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Tustin Wins With a Last Stand

October 04, 2002|Dan Arritt; John Ortega

An offensive outburst Thursday night between Tustin and Anaheim Western highs turned into a defensive standoff in the second half.

Tustin proved to be slightly better in both, outscoring the host Pioneers in the first half and ending the game with a goal-line stand that preserved its 28-21 victory.

The victory prevented the Tillers from starting 0-4 for the first time since 1994, when they finished 1-9. It also gave them some much-needed momentum heading into next week's final nonleague game against Mission Viejo, the defending Southern Section Division II champions.

However, the Tillers lost another starter to injury--left guard Abel Gonzalez suffered a knee injury on the first offensive play of the game--and played without their second-leading rusher, Eric Lover, who was injured in last week's loss to Anaheim Servite.

"I'm going to have to find a way to speed up the clock against Mission Viejo," Tustin Coach Myron Miller said.

Miller altered his lineup, moving Sam Baker and Chris Barrett, two of the highest-rated high school football players in the country, into new positions.

Baker, a 6-5, 315-pound guard, changed jersey numbers and switched to tight end in the wing-T offense, while Barrett, a 6-5, 250-pound tight end, moved to wingback.

"I wanted them to be able to block the guys on the outside," Miller said. "That way we could turn the corner easier."

Marquis Malcom was the beneficiary of the plan, rushing 37 times for 204 yards and three touchdowns. The Tillers were so confident of their rushing attack, they went for it on all eight fourth-down situations, converting five.

Western (3-1), the top-ranked team in Division IX, stayed with Tustin through the first half, scoring on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Glenn Deans to Brian Williams with 42 seconds remaining and cutting the Tustin's lead to 22-21.

Western running back Jeron Johnson matched Malcom on the ground in the first half, gaining 120 yards in six carries. He finished with 224 yards in 17 carries, including runs of 47, 52 and 58 yards.

Dan Arritt


Westlake Village Westlake 28, Agoura 23--The Warriors clinched the Marmonte League opener at Agoura when Charger quarterback Dustin Croick's 44th pass of the game went off the fingertips of a diving Andy Christopher in the end zone with no time remaining after it had bounced off the hands of at least two defenders.

Westlake (2-2) took a 28-17 lead with 10:29 left to play on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Eric Vose. But Agoura narrowed its deficit to 28-23 with 4:17 left when Christopher caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Croick on a fourth-and-10 play.

Kenneth Mackins returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards for Westlake, but the Warriors turned the ball over on downs at the Agoura 27-yard line with 1:42 to play.

Croick, who completed 23 of 44 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns, had four completions on the ensuing drive to give the Chargers a first down at the Westlake 19. But his final three passes into the end zone fell incomplete.

Agoura led, 17-14, at halftime after Westlake committed four turnovers. But Westlake, helped by the bruising running of Merrill Mullaly, scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the second half. Mullaly rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

John Ortega

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