Season Review by Tom Shea, thswarriors.com
Warriors Finish 3rd In South Sequoia League Play
Warriors Finish Season With 6-4 Record
The 1994 Warriors finished the season with a respectable 6-4 season record; 3-2 in SSL play. After finishing the previous year undefeated in the South Sequoia League and CIF Champions, a lot of pressure was put on the í94 team to mirror the success of the year before.
Tehachapiís bend-but-donít-break defense, led by Sophomore Pat Kelloway and Senior Brandon Uetz at the linebacker positions, helped limit the Highland Scots to only 82 yards rushing and 92 yards passing in a come from behind win in week one. Down 13-10 in the fourth quarter, senior fullback Marcelo Borreli found the endzone on a 14-yard run to secure a win at Memorial Stadium in Bakersfield.
In week two, highly-recruited division I prospect Jamal Day gave the Warriors all they could handle, rushing for 129 yards on 26 carries for the visiting Rosamond Roadrunners. However, Tehachapi had a prospect of their own in Kurt Liebengood, who torched the former Desert-Inyo League foe for 240 yards, including a career-high 80-yard touchdown run on Tehachapiís first series of the game. Sitting at a record of 2-0, the Warriors would suffer their first loss in 16 games in week three, shattering their Division III #7 state ranking and #1 ranking in the Sequoia Division. A 14-0 loss at the hands of Burroughs High School marked the first shutout in five years for mountain football, having played 62 straight contests without being held scoreless (the last shutout was at the hands of the Garces Rams in 1989, who beat the Warriors 17-0). Tehachapi did have their chances to capitalize on the scoreboard in the game, with Liebengood carrying 22 times for 128 yards. However, key turnovers and the running of Burro Demario Brown (140 yards and a touchdown) sealed the Warriors fate.
A week later, Tehachapi would get back on the winning track with another dominating performance by Liebengood, who scored on runs of 7, 10, and 30 yards to pad his lead as the top rusher in the valley at that time. Senior quarterback Brandon Parks opened up the scoring in the first quarter with a 21-yard touchdown strike to wideout Scott Owens, and the Warriors cruised from there. Even though the Tehachapi and Arvin communities are so close to one-another, the week four match-up marked the first time in 45 years that the two programs would lock horns in a football contest. The previous meeting between the two schools had the Warriors coming out victorious in a 26-7 win in 1950.
Before starting their league run, Tehachapi would suffer their second loss of the season behind the fine play of Highland (Palmdale) multi-back threat Jason Carr, who threw, caught, and ran for a touchdown in the dispatching of the Warriors on the Mountain. Parks and Liebengood would account for all of Tehachapiís yards in the eight point loss. Liebengood, playing through a painful leg injury, finished with 86 yards and a touchdown.
Sitting at 3-2, the Warriors decided to Ďright-the-shipí at the right time, opening up their league season with three straight drubbings over league foes Shafter, Wasco, and Taft. Liebengood would combine for 405 yards on 77 carries and five touchdowns in the three wins. Against Wasco, runningback Jeff Pandolfe would become the first Warrior in sequoia history to score a varsity touchdown as a freshman with a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter. In the game against Taft, Brandon Parks registered his best game of the season, completing six of twelve passes for 133 yards and two scores, while junior runningback Edwin Steele would become the first Tehachapi player since 1992 (besides Liebengood) to rush for 100 yards, finishing with 103 yards on eight carries, including a 72-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Tehachapi would close their season with two league losses to Garces and Centennial, but would not fade into the sunset easily. Liebengood, still bothered by the leg injury suffered in week five, converted 21 carries for 147 yards against Garces. Down 10-0 in the second half against the Rams, Liebengood would add a 17-yard score, but the touchdown would not be enough as the Rams held on for the SSL upset. The difference in the contest was a 45-yard field goal by Garcesí Matt Pearl, which hit the crossbar-and-in at the close of the first half. Against Centennial, with a playoff birth on the line, the Warrior defense could not find an answer for Robert Grant, who had 179 rushing yards on 23 carries and two late touchdowns. Leading Tehachapi in the contest was the pair of Brandon Parks, who had 85 yards on six completions, and Uetz, who tallied two catches and six carries for 68 total yards and a score in the regular season finale.
For the year, Tehachapi had 1,863 yards rushing, and 586 yards passing, while only giving up 1,558 yards on the ground and 941 yards in the air. Kurt Liebengood led all runners with 1,393 yards and 13 touchdowns on 232 attempts, while Brandon Parks completed 31 passes for 515 yards and six touchdowns. Tehachapiís leading receiver in 1994 was Scott Owens, who caught 17 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Earning first team ALL-SSL honors for the Warriors were Brandon Parks (quarterback), Kurt Liebengood (running back), Mike Williams (lineman), and Steve Rankin (defensive back).
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|Sep 9||Highland (Bakersfield)||20||16||A||Kurt Liebengood: 1 TD, 162 yds. rushing|
|Sep 16||Rosamond||14||09||H||Kurt Liebengood: 2 TD's, 240 yds. rushing|
|Sep 23||Burroughs (Ridgecrest)||00||14||H||Kurt Liebengood: 128 yds. rushing|
|Sep 30||Arvin||25||17||A||Kurt Liebengood: 3 TD's, 171 yds. rushing|
|Oct 7||Highland (Palmdale)||13||21||H||Brandon Parks: 1 TD, 89 yds. passing|
|Oct 14||Shafter*||21||07||H||Kurt Liebengood: 2 TD's, 131 yds. rushing|
|Oct 21||Wasco*||27||00||A||Kurt Liebengood: 2 TD's, 173 yds. rushing|
|Oct 28||Taft*||34||12||H||Brandon Parks: 2 TD's, 133 yds. passing|
|Nov 4||Garces (Bakersfield)*||07||10||A||Kurt Liebengood: 1 TD, 147 yds. rushing|
|Nov 11||Centennial (Bakersfield)*||20||28||H||Brandon Uetz: 1 TD, 68 yds. total|