Tehachapi Stops St. Bonaventure
The Tehachapi High football team played bumper ball Friday night against the St. Bonaventure defense and bounced into the Southern Section Division IX final with a 14-8 victory over the visiting Seraphs.
Tehachapi tailback Bumper Stanley rushed 26 times for 139 yards and a touchdown as the Warriors (10-3) won a battle of ball control with run-oriented St. Bonaventure (8-5).
But the Warriors needed a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joel Nash to wide receiver Josh Acosta--Nash’s only completion of the game--in the third quarter and a hand from an official in the final minute to hang on for their fifth consecutive trip to the final.
Tehachapi held St. Bonaventure scoreless for nearly 47 minutes before Seraph quarterback Peter Houston hit Marc Romero with a 16-yard touchdown pass with 1 minute 21 seconds left. When Houston found no receivers open on a two-point conversion try, he dashed around end to cut the deficit to 14-8.
Hoping to catch the last-second lightning they managed last week in a 22-21 upset of top-ranked Big Bear, the Seraphs tried an onside kick--and, apparently, St. Bonaventure’s Justin Smiley recovered the ball.
But after one official signaled that St. Bonaventure had possession, another said that a Seraph had touched the ball before it traveled 10 yards. Tehachapi was awarded possession and ran out the clock.
“You don’t get to the finals for five straight years unless you have a good football program,” St. Bonaventure Coach Jon Mack said. “Tehachapi plays solid defense and they don’t make mistakes.”
Tehachapi drove 92 yards in 14 plays in the second quarter for the only score of the first half. Stanley had gains of 10, 18, 23 and nine yards on the drive and scored from one yard.
St. Bonaventure, the Tri-Valley League tri-champion, used the clock wisely in the last 1:45 of the half to move from the Seraph 45 to the Warrior 17. With eight seconds left, the Seraphs tried a fake field goal. Holder Gino Nucci passed to Romero at the seven but Romero was gang tackled at the four.
R. J. Kisling, who rushed for more than 100 yards against Big Bear, was the top offensive threat for St. Bonaventure, rushing for 114 yards in 17 carries.