The Warriors opened up their game against West with offensive precision and held back a late West surge in the fourth quarter to record a 34-29 win on the road last Friday night in Bakersfield.
Tehachapi (4-1) needed only six plays on their first series of the game to march 53 yards, capping the drive with a Jorge Garcia 17 yard touchdown run for a quick 7-0 lead. Garcia would go on to lead the Warriors in rushing with 122 yards on 17 attempts.
The next two series for Tehachapi would have similar output, with Barry Jones and Skylar Valencia finishing off touchdown drives to help the Warriors to a 21-6 advantage midway through the second quarter.
Jones’s touchdown was set up off a 28 yard catch by Ryan Flick from Bobby Howell and a Valencia 12 yard gain on fourth down deep in the West redzone. Valencia would spark the offense again on the next series after a Michael Contreras fumble recovery set up the Warriors with short field position. On the third drive, Valencia hauled in a diving 31 yard reception and ran in a three yard sweep for a score.
For the majority of the second half, Tehachapi’s attempt to pull away would be stymied by drive killing penalties, flagged for 13 infractions overall.
However, the Warriors would eventually put the game away with two more scoring runs by Jones and Valencia in the fourth quarter to go up 34-16 with just over six minutes remaining in the contest.
West would mount a comeback attempt in the game’s final minutes with a pair of touchdowns, but Mountain Football’s offense would bleed off the final four minutes of the fourth quarter to nix any chance for a Viking rally victory.
Howell recorded completions with three different receivers, finishing with 85 yards to Dakota Medovitch, Valencia and Flick. Valencia had 79 yards rushing and two scores and Jones had 77 yards on the ground and two touchdowns to help pace the running attack.
In special teams, Jeremy Duff went 4-5 in point after attempts and Blake Panek had a fly catch onside recovery late in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors will begin league play this week with a road contest against East Bakersfield. The game will mark the first time Tehachapi and East have faced off in a football game since 1956, when Tehachapi defeated the East jayvee squad 53-7. The last time Tehachapi and East played in varsity contest dates all the way back to 1940.
Nick Steele set the tone early right from the start of the contest against West this past Friday afternoon, taking the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in an eventual 27-17 victory for the Braves.
Tehachapi (3-1-1) was led in the ground game by Willy Urciel, who had 120 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown run, while Anthony Curiel also had a running score and Jerry Castaneda a five yard touchdown reception from Michael Piekarski.
Juan Cabrera also had an 11 yard reception in the game, while Nathan Collier had a drive saving fumble recovery on offense.
On defense, Piekarski was a standout, recording 11 tackles and a touchdown saving takedown with just over six minutes left in the game. Thomas Blewett also had six tackles and a pass deflection, Gabe Dodge five tackles, a sack and fumble recovery, and Larry Wiggins four tackles, a caused fumble and two pass deflections. Luke Poter also had a strong game with three solo tackles and a sack.
Steele also had four tackles on defense while Zach Allen, Mitchell Marquez and Colton Eaton had three tackles.
Steele led special teams with 147 yards in kick returns and Connor O’Neal went 3-4 on point after attempts.
The Indians offense exploded for their first victory of the season in a 34-20 victory over West.
Segun Gainey ran wild in the game, accounting for 172 yards rushing on 17 carries and two rushing scores, 65 yards receiving, 150 yards in kick return yards and a touchdown pass.
In special teams Daniel Wright had a standout performance, recording a punt block and recovery for a touchdown and another score off a reception from Gainey in a fake field goal attempt. Wright also had five tackles on defense and two receptions on offense for 27 yards. Aaron Vachon also excelled in special teams by going 4-5 on PATs.
Mikey Phillips had a 25 yard touchdown reception from Lars Olofson in the game, with Olofson finishing 5-7 for 108 yards passing. Noah Whitlach was the Indian’s second leading rusher with 44 yards on eight attempts.
Other defensive standouts for Tehachapi (1-3) included Ben Fleener with a game high seven tackles, and Jordan Hanbruge, Phillips, Kris Breedlove, Wyatt Jorgensen and Steven Garcia with five tackles each. Jake Salzman also recorded an interception.