It was once said youth football would not survive in Tehachapi. Boy was that proven to be very wrong.

When Leroy White took to the challenge, four other men — Mike Ricker, Grant Snyder, Morris Grantham and Lee White Jr. — stood by his side. In 1977, teams took to the field, starting a 40-year tradition, still strong today, Tehachapi Tomahawks.

Fast forward to Aug. 26, 2017. The Tomahawks got off to a strong start in its 40th season against Central out of Bakersfield. Tomahawks freshmen started off the day with a 9-0 victory, followed by a crushing 40-0 shutout for the sophomores. Tomahawks junior varsity fought a hard fight, but ended up falling short 0-25, while varsity celebrated their 32-0 defeat to Central.

In addition to honoring 40 years of football, Tomahawks gave thanks to all those past and present who have provided support to the organization. Special recognition was given to the Benz family, which established the fields for the youth of Tehachapi years ago.

The first live performance of the national anthem was sung by a young and talented Rihana Medina. Harvey Hall and representatives of Hall Ambulance presented the organization with the life-saving device of an AED, followed by the first official coin toss of the day.

In celebration, the Tomahawks will be hosting a 40th Anniversary ALUMNI Flag Football Game at the fields of TYF Oct. 1. For more details, visit www.facebook.com/tehachapiyouthfootballandcheer. Register online www.eventbrite.com – Tomahawk Alumni Game.

Jenn Michael is Tehachapi Youth Football's director of off field operations.