It was a tale of two halves for both teams in the final South Yosemite League game of the season.
Both Tehachapi (1-9; 1-4 SYL) and West (4-6; 2-3 SYL) could not find any offensive rhythm in the first half, collectively recording four turnover-on-downs and three fumbles that resulted in turnovers. Then the second half came, where five drives by both teams resulted in touchdowns. The Vikings ended with the edge in total scores, 3-2, to record a 20-14 victory over the Warriors.
A strong performance by the Tehachapi defensive line, which included Brian Morse, Dylan Siemon, Antonio Garcia, Brandon Birka and Malik McClendon, helped keep the West running attack in check for the majority of the first half. Tehachapi forced three turnovers on downs and a fumble recovery by Zach King to close out the second quarter. Both teams entered halftime scoreless, 0-0.
Siemon and McClendon continued to perform well on West’s first drive of the second half, recording a sack apiece near midfield, but a pair of 15-yard personal foul penalties helped spark the Vikings deep in Tehachapi territory. West capitalized on the Warrior miscues by eventually connecting on fourth-and-16 pass play with a 36-yard touchdown by Darius Jones from quarterback Daylon Leach to go up, 7-0.
Tehachapi answered the score on their ensuing possession, capping a 76-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run by Zach King. The Warriors elected to try an extra point pass fake attempt, which fell incomplete, to give West the edge on the scoreboard, 7-6.
West would go on to score 13 unanswered points on their next two drives, the first on a nine-yard run by Leauauana T. Iaulu Jr. and the second on a three-yard run by Damion Brown. Iaulu Jr. led all rushers in the game with 121 yards on 16 carries. Brown finished with 31 yards on nine carries, while Leach had two completions for 55 yards and a touchdown and 46 yards rushing on 15 attempts.
Tehachapi recorded a late fourth quarter score, with Trent Adams hauling in a five-yard touchdown reception from Jake Tye on fourth-and-goal. King would add a two-point run to mark the final scoring in an eventual 20-14 victory for West. Adams, who was celebrating his 18th birthday, finished with a game-high five catches for 37 yards.
Other statistical leaders for Tehachapi included Mykel McClendon with 109 yards on eight carries, Tye with eight completions for 64 yards and a touchdown and Brayden Batson with a reception for 20 yards. McClendon’s performance was the first time this season that the Warriors had a rusher reach over 100 yards in one game.
With the victory, West will move on to the CIF Division III playoffs as the No. 10 seed, traveling to No. 7 seed Lemoore.
Tehachapi’s season has ended. Jake Smith, Brayden Batson, Makana Quarles, Trent Adams, Jakub Straka, Jeremy Martin, Brandon Birka, Antonio Garcia, Jonathan Medina, Nick Neaderbaumer, Raymond O’Neill, Brady Campbell and Andrew Blatt were seniors on the team.
Frosh-soph game canceled
The underclassmen did not have a game this past week due to mutual agreement by both the West and Tehachapi athletic departments. The reason for cancellation was mainly due to recent power outages in the Tehachapi area and poor air quality in Bakersfield.