TAFT — The offense stalled, the defense struggled, and the lights literally went out on the Tehachapi Warriors Friday night in Taft (2-1) as Tehachapi dropped to 0-3 following a 34-12 loss to the Wildcats at Martin Memorial Stadium.
Before the first snap of the second half with Tehachapi trailing 21-6, the stadium lights went dark, causing a 20-minute delay — unfortunately for Tehachapi they came back on and Taft added two more touchdowns to claim their first win over the Warriors since 2006.
Tehachapi moved the ball but struggled putting points on the board with several drives stalling inside the Taft 25-yard line,and those missed opportunities were enough to allow the Wildcats to move the ball themselves both on the ground and in the air for big plays and a home victory. The Warriors scored first in the contest with Trent Adams intercepting a Taft pass on the Tehachapi 15-yard line, then on offense he was on the receiving end of a 75-yard Max Meza touchdown pass to give Tehachapi a 6-0 lead.
Taft would then take control, first scoring on a two-yard run touchdown run by Chad Berry that was set up following a 4th and 15 conversion by the Wildcats in Tehachapi territory. Big plays would be a mainstay of the Taft offense as on the following possession Berry scored on a 27-yard sweep before Taft added one more score in the half’s final minute as Garrett Jeffries connected with Jacob Ellis for a 90-yard scored and a 21-6 halftime lead.
Following the light outage in the second half, Tehachapi had a 10-play drive stall at the Taft 10-yard line and a similar situation occur the following position as the Wildcat secondary made several touchdown-saving pass deflections to hold the Warriors without points in the red zone once again. Taft then combined a big play from their own 15-yard line with a Tehachapi facemask to move the ball to the Warriors 5-yard line before Bryce Veach punched in the score to give Taft a 28-6 lead. The Wildcats then added another big play as Berry scored on a 60-yard run to put Taft up 34-6 following a missed two-point conversion.
Tehachapi’s Meza and Adams would connect once again on a 76-yard touchdown pass for the Warriors’ final score of the evening with 6:46 left. Tehachapi also had a field goal blocked late in the third quarter and time expired as they marched to the Taft five-yard line.
Along with the offenses’ inability to convert scoring opportunities, the defensive woes continued for Tehachapi, who have now allowed their opponents 128 points in the first three games of the season.
The Warriors, still seeking their first win of the season, continue play on the road at Highland on Sept. 13. The Scots (2-1) fell 28-16 at Robert F. Kennedy in Delano on Friday night.
Junior Varsity: Taft 7, Tehachapi 6
The Braves had plenty of opportunities in the red zone as well but came away with only one touchdown and a missed extra point as Taft scored late on a long touchdown pass to secure the home win. Tehachapi (0-3) will be at Highland on Friday night.
Freshmen: Tehachapi 34, Arvin 0
Hosting Arvin on Thursday, Sept. 5, as Taft does not have a freshmen team, Tehachapi rolled to their second win of the season over the Bears. The Indians will be back on the same schedule this week as their upper-level counterparts as they travel to Highland Thursday afternoon.