Paraclete Spirits (Lancaster) at Tehachapi

September 23, 2016

Warrior defender Jonathan Eppler #35 chases down Paraclete QB Tooni Ikahihifo last Friday night in Tehachapi. Ikahihifo completed 18 of 23 passes
for 284 passing yards to lead Paraclete to a 35-7 win over the Warriors. The Warriors complete their pre-league schedule this Friday hosting
North Bakersfield at Coy Burnett Field. The loss drops the Warriors to 0-4 for the season.   Photo by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News.

Warriors Refusing To Fold Despite 0-4 Start

Posted on September 25, 2016 by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News

They could just as easily have been 2-2 to start the season instead of 0-4, and the Warriors show no signs of surrender.

“We've still got stuff in our bag,” Warriors senior running back Philippe Vachon said. “We can still come together and win. This is just a bump in the road.”

The biggest bump since the 1941 Warriors went 0-8, but consider this: While they have been blown out twice, both times by elite private schools, the Warriors had excellent opportunities to beat both Burroughs and Bakersfield Christian.

They looked like winners, in fact, until key fumbles cost them both of those games, and now they face North High School on Friday, Sept. 30, with more than just a losing streak at stake.

It's Homecoming, the perfect time to get their first victory of 2016.

“North is very competitive, but I think we'll rise to the occasion,” head coach Steve Denman said. “We'll keep fighting. These guys just don't give up.”

The Warriors fell to 0-4, the worst start of Denman's 35 years as Warriors head coach, in a 35-7 loss to Paraclete on Friday night, Sept. 23 in their home opener. The Spirits led 28-0 at halftime, and 35-0 until Vachon scored Tehachapi's lone touchdown on a 1-yard run with 2:13 to play.

Vachon and Zion Dean, both late replacements in the game, did most of the damage on the scoring drive. Dean carried four times for 27 yards to start the drive, and Vachon finished it off with five carries, including the TD.

On the play before the touchdown, Vachon skirted the left side for 17 yards to the 1-yard line where he was forced out of bounds.

“I really wanted to punch that one in,” Vachon said, “but I knew we'd get it. I'm glad coach gave me the chance for the touchdown.”

During their losing streak, the Warriors have shown a particular susceptibility to the pass. In four games, the Tehachapi defense has given up 1,008 yards passing to the opposition, including 284 yards to Paraclete quarterback Tooni Ikahihifo.

Ikahihifo, a big, mobile quarterback, competed 18 of 23 attempts and threw three touchdown passes, all in the first half.

North does throw the ball, but not nearly as frequently or as effectively as the Warriors previous four opponents.

The Warriors, meanwhile, held Paraclete to just 105 yards rushing.

At the same time, their own offensive woes continued. They have scored more than one touchdown in a game just once this season.

Against Paraclete, they rushed for 144 yards, with Connor Timm their leading rusher gaining 38 yards on 13 carries.

The Warriors did, however, complete two passes in the game for the first time this season. Junior QB Chris Garcia, who replaced starting senior Paul Stephens in the second half, hit wide receiver Carson Bethany twice for 23 yards. Those were Garcia's only two completions in five attempts.

“It felt good,” Bethany said. “I think Chris has a little more mobility than Paul, but he doesn't have the experience. Maybe that's why he tries to create things and make plays.”

The North game not only marks homecoming but also will be the Warriors' final preseason game before starting their South Yomsemite League season on Friday night, Oct. 7, at home against Independence.

“We've had a tough schedule,” Denman said. “We've got a good team, and we'll be competitive.”

After the 0-4 start, Denman's career victory total remained at 295.

He still could become only the fifth varsity head football coach in California to reach the 300 plateau this season, but in order to do so, the Warriors would have to finish no worse than 5-1.

They have another home game after Independence, against East Bakersfield on Friday, Oct. 14, then play their next two on the road at Golden Valley and Ridgeview.

They finish their season at home on Friday night, Nov. 4, against West.

Warrior running back Connor Timm #3 struggles for yardage against the Paraclete defense Friday night in Tehachapi. Timm led the Warriors
with just 38 rushing yards on 13 carries. The Warriors host North Bakersfield this Friday night to complete their pre-league schedule.  
Photo by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News.

Paraclete Topples Warriors, 35-7

Posted by Tom Shea, The Bakersfield Californian, on September 23, 2016.

TEHACHAPI – Quarterback Tooni Ikahihifo had over 200 yards passing and three touchdown strikes by halftime,
guiding the Spirits to a decisive 35-7 victory over the Warriors on the mountain.

Ikahihifo completed passes to six different receivers for Paraclete (2-3), with his top target being sophomore Melquan Stovall,
who had six receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown. Ikahihifo finished with 18 completions for 284 yards and three touchdowns.

Pacing the big play offense for Paraclete was sophomore Jamaal Bell, who had 71 yards rushing, 60 yards receiving and two first half scores.
Bobby Brown also hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass to help the Spirits put the game out of reach with a 28-0 lead right before halftime.

Philippe Vachon scored the lone touchdown for Tehachapi (0-4) in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard plunge.

Connor Timm led all Warrior runners with 38 yards on 13 carries. Carson Bethany had two receptions for 23 yards.

1st2nd3rd 4thFinal
Paraclete  7 21   0  7 35
Tehachapi  0  0   0  7 07

The Scoring:

First quarter

P – Bell 55 pass from Ikahihifo (Gordon kick)

Second quarter

P – Stovall 5 pass from Ikahihifo (Gordon kick)
P – Bell 27 run (Gordon kick)
P – Brown 30 pass from Ikahihifo (Gordon kick)

Fourth quarter

P – Jones 7 run (Gordon kick)
T – Vachon 1 run (Graham kick)

Paraclete vs Tehachapi Stats

First Downs 7
Passing Yards28423
Comp-Att-Int18-23-0 2-7-0
Total Yards389167
Punts 7-27.9
Penalties 9-50

Individual Statistics:

RUSHING—Tehachapi: Timm 13-38, Garcia 7-29, Dean 5-27, Powell 6-25, Vachon 6-20, Metzler 3-3, Wadkins 1-2.
Paraclete: Bell 13-71, Ikahihifo 9-9, Jones 3-23, Latu 1-2.

PASSING—Tehachapi: Garcia 2-5-0 23; Stephens 0-2-0 0. Paraclete: Ikahihifo 18-23-0 284.

RECEIVING—Tehachapi: Bethany 2-23. Paraclete: Stovall 6-65, Bell 2-60, Smith 4-54, Brown 2-44, Ramirez 2-41, Haywood 2-20.

Varsity Records: Paraclete 2-3; Tehachapi 0-4.

JV: Paraclete 20, Tehachapi 12.