As the charming voices of 6-year-old Sierra Scott and sister 5-year-old Summer filled the hearts of sports fans singing our nation's anthem Saturday at the fields of the Tomahawks, Tehachapi celebrated lives, concluded seasons and battled for contention for post-season games.
Hosting games to Central out of Bakersfield, the day started off in celebration of the life of fellow coach Todd “Skeet” Le Jander, of Central, who tragically passed on Oct. 14. Around the black and gold, a flicker of blue honored the man who impacted the lives of young athletes for more than two decades and will be greatly missed.
In a close 6-7 battle, freshman Tomahawks took the field following the half with fight and intent. Though playing tough on defense, a few errors allowed Central to score and with an offense unable to gain positive yards in the second half, Tomahawks finished their regular season games in loss 6 to Central 19.
Concluding their regular season, sophomore Tomahawks remained on edge during all four quarters of play as Central advanced for the win in less than a minute remaining in game.
“That was a great game by both teams. To lose a game like that with under a minute to play is heartbreaking,” said head coach Jeremiah Brus. “This one hurt.”
As the scoreboard read 7-7 in the final minute of the forth, a Central quarterback stepped back for a deep pass to receiver for the final score Central 13, Tomahawks 7.
Heading into the ninth game of regular season, second -lace junior varsity Tomahawks had much more on the line as they fought for playoff position and the first-place title.
“Today we played well on offense, but struggled early on defense,” said head coach Larry Root. “The boys (defense) stepped up at crucial times with a goal line stop and 87-yard interception for a touchdown by Karson Tiewater.”
Moving onto playoffs, junior varsity Tomahawks wrapped up regular season with a 31-13 win over Central, division tie for first place and 8-1 record.
Tehachapi Tomahawks honored a man, mentor, former TYF athlete and coach dedicating 30 years of passion and love of a sport to countless young Tehachapi athletes, varsity head coach and GEYF area representative Brian Copus. Playing in 1979 and returning to the field as a coach in 1988, Copus led his team into its final regular season game Saturday.
“We played hard but gave up too many big plays on special teams,” head coach Copus said.
Playing for contention in post-season playoff games, in the final minute of the forth, Tomahawks led 15-12. With fans on their feet, in what seemed like déjà vu, Central aired out a pass to receiver for a touchdown. With time expiring, varsity ended its regular season with a 15-18 loss to Central and wait to hear if post-season games will become reality.
As RST Cranes lowered the great American flag, so generously gracing our fields throughout the season, the Tomahawks put an end to its regular season. Games are not yet over, with some moving into post-season playoffs and others into consolation games. Tomahawks will release its post-season schedule as it becomes available in the upcoming week on its Facebook page, Tehachapi Youth Football and Cheer.
Jenn Michael is Tehachapi Youth Football's director of off field operations.