BVarsity Blog

Sunday, Aug 18 2013 01:00 PM

2013 HS football previews: Tehachapi

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

A Sunday special for you. After today are seven teams left to preview — Garces tomorrow and then the six Southwest Yosemite League teams — which means that the final team preview will run next Sunday. Then it's officially time for Week 0.

Countdown to Week 0: 12 days

TEHACHAPI WARRIORS

Coach: Steve Denman (32nd year)

2012 record: 8-3 (4-1 Southeast Yosemite League, 2-3 home, lost 31-13 vs. West in first round of Division II playoffs)
Average points: 29.8
Average points allowed: 20.9
Average rush yards: 253.7
Average rush yards allowed: 153.4
Average pass yards: 60.4
Average pass yards allowed: 173.3
Best win: Tehachapi 34, West 29
Worst loss: West 31, Tehachapi 13
*—yardage figures are from MaxPreps and are only used if at least half of games are available. Take them with a grain of salt. Figure could be skewed depending on which games, if any, are missing

Key players: Skylar Valencia, sr, RB/DB; Ty Curry, sr, RB/LB; Angel Garcia, soph, RB/LB; Steven Cross, sr, RB/DB; Joseph Blewett, sr, OL/DL

Key losses: Bobby Howell, QB/DB; Jorge Garcia, RB/DB; Andrew Jimenez, OL/DL; Blake Panek, OL/DL; Michael Contreras, WR/DB

Offense: Running back at Teahchapi is kind of like linebacker at Alabama or quarterback at USC; no matter what the name on the back of the jersey says, you just sort of assume the guy is pretty good. This year, Jorge Garcia has graduated after running for more than 1,400 yards as a senior, but Skylar Valencia and Ty Curry are both back after getting some experience there last year. A couple of familiar names join the crew, too: junior Anthony Curiel is up from the junior varsity (his brother, Marcus, was the Warriors' leading rusher three years ago), and Jorge's younger brother, Angel, was talented enough to be the rare freshman on varsity last year. That's almost like seeing a white tiger, so you know this kid is good. Chris Llamas, who was a freshman on varsity last year (white tiger? did I just invent a term there?), is back for his sophomore year and figures to start at quarterback. The backfield should be well supported up front, with Joseph Blewett back at guard, Rocky Radcliff back at center and a couple of players who saw significant minutes as backups last year. 2012 was a rare down year for Tehachapi's offense — still good, but not quite up to the standard previous teams had set. This year's attack should be back to old explosive ways.

Defense: Angel Garcia's freshman season was more astounding on defense, where he made 97 tackles, 4.5 sacks and an interception and made first-team all-SEYL as a linebacker. He's back, as is Curry, so the linebacking corps is in really good shape. Steven Cross and Dakota Medovitch both return to the secondary. The defensive line will be younger, but Steve Denman said the Warriors are so deep at linebacker that he'll have some talented guys able to move to defensive end. Still, Blake Panek and Kiefer Fincher will be missed; they combined for 7.5 sacks and clogged up the middle countless times last year at defensive tackle. This a faster defense but probably a smaller defense.

Outlook: One of the reasons Tehachapi played so many young guys last year was because five starters were suspended early in the season for disciplinary reasons last year. That might have cost the Warriors a win or two last year — that kind of experience could have come in handy when Tehachapi lost at home to West in the first round of the Division II playoffs — but ultimately, it's given this team a lot more experience from which to build. And hey, that team finished the regular season 8-2 with losses only to Liberty and Garces, so these kids can play. Angel Garcia is a name you'll hear for a long time, and he's one of just a few sophomores and juniors playing significant roles. Tehachapi will go into next season as one of the favorites in the new "second-tier" league with Ridgeview, Independence, West and Golden Valley. That's not to say this year is a lost cause, either; Tehachapi should produce a couple of 1,000-yard rushers and be solid on defense. I think this is a better team than last year's Warriors, though the record might not be much different because of those two tough opponents remain. Still, this year's group might be more primed for one of those typical Tehachapi November runs.

Quotable: "We had some guys who got an opportunity, and in hindsight, it was a blessing for those kids. Any time you get a disruption, you hate that kind of stuff, but it's high school, and kids screw up like anybody else. But we're excited about the year. We're off to a good start." — Denman

Schedule: Aug. 30 Exeter
Sept. 6 Burroughs
Sept. 13 at Liberty
Sept. 20 at Arvin
Sept. 27 BYE
Oct. 4 West
Oct. 12 at East*
Oct. 18 Highland*
Oct. 25 at North*
Nov. 1 Foothill*
Nov. 8 at Garces*
*—SEYL game

Prediction: 8-2, 4-1 SEYL

2013 HS football preview index
Aug. 1: 8-man schools
Aug. 2: Burroughs, Boron, Desert
Aug. 3: Rosamond, California City
Aug. 4: Frazier Mountain, Kern Valley
Aug. 5: McFarland, Delano, Kennedy
Aug. 6: Chavez
Aug. 6: Shafter
Aug. 7: Arvin
Aug. 7: Taft
Aug. 8: Wasco
Aug. 8: Bakersfield Christian
Aug. 9: Mira Monte
Aug. 10: Golden Valley
Aug. 11: South
Aug. 12: West
Aug. 13: Ridgeview
Aug. 14: North
Aug. 15: Foothill
Aug. 16: Highland
Aug. 17: East

Tomorrow: Garces

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