: 2 TD's, 73 yds. passing|
|Oct 1||St. Joseph (Santa Maria)||07||06||H||Albert Quinones: 1 TD, 50 yds.|
|Oct 8||Delano||27||00||A||K. Liebengood: 3 TD's, 142 yds. rushing|
|Oct 15||Wasco*||24||13||H||K. Liebengood: 3 TD's, 119 yds. rushing|
|Oct 22||Shafter*||31||14||A||Pat Duffy: 2 TD's, 22 Yd. FG|
|Oct 29||Taft*||27||03||A||K. Liebengood: 2 TD's, 112 yds. rushing|
|Nov 5||Garces (Bakersfield)*||33||07||H||K. Liebengood: 2 TD's, 243 yds. rushing|
|Nov 12||Stockdale (Bakersfield)*||20||10||H||K. Liebengood: 1 TD, 153 yds. rushing|
|Nov 19||Corcoran||14||07||H||Brandon Uetz: 1 TD, fumble recovery|
|Nov 26||Kerman||34||07||H||K. Liebengood: 3 TD's, 196 yds. rushing|
|Dec 3||Coalinga||35||23||H||K. Liebengood: 4 TD's, 236 yds. rushing|