Tehachapi at Taft

November 12, 2010

A trio of Warrior defenders including #44 David Lara, #55 Cameron King, and #67 Troy Mathews
prepare for an assault on a Taft running back Friday night in Taft. Photo by Michael Duffy, The Tehachapi News.

Tehachapi Claims SSL Title
Warriors 30 Taft 20

Posted November 14, 2010, by Tom Shea, The Tehachapi News

You can never underestimate the power of a team with nothing to lose, and last Friday night, Taft played the part to perfection.

For the Warriors, there was everything to gain, and in the end, early execution and late big plays won the day in a thrilling 30-20 win on the road against Taft.

Tehachapi (9-1; 5-0 SSL) claimed its second-straight South Sequoia League championship with the win and earned their 28th league championship in school history.

Early on, the Warriors looked poised to cruise in the contest after building a 17-6 halftime lead, thanks in part to a pair of well-executed sweeps by Jorge Garcia for touchdowns and a 30-yard field goal by Travis Farewell as the second quarter game clock expired.

But in the second half, Taft controlled possession for the majority of the period, taking the momentum to score two unanswered touchdowns for a 20-17 advantage.

With six minutes left in the game, Mountain Football went to work, sparked by a 52 yard kickoff return by Michael Lowder to set Tehachapi up with a short field in Taft territory. Four plays later, Marcus Curiel found the endzone on a seven yard run up the gut to give the Warriors a 23-20 lead with just under four minutes to go in the game.

Curiel finished with 97 yards on 15 carries in addition to the touchdown run, while Phil Rhodes had 106 yard rushing.

The Warrior defense stiffened on Taft's next possession, forcing a turnover on downs at the Taft 38-yard line. Levi Garrett then put the exclamation point on the league victory with a 36-yard quarterback keeper down the left sideline to secure the championship win.

Other stat leaders included Jorge Garcia with 49 yards on seven carries and Levi Garrett taking two attempts for 44 yards, including a 56 yard strike to Cory Lange in the first half.

The SSL champion Warriors will move on to the playoffs this Friday as the no.6 seed in Division II. Tehachapi will square off with no.11 seed West-Bakersfield this Friday night at Coy Burnett Field at 7 p.m. Full bracket information can be found by visiting www.thswarriors.com.

Should the Warriors win, they will face the winner of no.3 Sunnyside-Fresno and no.14 Tulare Western next week.

An old fashioned scrum takes place Friday night in Taft. The Warriors emerged with the
victory to capture another SSL school championship. Photo by Michael Duffy, The Tehachapi News.

Tehachapi Overcomes Taft Comeback
To Win SSL Title, 30-20

Posted November 13, 2010, by Tom Shea, The Bakersfield Californian

After going in to the locker room at halftime with a 17-6 lead, it appeared that the Warriors were on the doorstep of clinching the SSL championship with just two quarters to go.

However, Taft was not about to go away lightly, and the Warriors needed a late surge in the fourth quarter to pull out a 30-20 win on the road.

Taft’s Aaron Kolb helped Taft churn out over nine minutes of game clock to put the Wildcats back in the game, capping a 59-yard drive with a nine yard run to make the score 17-12.

After a fumble on the Warriors next possession, the Wildcats struck again with Kolb finding Watts for a 45 yard completion on fourth and long, setting up a first and goal on the three yard line and a chance for Taft's first lead.

Watts would connect one play later, punching in a three yard touchdown and the ensuing two-point conversion to put Taft up 20-17 with just over six minutes left in the game.

But down the stretch, the Warriors would respond with two touchdowns on their final two drives of the night to ice the game.

Michael Lowder provided the spark on the first score, taking a kickoff return 52 yards to set up a Marcus Curiel seven yard touchdown run. Levi Garrett would put the final nail in the coffin, taking a quarterback keeper 36 yards for a touchdown with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter.

Phil Rhodes led Tehachapi with 106 yards rushing while Curiel had 97 yards on the ground. Jorge Garcia also had two first-half touchdowns for the Warriors.

Luke Shelby led Taft with 10 receptions for 86 yards, while Watts had 132 combined yards rushing and receiving. Kolb finished the game going 15-23 for 166 yards.

1st2nd3rd 4thFinal
Tehachapi   0 17   0 13 30
Taft   6  0   0 14 20

The Scoring:

1st Quarter:

Taf - Watts 1 yard run (pass failed)

2nd Quarter:

Teh - Garcia 3 yard run (Farewell kick)
Teh - Garcia 7 yard run (Farewell kick)
Teh - Farewell 30 yard Field Goal

4th Quarter:

Taf - Kolb 9 yard run (pass failed)
Taf - Watts 3 yard run (Watts run)
Teh - Curiel 7 yard run (kick failed)
Teh - Garrett 36 yard run (Farewell kick)


First Downs1717
Rushes-Yards30-313 38-115
Passing Yards56 171
Comp-Att-Int1-4-0 16-24-0
Total Yards386 2864
PuntsN/A N/A
Penalties6-45 5-35

Individual Statistics:

RUSHING--Tehachapi: Rhodes 12-106, Curiel 15-97, Garrett 2-44, Garcia 7-49, Lowder 2-24, Timm 2-10;
Taft: Watts 24-71, Kolb 8-23, Rivera 3-18, Romo 2-4, Royal 1-(-1)

PASSING--Tehachapi: Garrett 1-4-0 56; Taft: Kolb 15-23-0 166; Royal 1-1-0 5

RECEIVING--Tehachapi: Lange 1-56; Taft: Shelby 10-86, Watts 3-61, Johnson 1-13, Howard 1-6, Kolb 1-5

Varsity – Tehachapi 9-1 (5-0 SSL), Taft 2-8 (2-3 SSL)

JV – Tehachapi 27 Taft 0
Frosh - Tehachapi 0 Taft 49