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Score at Halftime:
Tustin 20, La Habra 14
La Habra: The Highlanders received the ball first and started on their own 35 after Tustin booted the opening kickoff out of bounds. The Highlanders drove 30 yards on four straight runs by senior back Drake Griffin. However, Griffin was stopped on a third and four from the Tillers 16 for no gain. La Habra was then turned away as kicker Sean Wale missed wide left from 33 yards out. La Habra 0, Tustin 0 with 8:20 in the first.
Tustin: The Tillers took over at the La Habra 20 after the missed field goal and were both patient and methodically in scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run by wingback Diego Mendoza. Mendoza’s touchdown run capped a 14-play, 6:08 drive that included no passes. The moment of truth came at the Highlanders’ 4, where on a fourth and inches, the Tillers picked up a crucial first down on a 2-yard carry by Mendoza, who scored on the next play. Tustin did miss on a two-point try when Mendoza was stuffed for a 1-yard gain. Tustin 6, La Habra 0 with 2:12 left in the first.
La Habra: The Highlanders started on the Tustin 27 with 2:05 and answered right back with a Griffin 44-yard touchdown run. La Habra marched 63 yards on six plays, with Griffin scoring on the first play of the second quarter. Wale’s extra point was good. La Habra 7, Tustin 6 with 11:49 left in the second quarter.
Tustin: The Tillers took over at their 20 after a Wale touchback with 11:49 and fired back with their own big play. After four small runs pushed the ball 18 yards, wingback Tyler Suidzinski turned in a 61-yard run, cutting back five yards past the line of scrimmage and finding open space. Suidzinksi was only prevented from scoring as he was tackled from behind at the 1 by hustling safety Justin Caines. Two plays later, Tustin’s Edward Tandy punched it in from 1 yards. This time the Tillers converted the two-point conversion on a double handoff from Siudzinski to Mendoza. Tustin 14, La Habra 7 with 9:11 in the second.
La Habra: Perhaps a bit shocked from surrendering the big-play run by Suidzinski, La Habra didn’t gain a yard and went three and out punted back to Tustin with 8:11 remaining in the second. Tustin 14, La Habra 7.
Tustin: Tustin initially started at its 27 but was moved back on a holding call. Even so, Tandy picked up 13 yards on a big third and 13 that moved the ball to the 47. The Tillers continued to gash La Habra on the ground and eventually scored on 6-yard carry off-tackle right by sophomore back Terence Martinez. Again, Tustin attempted a two-point conversion and was denied. Nevertheless, the Tillers drove 62 yards on 15 plays and were aided by a La Habra hit-below-the-knees called that moved the ball to the LH 9. Tustin 20, La Habra 7 with 1:08 left in the half.
La Habra: The Highlanders took some momentum into the half with a quick-strike touchdown courtesy of quarterback Cody Clements to receiver Vai Peko on a 13-yard scoring pass with :02 left in the half. Peko held on to the pass in the back of the end zone despite being drilled by Tustin’s Michael Lilly. The Highlanders started at the 50 thanks to a 47-yard kickoff return from Southern Methodist University-bound Michael Sparling with :59 seconds left and reached the 13 on a 14-yard pass from Clements to Mark Yackey with :08 seconds left. Highlanders coach Frank Mazzotta called a timeout and for the pass rather than a field goal try. Tustin 20, La Habra 14 with :02 seconds left.
Tustin: The Tillers took a knee to end the half.
Tustin 20, La Habra 14 at the half.
Stay tuned to the next blog post for second half updates.