Tuesday, Aug 12 2014 02:42 PM

Mountain Football Preview: Pre-season schedule

Over the next few weeks, we will break down the Warriors football schedule for 2014.

First on the docket is look at the pre-season games for Tehachapi. Next week will be an analysis of the Warriors new transition to the South Yosemite League (Independence, East, Golden Valley, Ridgeview and West).

Below is a breakdown of the pre-season games scheduled for Tehachapi this year.

South-Bakersfield & Taft at Tehachapi (Scrimmage) -- Aug. 22

Tehachapi opens up the year with a tri-league scrimmage with South and Taft at Coy Burnett Field. It was a memorable season for the Rebels last fall, earning a SYL tri-championship with West and Ridgeview before bowing out of the playoffs with a loss to eventual CIF Division III champion Dinuba. South will have some big shoes to fill from a handful of departing seniors that include Johnnie Dirden, Asonte Johnson, Keith Evans, Chris Garcia, Evan Holmes and Ken Martinez, who all collectively accounted for virtually all of the Rebels rushing yards and TDs last season.

South does, however, return Teddy Castellon, who was second on the team in reception yardage and had two scores last season against Arvin and West. Taft will bring a renewal of an old SSL rivalry from the recent past, with the Warriors and Wildcats having some memorable matchup's in the early 2000s. The first eight seasons starting in 2000, Tehachapi and Taft went 4-4 against each other, trading wins each respective season. Recently, the Warriors won the last five meetings from 2007 to 2011. The new-look Wildcats return top running back Joseph Sanchez (756 yards rushing, 6 TDs) and inside linebacker Gage Gonzales (55 tackles, four sacks) to a very competitive pre-season and SSL slate.

Opponent's 2013 Record: South -- 8-3 (3-1 South Yosemite League); Taft -- 4-6 (2-4 South Sequoia League)

Opponent's Top Player Returning: South - #15 Teddy Castellon - Senior (187 yards receiving, 2 TDs); Taft - #20 Joseph Sanchez -- Senior (756 yards rushing, 6 TDs.

Game Times: Varsity (7 p.m.), Junior Varsity and Freshmen (5 p.m., split field)

Last Season: No Score - Scrimmage

All-Time Series Record: South -- Tehachapi leads 2-0; Taft -- Tehachapi leads 18-12-1

Foothill at Tehachapi -- Aug 29

It really was a tough-go for Foothill last season for first-year head coach Jason Oliver and the Trojans. Facing a league that already had perennial contenders Garces and Tehachapi, Foothill was faced with a depth concern with only 36 reported players on the roster at the season's start. That number dwindled even further over the course of the season due to various reasons, but the Trojans still remained resilient. Quarterback Randy Rodriguez (246 passing yards) is expected to return for Foothill on offense, while linebacker Michael Evaro (30 tackles, interception, fum rec) and lineman Joseph Fonceca (20 tackles) will return to lead the defense.

Opponent's 2013 Record: 1-9 (0-5 Southeast Yosemite League)

Opponent's Top Player Returning: #3 Randy Rodriguez -- Senior (246 passing yards, 2 TDs); #35 Michael Evaro -- Senior (30 Tackles, 1 Int, 1 fum rec)

Game Times: Varsity (7:30 p.m.), Junior Varsity (5 p.m.), Freshmen (5 p.m. -- Thursday)

Last Season: Tehachapi won 49-7

All-Time Series Record: Tehachapi leads 9-1

Tehachapi at Burroughs-Ridgecrest -- Sept. 5

You got to tip your hat to head coach Todd Mather and Burroughs, which the past four years has made great strides with the Burros' program. They appear to be on the edge of title form, evident by just missing out on a league championship last fall in a one-point heartbreaker to champ Victor Valley. This year, along with scheduling the Warriors, Coach Mather has gladly accepted Garces' open invitation for a pre-season game. Burroughs might have dodged a bullet against the Rams with the departure of Sheldon Croney to Ridgeview, but make no mistake, a win against a talented and disciplined Garces squad will mark another significant milestone and could provide much-needed momentum in their DYL title hopes. But before Burros can focus on Garces, they have the Warriors, which will mark a battle of the top two teams in East Kern County. This game has the potential to be one of the most exciting games on THS's schedule, as recent history has proven. Even though the Warriors have won the last five meetings, the average margin of victory was just over a touchdown (9.4 points). Running back Adan Pena (327 yards, 3 TDs) is expected to get a lot of carries for Burroughs while Biggie Hernandez (292 yards receiving, 3 TDs) is anticipated to be the main receiving target. Safety Tommy Hope (44 tackles) and linebacker Kevin Burgess (36 tackles) are also returning.

Opponent's 2013 Record: 5-6 (4-1 Desert Sky League)

Opponent's Top Player Returning: #3 Adan Pena -- Senior (327 yards rushing, 3 TDs); #9 Dominque 'Biggie' Hernandez -- Senior (292 yards receiving, 3 TDs)

Game Times: Varsity (7 p.m.), Freshman (4:30 p.m.), Junior Varsity (4:30 p.m. -- Thursday)

Last Season: Tehachapi won 25-13

All-Time Series Record: Tehachapi leads 14-8

Tehachapi at Centennial -- Sept. 12

Of all of the teams that Tehachapi has played in their storied history, Centennial has certainly left a lasting impression despite only two meetings with the Warriors back-to-back in the 90's. The Golden Hawks dealt the Warriors one of their most stinging losses of that era during the 1994 season, when Centennial upset defending CIF Champion Tehachapi, 28-20, in the league finale. The win by the Golden Hawks (who had an all-junior/sophomore team due to being a brand new school) knocked THS out of a share of the SSL title with Garces and a playoff berth. The next year, with the entire CHS squad returning, the Golden Hawks muscled their way to a 50-14 blowout win on the mountain. But that was then, and this is now. Both teams feature two of the top head coaches in the valley, with Centennial's Kevin Sneed in remission from throat cancer and looking to be available full-time to guide his team to a possible SWYL title. He will have plenty of horses in the stable to potentially do just that, with dynamo running back Brandon Robinson (1,216 yards and 13 TDs) and quarterback Andrew Hansen (786 yards passing, 7 TDs) returning along with talented lineman Brandon Stout, Cole Henneberry and Mason Grantz. Overall, look for Centennial to be Tehachapi's stiffest test in the pre-season and without a doubt the must-watch game of September.

Opponent's 2013 Record: 5-6 (2-3 Southwest Yosemite League)

Opponent's Top Player Returning: #24 Bandon Robinson -- Junior (1,216 yards, 13 TDs); #12 Andrew Hansen -- Senior (786 yards, 7 TDs)

Game Times: Varsity (7:30 p.m.), Junior Varsity (5 p.m.), Freshmen (5 p.m. -- Thursday)

Last Season: Teams did not play (last meeting was in 1995, won by CHS 50-14)

All-Time Series Record: Centennial leads 2-0

Arvin at Tehachapi -- Sept. 19

Last year stated off with promise for the Bears, forging ahead to a 2-0 record with wins over Yosemite league teams Highland and Foothill. But after a pair of blowout losses to South (43-23) and Tehachapi (51-7), momentum slowed heading into a very difficult South Sequoia League. Despite the tough schedule, Arvin held their own, battling every game in the SSL with exception to their final two meetings against perennial league powers Wasco (42-14) and state championship runner-up Bakersfield Christian (56-7). Arvin will be much better in 2014, spearheaded by the return of top running back Derek Adams (631 yards rushing 334 yards special teams, 6 TDs). Leading receiver Julio Ruiz also returns to the lineup for the Bears.

Opponent's 2013 Record: 4-6 (2-4 South Sequoia League)

Opponent's Top Player Returning: #5 Derek Adams -- Senior (631 yards rushing, 6 TDs)

Game Times: Varsity (7:30 p.m.), Junior Varsity (5 p.m.), Freshmen (5 p.m. -- Thursday)

Last Season: Tehachapi won 51-7

All-Time Series Record: Tehachapi leads 19-4

North at Tehachapi -- Oct. 3

In what was a league matchup the previous two seasons, the league shift and realignment has North remaining in the SEYL and Tehachapi moving up to the SYL. But the two programs will still meet in the pre-season as a final game tune-up to each teams' respective league schedule. Last year, North and THS became very familiar with each other, playing in both the regular season and the playoffs. Both matchups were easily won by the Warriors, but do not bank on a walkover this time around with some talented North players set to return. Heading the class will be quarterback Steven Twiss, who threw for 543 yards last season and rushed for 480 yards and four touchdowns. Standout linebacker Joe Rodgers also returns, having led the team with 79 total tackles last year. In fact, three of the Stars top four defensive players from last season are back, with defensive lineman Jacob Delaware (41 tackles, 3.5 sacks) and linebacker Donnie Swann (31 tackles, two fumble recoveries) also returning. THS will be coming in fresh off a bye week for this game, and that should certainly help.

Opponent's 2013 Record: 4-7 (3-2 Southeast Yosemite League)

Opponent's Top Player Returning: #18 Steven Twiss -- Senior (1,023 total yards, 4 TDs), #44 Joe Rogers -- Junior (79 tackles)

Game Times: Varsity (7:30 p.m.), Junior Varsity (5 p.m.), Freshmen (5 p.m. -- Thursday)

Last Season: Tehachapi won 42-7 (regular season); Tehachapi won 33-7 (playoffs)

All-Time Series Record: Tehachapi leads 6-1

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