Forty-nine schools later and the 7th Annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard finishes in sunny California.
Last but not least, we arrived early on the morning of March 22nd, 2012 on the campus of Bakersfield High School. It was evident that there was something festive and out of the ordinary taking place in town. It was very lively all throughout the campus, as students preparing for MaxPreps Football Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard, were running to and from. Over 2,000 students, faculty, and community members came pouring into the school gymnasium for the last "TOC" football presentation. The Bakersfield Drillers Football Team finished 13-0, while winning its 35th CIF Championship in school history.
The Leadership Team for BHS was preparing for the school-wide rally, while special dance performances also warmed up. Coach Paul Golla and his entire coaching staff of ten were in attendance to support their high achieving student-athletes.
At the commencement of the "TOC" rally, one of the junior football players sang the national anthem and set the tone for the whole event. Mr. David Reese, principal of BHS, congratulated the football team and opened with a welcome to all. Then, Mr. Reese, turned over the microphone to Jake Downey, MaxPreps correspondent, to make opening remarks on behalf of the "TOC". Then, Jake Downey introduced Sergeant First Class Don Denoyer of the Army National Guard, to address both the school and the football team. His comments encompassed more than just football (although he acknowledged the more than 20 professional athletes who came out of BHS), as he congratulated Coach Golla and the team for their six community service projects they performed this year.
By this point, the crowd was electrified. Sergeant First Class Denoyer did a wonderful job recognizing the Drillers for their accomplishments. Denoyer called up Sergeant First Class Nourse to make the prestigious Army National Guard national ranking trophy presentation to Coach Golla and his players. Coach Golla accepted the "Minuteman" trophy with great appreciation and humility. The players were ecstatic. They lifted the trophy high above their heads and gathered under Coach's hand for a victory cheer.
After the "TOC" presentation, the school honored all of the spring sports teams and had performances by the private dance troop of Bakersfield and a collection of other senior classmen. Following the ceremony, the team gathered around the MaxPreps & Army National Guard Tour of Champions banner for photo opportunities and interviews from two different television news stations.
Coach Golla could not be more proud of his team for their on-field achievements and off the field behavior. This was a special team for Coach Golla, as he mentioned how the team lost 30 players from last year's team. The world did not expect BHS to have the season it did...nobody did -- except for Coach Golla and his football team. It was not a surprise to them. Congratulations to BHS and Go Drillers!!!