Warrior Football 'Burn the Ships' in 2023
Xs and Arrows
June 10, 2023
We reached the end of the 2022-23 athletic season at Tehachapi High School, and it was one for the history books. The Warriors and Lady Warriors captured a single season record for league championships dominating the South Yosemite Mountain League winning in nearly every sport. Unfortunately, until the CIF Central Section discontinues their "equity model" the chances of parlaying those league titles into a fair chance of playoff seedings will be an uphill battle ... but one Tehachapi will meet.
With the season complete and plenty of team and personal accolades now on the shelf, attention shifts to next season, matter of fact preparation is already underway with several sports, particularly football who just wrapped up their spring practice as the school year ended and will be transitioning into summer activities very shortly.
This year's team is optimistic, and expectations are lofty after a 10-2-record last season and their second-consecutive Central Section quarterfinal appearance. Loaded with talent, experience and returners, there is plenty of hype surrounding the 2023 squad. Head coach Kris Krempien, who picks a theme for the season has tabbed "Burn the Ships" as the rallying cry ... stemming from several historical sources, Sun Tzu in his book "Art of War" taught armies to burn their boats and the bridges behind them as they advanced into new territory. Tzu argued that soldiers without the option of taking flight are more likely to prevail. A similar position was taken by Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes who in 1519 landed in Mexico, knowing his crew was exhausted from the long journey but knowing he needed to motivate them to succeed. He ordered the ships that they arrived in burned. In laymen's terms "Burn the Ships" means the only path is forward, there is no turning around, which is fitting for a football program with a storied history but a goal in front of them.
The season schedule was officially released a few weeks ago and for just the second time in history the Warriors will have a home game to kick off the season on Mountain Festival weekend, Friday, August 18, as they host Ridgecrest-Burroughs. The Warriors have had plenty of success against the Burros the last few seasons and will hopefully be entertaining a large home and alumni-rich crowd on this Tehachapi holiday weekend.
The next two weeks are on the road as Tehachapi plays at Highland and Taft. Both wins for the Warriors last season, the Highland victory sending a message and setting a big tone, the hope is that success continues. Tehachapi defeated Taft last season as well but a trip across the valley to the Wildcats in early September is never easy.
The Warriors will return home for a pair of home games Sept. 8 against Wasco and Sept. 15 against Arvin. Sept. 22 gets interesting as Tehachapi will travel to Visalia-Golden West after splitting the last two seasons against the Trailblazers who handed Tehachapi their only regular season loss last year on an odd night in Tehachapi that included an injury to leading rusher AJ Anderson. It should be a great rematch in Visalia this season.
Tehachapi opens SYML play on Sept. 29 against South, the Warriors and Spartans had a solid battle last season in Tehachapi as the Warriors took the win en route to their title run. Oct. 6 finds the Warriors back at home hosting East before doing the same the following Friday, Oct. 13 when they host North, who last season gave Tehachapi their toughest battle in league play. The Warriors close out the regular season at West on Oct. 20 before taking a bye week on Oct. 27 in anticipation of the CIF Central Section Playoffs.
Just as a side note to fans, the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club and the Tehachapi Unified School District are spending plenty of time and resources this offseason to improve Coy Burnett Stadium and several other athletic facilities. While the 1960s-era stadium is not new, through some community efforts and district priorities there will be noticeable changes prior to kickoff to make up for some embarrassing moments a year ago. Both the student-athlete and the fan experience will be improved. I will personally be working all summer to ensure that because it is something deserving of our kids and our community.
Summer is here but the work has just started for the upcoming season. We're just over two months from kickoff, but who is counting?
Burn the ships.
Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter, broadcaster and athletics administrator. He advocates for the value of athletic competition and serves as the President of the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.