Tustin High School won a football game Thursday night. It won with an oversized kicker and an undersized quarterback. It won despite committing 11 five-yard penalties.
The Tillers beat Irvine, 12-7, in a nonleague game in front of 2,500 at Irvine.
When it was over, Tustin Coach Marijon Ancich was grateful for one fact . . . it was over.
"I'm glad this is out of the way," he said. "We tried our best to get beat tonight."
Ancich referred to the Tillers' 13 penalties for 79 yards. Of the 13, 11 were of the 5-yard variety--illegal procedure, delay of game, offsides. The yardage lost on each penalty wasn't steep, but the momentum lost was devastating at times.
Early in the second quarter, with the game scoreless, Tustin was on the Irvine 10 with a third-and-one. The Tillers then were called for delay of game and forced into a third-and-six. Quarterback George Menges threw an incompletion.
The drive halted, Tustin kicker Jason Lavin, all 200 pounds of him, kicked a 33-yard field goal to make the score 3-0.
Lavin is a defensive end/tight end. He doesn't look like a kicker. He wears pads, he's wrapped in tape, he wears a real helmet.
But he can kick. Lavin's 37-yarder as time ran out gave Tustin a 10-7 victory over Los Alamitos last week.
The Vaqueros came back on the first play of the second quarter with running back Pat White running 57 yards for a touchdown. White had started his run going over tackle, but when Tustin defenders clogged his lane, White broke outside and accelerated past the Tustin secondary. George Koutures' conversion kick made it 7-3.
Tustin took possession and drove to the Irvine 39. But an illegal procedure penalty put the ball back to the 44. Then confusion fell upon the Tillers who had to call a timeout just to find out what the next play was.
"I don't know what was going on out there tonight," Ancich said.
One thing that was going on was named David Webb. Webb, a 6-4, 220-pound Irvine linebacker was nothing short of frightening as he made 15 tackles. It was a Webb tackle that stalled Tustin's drive, and the game remained 7-3 at halftime.
On its first possession of the second half, Tustin used 11 plays, and two, five-yard penalties, to drive to the Irvine 22. Lavin kicked a 39-yard field goal, and the Irvine lead was 7-6.
The drive was engineered by quarterback George Menges (5-8, 160 pounds). Menges rushed three times on the drive and completed three passes. He completed 7 of 16 passes for 105 yards in the game.
It was his 21-yard touchdown pass to Scott Pulaski with 11:14 left in the game that gave Tustin its victory. Characteristically, Menges' pass came after a five-yard penalty and a sack had Tustin with a second a goal from the Irvine 21. Nothing came easily Thursday night.
"I guess the best thing you can say," Ancich said, "is that we had enough poise at the end to win."