Temecula Valley guard Casey Burchard was going to give Marshall Smith credit, even if Tustin's seldom-used fullback wouldn't take any.
"Hey man, you're an awesome runner," Burchard told Smith as the two shook hands after Tustin's 21-14 victory over the Golden Bears Friday night at Tustin High School.
Smith, whose four or five carries a game are usually lost amid the bigger numbers of tailbacks Branden Malcom and Mike Zill, rushed for a game-high 167 yards in 11 carries and scored the tie-breaking touchdown on a 50-yard haul in the third quarter.
Still, Smith refused to take any credit.
"This offensive line just plain blocks," he said. "Coach said [Temecula Valley's] defense would be perfect for our traps and dives. All I did was read the holes and run."
Tustin appeared out of sync early and was behind, 14-6, at halftime. But the Tillers (3-3) turned to Smith in the second half and the hefty senior responded, racking up 130 yards in the final two quarters.
"We knew that was 245 pounds of fullback they were sending at us," said Golden Bear Coach Bud Kane. "We saw the film. They've got the whole package."
Tustin scored on the opening drive of the second half, going 65 yards in eight plays and tying the game on Zill's four-yard scoring plunge and ensuing two-point conversion run.
The Tillers then held Temecula Valley (2-3) on fourth-and-three, and three plays later, Smith broke away for his 50-yard touchdown.
Tustin's defense took over from there, not allowing Temecula Valley to get any closer than the Tustin 27 in the fourth quarter.
"Great, great, great defense," Tustin coach Myron Miller said. "I told them at halftime, if you can shut them out, we are going to score two [touchdowns] in the second half."