If you’re planning on visiting Tehachapi on Friday nights in the fall, or on certain days in the afternoon, don’t expect many places to be open or many people to be out and about.
Instead, they will be at Tehachapi High School or at Coy Burnett Stadium cheering on their Warriors.
Reminiscent of those small Texas or Midwestern towns in the movies, Tehachapi bleeds green and black and rallies behind the Warriors on game day, no matter what the sport is.
“The days are gone of the Friday night football where the whole town is there,” said Mike Heckahorn, the Tehachapi High track and cross country coach. “We’ve grown enough where we get a large amount of supporters. It’s not like it used to be in the '70s and '80s, but we still have strong support.”
OK, so it’s not quite the same as the movies — it is Hollywood, after all — but the little town in the mountain that is about two hours outside of it does have its own hometown pride.
The town’s most famous example is its football team. With 30 league titles and 11 section championships under their belts, Friday nights in the fall are definitely occupied for most people in town. The home games at Coy Burnett Stadium become a community event for fans of all ages to meet up with friends and family and just hang out while also supporting their Warriors.
“I don’t think it’s necessary overly fanatical but it’s definitely an exciting time for the community, a one high school town,” said Doug DeGeer, the current head coach for the Tehachapi football team.” There’s usually a lot of connections there with the kids that are playing on Friday nights. For everyone else it’s something to do for everyone to come together.”
Despite the tough 2018 campaign for the Warriors, who finished 2-8, they continue to have a solid fan base at home and on the road. The Warriors play the majority of their away games in Bakersfield, which is about 45 minutes away, and a fanbase always travels with them.
While the football team is the most popular squad in town, the recent success has come from the girls basketball and volleyball teams. The girls basketball team shared the league championship this past season, had a deep run in the Division II section playoffs and even picked up a win in the D-IV CIF State playoffs.
“One of the biggest things I’ve noticed in my tenure has been the girls side and how strong it has gotten with parental support and following the teams and letting people know who they are,” said Heckahorn.
The volleyball team also had a strong 2018 campaign and gave the town something to cheer for during the football woes in the fall.
“At the same time as football season we have volleyball going on and they have been top notch, they’ve had so much success,” said DeGeer.” They get a lot of support throughout the season.”
One benefit Tehachapi has as a small town is that a lot of alumni still live there, creating generations of Warriors. So if it's past Warriors, current players, or the future currently playing in Tehachapi’s youth leagues, there will always be support and pride for Tehachapi High sports.