In the first-ever meeting between the two programs in Tehachapi, the Bakersfield High School Drillers learned a fact well-known among other teams in Kern County: The Tehachapi Warriors don’t roll over for any opponent on the Mountain, no matter the name on the jersey or history that comes with it.
BHS took advantage of both depth and big plays to take control of the second half in a 49-20 win over the Warriors.
The Drillers (1-1) clung to just a 21-14 halftime lead after being stunned by both a defensive score from the Warriors and a 73-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter as Tehachapi (0-2) kept it close with the CIF Division I powerhouse.
Despite the loss, Tehachapi head coach Doug DeGeer and the Warriors were optimistic about what they saw Friday night and the road ahead.
“With as many guys as we had down this week, we definitely played well in a lot of the different parts of the game tonight,” he said. “If we could have been more consistent on both sides of the ball a lot more good things could have happened, and we could have hung with them longer.”
The Drillers special teams made a huge impact early in the game, returning a fumble 20 yards for the game’s first touchdown and a 7-0 lead. BHS then scored on their next drive, connecting on a 54-yard screen pass from Ricky Easterwood to Wesley Wilson to extend the lead to 14-0.
Tehachapi then managed to pressure the Drillers defensively by not only slowing their offense, but also forcing a special-teams mistake. Pinned deep in their own territory and facing a punt on fourth down, the Drillers snapped the ball into the endzone where it was recovered by Tehachapi’s Max Meza for the touchdown. The Warriors missed the extra point and trailed 14-6.
BHS didn’t wait long to answer when on the next play from scrimmage Wilson scurried 60 yards for a touchdown and 21-6 lead. Tehachapi had one more haymaker in their pocket and connected on a 73-yard touchdown pass from Meza to Trent Adams, who beat two BHS defenders for the jump ball and broke a tackle on his way to the endzone. Tehachapi converted on the two-point conversion and cut the lead to 21-14 at the half.
The Drillers took control of the second half, however, scoring on an Aaron Paredez 11-yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the half and returning Tehachapi’s first punt of the third quarter for a 45-yard touchdown. They would add another 40-yard touchdown pass from Easterwood to Wilson with just over four minutes left in the frame and following an interception that was returned to the Tehachapi one-yard line, capped the quarter with a one-yard Devontay Bell touchdown run for a 49-14 lead.
Tehachapi would add one more score late in the fourth when Max Meza scored on a seven-yard quarterback keeper. Meza, starting his second game for THS, was much more effective at quarterback and accounted for all three Tehachapi scores: the fumble recovery, touchdown pass and touchdown run. Meza also threw a pair of interceptions and Tehachapi, who had five turnovers last week, had three total this week while BHS had two turnovers in the win.
Despite the loss, the Warriors were encouraged by their competitiveness against a powerhouse program like Bakersfield High School.
“Potential is a dangerous thing; you’ve got to work hard to make it a reality, it’s got to be consistent,” DeGeer said. “We want to be boring, we want to just do all the little things correctly and just let it play out the way it’s supposed to play out and we’re still trying to learn to do that...if we can do that we’ll be a good football team.”
The Warriors play the next two weeks on the road; they’ll be at Taft on Sept. 6 and Highland on Sept. 13 before returning to host Garces on Sept. 20.
Junior Varsity Braves: Bakersfield 33, Tehachapi 6
The Braves held the Roughnecks close for two quarters, tying the game in the second quarter on a 62-yard touchdown pass to Tylar Love. However, those would be the last points of the game for Tehachapi as BHS returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a score and scored three more times in the second half on a pair of touchdown passes and an interception return.
The Braves play at Taft on Friday at 5 p.m.
Tehachapi fell 40-0 to Bakersfield in Thursday’s home opener. The Indians are now 1-1 on the season. They will continue their non-league schedule at home this Thursday hosting Arvin at Coy Burnett Stadium at 5 p.m.