July 18, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Tustin holds off Foothill 23-7 in crosstown battle

Tustin’s Jerome Childs celebrates picking off a pass on the very first play from scrimmage. Childs went on to score on the ensuing drive.

Tustin quarterback Romario Alvarez threw a career-high three touchdown passes to lead the Tillers to a 23-7 nonleague victory over Foothill before a capacity crowd Friday evening at Tustin High.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo.

Tustin retains the coveted Foothill/Tustin Annual football Crosstown Rivalry Trophy awarded to the winner each season. The rivalry dates back to 1966 and the Knights hold a 29-25-2 overall edge.

“It’s a big moment to win a rivalry game like this, especially as a senior,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez completed 11 of 16 passes for 172 yards.

Foothill got off to a bad start. The Knights fumbled the first snap of the game. Quarterback JD Curran picked up the loose ball but his pass was intercepted by Jerome Childs who returned it for a TD. However, a Tustin penalty nullified the touchdown.

The Tillers (1-1) went to work and six plays later Alvarez completed a 13-yard TD pass to Childs, giving Tustin a 7-0 lead at 8:58 mark of the opening quarter.

The Knights had two excellent opportunities to get on the scoreboard in the first half but were stopped twice on fourth down plays in Tillers territory, once at the four-yard line and the second time at the 38.

Midway through the second quarter, Tustin marched 62 yards in 11 plays to take a 14-0 lead.  Alvarez tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Josh Carlos on a fourth down play..

Foothill countered with a six-play, 68-yard scoring drive capped by a Curran to Gabe Gallardo 21-yard TD pass cutting the lead to 14-7 with 1:53 left in the half.

The Tillers defense sealed the game in the second half as they kept the Knights scoreless and forced two more turnovers and stopped Foothill on a critical fourth down play. Tillers defensive lineman Josue Lopez recorded two key sacks to foil two Knights drives. Nick Merez and Chris Medina hauled in Tustin interceptions. Medina also caught a 43-yard TD pass in the third quarter to give the Tillers a two-touchdown lead.

“We had three interceptions, several fourth down stops and a goal line stance,” said Tillers coach Myron Miller. “Our defense played well and our secondary really answered the call tonight.”

Curran completed 21 passes for 235 yards to lead the Knights (0-2).

“We made way too many mistakes tonight and you can’t do that in an emotional game like this,” Foothill coach Doug Case said. “We made a mistake on the first play of the game, so we got to go back the drawing board. We’ll show them what they did wrong and we’ll get better.”

Miller improved to 10-8 in head-to-head games against his longtime friend and rival Case.

“This rivalry goes back decades and Myron and I feel fortunate to be part of its history,” said Case. “This is a special game and it’s great for the community”.

STATS

FH       0          7        0         0       7

TH       7          7        7         2      23

Rushing: FH, Pistone 17-64.

TUS, Bell 18-81, Rodriguez 7-18.

Passing, FH, Curran 21-35-3, 235 yards, 1 TD.

TUS, Alvarez, 11-16-0, 172, 3 TDs.

Receiving, FH, Gallardo 6-93, Goral 5-54.

TUS, Childs 4-44, Carlos 3-44.