When the Tehachapi Warriors football team took a 36-0 loss at the hands of Burroughs in the debut of new head coach Doug DeGeer, it was a tough night. As I told one of my friends in the media covering the game, "This is a character game for Doug. This will be a good thing.”
“What do you mean by that?” he asked.
I went on to explain that they now had one week to get ready for Garces, and that the new head coach was going to find out a lot about the character of his kids based on how they bounced back from the loss and prepared for arguably their biggest rival at home. It’s easy to conduct business as usual when you’re winning, but it’s the losses that expose more about both a team’s strengths and weaknesses. A good coach knows that, and we have a good coach.
I believe coach DeGeer and the rest of us learned plenty about the character of his team after Friday night’s 28-27 win over Garces. It was the first win for the Warriors over Garces since 2010 and one which also relocated the Ogilvie Trophy to its rightful home on the mountain.
In terms of rivalry games, this one had everything. Close score, big plays, missed opportunities and, in the end, special teams play won the day. Gotta love fall, gotta love Mountain Football and a good rivalry.
It looked like a different team from the week before. Again, character shined through. Running backs ran harder, linemen blocked better, linebackers hit harder, hearts were bigger, and in the end the results were better.
For those who might have given up after week one, given a noticeably smaller crown on the home side, you probably might want to reconsider. There’s some character on that field, and in the end, the character and the heart of a team paves the way for success. It always has up here and it always will. Talent comes and goes.
There is plenty of talent this season. Connor Timm rushed for more than 150 yards in the win, scored a touchdown and set up the touchdown in overtime with a beautiful sweep to the left that eventually led to Garrett Curry bouncing a run to the outside and into pay dirt. Curry, by the way, could be my new favorite Warrior. At one point during Friday’s game it took the entire Garces defense to bring him down, after he moved the pile of tacklers 10 yards. If Dr. Frankenstein were to collect a bunch of spare parts from running backs and linebackers with a couple pieces from the offensive line thrown in, his end-result would be Garrett Curry.
The win was big; there’s no doubt about that. Given the extremely tough nature of Tehachapi’s schedule this season, the win came just at the right time, not only following a loss, but with another pair of private school opponents on the horizon things will get more-difficult moving forward.
It was also win number one for the new head coach. Doug DeGeer earned his first win over Garces of all teams. That’s one win he’ll never forget. His team also earned their first win of the season, and a passing grade when it comes to their character. As if we should ever have any doubt that there’s ever a shortage of that around here.
It’s just the Warrior way.
Corey Costelloe has covered the NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. A THS graduate, he now resides and works in Tehachapi. He can be reached at email@example.com.