The beauty of time, and the calendar for that matter, is that it moves on. It puts history in the past and creates the foundation for something new. A renewal on an annual basis, the ability to not look back and dwell on shortcomings is a characteristic of champions.
I mention these things because the journey for the 2019 Tehachapi High School football season gets underway this week with spring practice. This comes on the heels of the release of the 2019 Warriors' schedule. As I mentioned before, it's the roadmap to a new chapter, because I’m willing, as are many others, to simply leave the 2018 campaign in the rearview.
Unfortunately for the Warrior faithful, the schedule is light on home games. Tehachapi will be home for just four regular-season games in 2019 — one in August, one in September, and two in October. They’ll start on the road at Wasco, although not as early as the game against the Tigers last year, a scheduling flaw that actually cost THS more practice time than anything. This year they’ll officially open their season on Aug. 23 up Highway 99.
The few home games, however, are hopefully stadium-packers. History will be made when for the first time ever Bakersfield High School comes to Tehachapi to take on the Warriors on Aug. 30. Last season was just the second time these two teams met at the varsity level. While I prefer to not think about last year, the Drillers are in a new era, having recently lost their head coach to Garces and as his replacement giving alum Michael Stewart his first crack at head coaching. Anything can happen this early in the season, especially with new leadership at the helm.
After a pair of games at Taft and Highland, Tehachapi will return to host aforementioned Garces in the battle for the Ogilvie Trophy on Sept. 20. Garces is now led by former BHS head coach Paul Golla, a master motivator at the public-school level. Those of us who understand the dynamics of the two schools wonder if his style will translate to these vastly different surroundings. No matter who is at the helm, last season’s game left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and it’s time to bring that trophy back and some respect with it.
Tehachapi opens South Yosemite League play on the road at Independence the following week and after a bye plays at Bakersfield Christian on Oct. 11. The outlook for the SYL is simple; Tehachapi is expected to be greatly under-estimated given their one league win in 2018. This sort of mental advantage has the makings for a promising year if used properly. The Warriors finally see home turf in league play on Oct. 18 when they host Golden Valley for homecoming and again on the 25th when they host Ridgeview, which always has the makings for a classic.
The final regular season game sees Tehachapi at West on Nov. 1, and then I’m going to leave a few dates open for home playoffs games after that. While it’s far too early to write a full preview about this team in 2019, early reports indicate a renewed excitement, some changes for sure on both sides of the ball and even on the coaching staff.
Doug DeGeer returns for his third season at the helm and he’s had the chance to experience both the highs of his first season and a league championship, and the lows of a historically poor 2018. It’s now his time to put his stamp on the program; I’m confident he will.
So, while spring practice continues over the next several weeks, we will see the foundation for a new chapter, the makings of new history presenting themselves. This season I’m taking the words of Winston Churchill to heart: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”
That I do, and I can’t wait for the story it will tell.
Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. A THS graduate, he now resides in Tehachapi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed are his own.