Temperatures during preseason youth football left the fields of the Tomahawks vacant. The heatwave of the Kern Valley determined the fate of practices. Player safety is of highest concern for the Tehachapi Tomahawks, as well as its affiliated organization, Golden Empire Youth Football. With the soaring temperatures of the summer, athletes all around anxiously awaited opportunities to hit the field.

With temperatures now cooling and practices in motion, mountain football is in full swing for 2018 for the Tehachapi Tomahawks.

Aug. 25 kicked off the first of eight home games in the season, welcoming the Cardinals of Bakersfield. With the stars and stripes flying high above, the young and talented Rihana Medina delivered a stunning performance of our nation's anthem.

Freshmen Tomahawks took to field in what would be the first competition for many.

“The boys came out and fought hard,” said head coach Rod Michael. In a back and forth battle of turnovers, the Cardinals kept the Tomahawks scoreless, 21-0.

“We had some positive moments we can build on. We will hit it hard in the coming week and grow stronger from our mistakes," the coach said.

First-year head coach Jeremiah Brus led his young sophomore team onto the field, but fell short in a 0-28 loss.

“Credit goes to the Cardinals; they played a great game,” Brus humbly said. “We were never able to get into a rhythm on offense, which put our defense in bad spots the whole game.”

Dominating were the junior varsity Tomahawks. Returning players from last year's sophomore super bowl championship team, returning juniors and fresh new faces, proved to be the right combination with an impressive first score of 35-0.

“Our team didn’t budge much on defense, only giving up a couple Cardinal first downs and under 50 yards total led by (A.J.) Anderson, (Mike) Jones and (Karson) Tiewater each with five tackles, (Dillon) Kerr an interception and (Hayden) Michael with a sack and fumble recovery,” said head coach Larry Root. “The offense only sputtered a couple of times but managed to deliver more than 200 rushing yards and 30 yards in the air, with credit given to the offensive line.”

As the day's main event approached, the crowd was taken back by the angelic voice of Aubrey McDonald, singing the national anthem for our varsity match-up.

Limited in numbers, not falling short to size of heart were the varsity Tomahawks. With an impressive first showing and fight until the end, they left the field heads high through a 0-8 loss.

Don’t miss out on the action. Follow the teams on Facebook at Tehachapi Youth Football and Cheer. The next game will be at the fields of TYFC at Benz Visco Youth Sports Park, Saturday, Sept. 1. Games to start at 10 a.m.

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