The Tehachapi Warriors surrendered a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter and struggled moving the football offensively as they lost their preseason finale 35-7 Friday night to the Garces Rams at Sam Tobias Field.
The win for the Rams meant the return of the Ogilvie Trophy to Garces in the annual rivalry game. The Warriors had claimed the trophy, named after longtime Tehachapi and Garces coach Gary Ogilvie, last season with an overtime win in Tehachapi. This year neither the drama, nor the results, were there for Tehachapi.
“Our kids played hard tonight, and we had a lot of improvement from last week, but we were just not consistent on the offensive side of the ball,” said Tehachapi head coach Doug DeGeer. “We put the defense on the field too many times and it really hurt us. We are starting to clean things up and hopefully we’ll get healthy going into league play.”
Tehachapi, playing with a limited roster thanks to a host of injuries, fell behind early when Garces scored just two minutes into the game on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Joseph Campbell to Jack Hatten. The Warriors went three and out on their first two offensive drives before Garces scored with just 1:41 left in the first quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by Jalen Smith.
The second quarter didn’t see much reprieve for the Warriors defense as Garces scored on their first possession of the frame after a 45-yard scramble by Campbell set up a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nicolas Lopez to give the Rams a 21-0 lead. Tehachapi would keep Garces off the scoreboard for the remainder of the half, but their own drive stalled late when THS quarterback Chris Garcia went down with a brief injury. Garcia did return for the second half.
Tehachapi’s first drive of the second half resulted in a punt but the Warriors would score on defense on Garces’ first possession as Trent Adams recovered a fumble and ran it in from 10 yards out to pull Tehachapi within 21-7 with 9:51 left in the third quarter. The Warriors, however, would give up another touchdown on the following Garces drive as Smith punched in a four-yard touchdown run for the Rams.
Tehachapi played without several starting players including offensive tackle Logan Smith and running back Hayden Palmer. Tanner Love, who had been injured in week one but returned last week against Highland, played only the first half for Tehachapi.
The Warriors will have a week off from game action before returning home to host Independence to start South Yosemite League play. The Falcons are 3-2 following a 33-24 win over Frontier Friday night. Independence will also have a bye this coming week.
For the Warriors, they are 1-4 for the third-straight season following their non-league schedule. DeGeer not only hopes for similar turnarounds like the previous seasons that led to SYL championships, but also healthy recoveries for several guys nursing injuries following non-league play.
“Bye week will be big for us,” DeGeer said. “We are hopeful that a couple of our running backs and receivers will be back come league.”
Tehachapi fell to 1-4 with a 31-0 loss at Garces in the early game Friday evening. The Braves will be off next week before hosting Independence at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 at Coy Burnett Stadium.
The freshmen Indians struggled on offense falling 27-0 on Thursday at Garces. The Indians (0-5), look for their first win on Thursday, Sept. 27, when they host Independence at 5 p.m.