June 14, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Tustin captures win over Cypress and celebrates outright Empire League championship

Tustin players (from left) MacKenzie Alleyne, Alex Hage, Jack Stupin and Kaden Carter helped the Tillers defeat Cypress. (Photo: Alex Suarez, For OC Sports Zone).

By ALEX SUAREZ

For OC Sports Zone

Tustin High School’s football team wrapped up its perfect regular season with a 49-17 victory over Cypress Friday night at Tustin to capture the outright Empire League championship.

Both teams entered the game undefeated in league play and were competing for the crown. Tustin (10-0, 5-0) and Cypress are headed to the CIF playoffs next week.

“It’s great to go 10-0, our defense played phenomenal,” said Tustin Coach Anthony Lopez. “Offensively we just executed, Eimesse (Essis) ran hard, MacKenzie Alleyne on special teams breaking those tackles, it’s a good feeling.”

Tustin’s last league title was 2021 when the Tillers shared it with Cypress and Pacifica.

 The Tillers (10-0, 5-0) began with a strong opening drive. Senior Kaden Carter completed it with a 19-yard touchdown catch, the first of his two touchdowns in the first quarter, adding another the next drive with a 24-yard touchdown catch. 

“It felt good to set the tone and be there for my guys when they needed me,” Carter said.

Senior quarterback Jack Stupin concluded the game with 10 completed passes for a total of 172 yards. The Tillers boasted a dynamic backfield duo that combined for 242 rushing yards.

Junior Eimesse Essis led Tustin leading in rushing with 138 yards on 16 carries, highlighted by a 39-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. Essis secured two rushing touchdowns by the end of the game. 

Senior wide receiver MacKenzie Alleyne gained 104 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Allyene also delivered an 86-yard touchdown return on a kickoff in the fourth quarter. 

Tustin will look to continue its perfect season and will await its next opponent before getting back to work on Monday. 

Cypress (6-4, 4-1) aims to rebound swiftly before the playoffs.

“We knew going in we were going to have our hands full and hopefully force them into some mistakes,” said Cypress Coach Rick Feldman. “We made mistakes and it kind of snowballed from there.”

The Centurions managed to score in the second quarter with an impressive 42-yard field goal by junior Logan Kennedy. Senior running back Rocco Burdett achieved two rushing touchdowns and concluded the game with a total of 44 yards. 

Senior quarterback Aidan Houston was Cypress’s primary rusher, accumulating 100 yards on 14 carries while also passing for 80 yards. 

Cypress will find out its next opponent and division placement on Sunday morning. 

“Once Sunday morning hits, it’s game on,” Feldman said. “We’ve come really close in the last few years to winning it all and hopefully if we play well enough this team’s going to be able to finally get that ring.”

Cypress had won a share of the league title the last four years.