Did you feel it, Tehachapi? Maybe you heard it howling through the quiet of the night? Saturday, Oct. 19, at approximately 8:35 p.m., if you were feeling the earth shake or your ears sensed unfamiliar vibrations, what you experienced was the radiating effects from the deafening roar of voices and foot pounding of aluminum bleachers, an eruption from family and friends of the varsity Tehachapi Tomahawks.
In what proved to be one of the most thrilling games of the season, the Tomahawks put on quite the show away at Golden Valley High School in the second half of their game against the Bullpups of Bakersfield. With both teams tied for third place and the playoff seeding at stake, the first half of play was bit of an undertaking for the Tomahawks.
Tehachapi offense took first strike with a long run by No. 34 AJ Anderson, but as if trading punches, the Bullpups matched it and the battle begun. A slugfest between defenses, Tehachapi went into the half chasing the Bullpups 12 to 22. Making some halftime adjustments, the Tomahawks launched into the second half with new mental and physical strengths not seen in the first two quarters.
Bullpups offensively were unsuccessful as the Tomahawk defense kept them from re-entering their end zone. With defense shutting down the Bullpups, Tehachapi offense found their rhythm and yard after yard the Tomahawks closed in on the points gap. Early in the 4th, Tomahawks fought themselves back into the lead with 26 points on the board. In the final minute of the game, Bullpups offense had last opportunity and ball in possession, with the pressure of the defense looming and the thunderous chants of the crowd, Bullpups quarterback stepped back for a long pass, unknowing that his pass would be short and fall to the hands of No. 50 Hoben Hoge.
Hoge and defense ran as one victorious into their end zone as the clock would run down to zero.
“Today was a great team win! The team rallied together,” head coach Rod Michael said. “I have to say, it was probably one of the most exciting games to coach and I am super proud of all the boys fight and the good old mountain football mentality of never giving up until the final whistle.”
Big plays on offense included: No. 34 AJ Anderson running for 141 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 extra point conversions. Quarterback No. 8 Jacob Root threw for 83-yards and 1 touchdown. No. 2 Karson Tiewater for 1 touchdown pass. No. 12 Jacob Betancourt with a 62-yard touchdown reception. No. 15 Juan Parra 15-yard reception. The dominating defense included; No. 34 AJ Anderson for 10 tackles, No. 89 Caleb Songer for 6.5 tackles, No. 4 Mike Jones for 5.5 tackles and 1 interception, No. 50 Hoben Hoge 3.5 tackles and 2 interceptions, No. 5 Ty’rion Davis for 4 tackles, No. 78 Christopher Paepke for 5.5 tackles and 1 sack, No. 32 Sebastian Peel 3.5 tackles and 1 sack, finally No. 81 Lyrik Brentham for 1 sack. The final score for the Tehachapi Tomahawks 32, Bullpups 22.
In the game prior, junior varsity Tomahawks took to field against the Bullpups. Tehachapi defense set the tone and the offense cashed in on it with touchdown after touchdown. The games announcer had a difficult time deciphering which Tomahawk had made tackles and caught himself repeating the term “a swarm of Tomahawks in on the tackle,” which describes the junior varsity defense nicknamed Killer Bees perfectly.
The defense was led in tackles by No. 22 Ruben Sedano, No. 42 Liddon Scott and an interception by No. 26 Carter Kolesar. Offensively the Tomahawks were led by QB No. 17 Moose Brus who went 11/14 passing for 222-yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiving was led by No. 88 Devin Jackson with 5 receptions for 118-yards and 2 touchdowns and No. 11 Gabe Sipes with 4 receptions for 93-yards. No. 22 Ruben Sedano led the team on the ground with 9 carries for 70-yards and a touchdown. No. 27 Peter Cusimano, No. 24 Adrian Pina and No. 40 Logan Miles all got in the endzone with a touchdown a piece.
“It was another great effort by our boys and all of us as JV coaches are super proud of how well this team has come together and played great all season,” head coach Larry Root said. Tomahawks defeated the Bullpups 45-6.
Earlier in the day, sophomore Tomahawks kicked off the events for Tehachapi, which would lead to the clean sweep of victories on the field of Golden Valley. With only one loss in the season, the young team set forth with one goal in mind, to continue a winning momentum into their playoff season.
“The kids are working like a machine, all of them working together as one unit,” said assistant coach Jeremy Smith. The Tomahawk offense was no match to the defense of the Bullpups.
Center No. 75 Brody Nylander, leading the offensive line and with key blocks by No. 62 Christian Tapia, allowed for No. 28 Roland Pina, No. 42 Mikey Michael and No. 3 Tristan Smith to find their way into the endzone. Special teams set tempo with a successful onside kick by No. 39 Jorge Garcia recovered by No. 28 Roland Pina and later managed another successful onside kick recovered by No. 71 Kaylee Brus.
“Our defense continues to put in work,” assistant coach Cameron King said. Holding the Bullpups to no score in the game, stepping up for commanding Tomahawk defense, No. 11 Kai Napier, No. 21 Kayson Cerbantez and No. 5 Nolan Feliciano. No. 12 Colton Michael was able to pick up the team's first interception for a touchdown in the season.
“After all their hard work, these kids deserve to be 7-1! We hope to bring our all come playoffs,” head coach Cesar Meza said. This young talented sophomore team celebrated with a 43 to 0 win over the Bullpups.
The freshmen Tomahawks fought the hard fight in a cross-conference game against the Spartans of Bakersfield, but came up short, losing 0 to 50.
All four divisions of Tomahawk football move into post season playoff action. Freshmen and varsity divisions will play Saturday, Oct. 26. Sophomore and junior varsity enter post season with a bye week. Games to be announced. You can find all Tomahawk updates by visiting Facebook at Tehachapi Youth Football & Cheer.
Jenn Michael is Tehachapi Youth Football's director of off field operations.