By Katelyn Merrell
Tustin High varsity football finished up their preseason with a 3-2 record. They defeated Aliso Niguel, Dana Hills, and cross town rival Foothill. Their winning streak, however, came to an end when Paloma Valley defeated the Tillers at home with a score of 35-12. The Tillers also suffered a crushing loss against inner district team Beckman High School on Friday September 26th. The game was tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter. As the clock wound down, the Tiller’s defense received a penalty that gave Beckman the opportunity to attempt a field goal. The Patriot’s senior kicker Sebastian Valerio scored the winning field goal giving Beckman a 20-17 victory over the Tillers. The Tillers may have been defeated in that game, but how will that affect their mentality going into the 2014 season?
As the 2014 season approaches the anticipation of the season grows. Players and fans are both excited to see what the outcome of the well-awaited season will be. Last year’s players encountered a difficult 2013 season filled with minimal wins. These veteran players have a mindset of wanting to prove doubters wrong this season. Wide receiver Jonathan Dimaio explained that, “Our mentality is to win. One game at a time. The team is looking to perform every week and make it different than last year.” With a combination of excellent leadership on the field and a positive attitude filled with Tiller pride, the team is determined to get results. Varsity players refer to each other as “family”. This simple word has been responsible for uniting the players. The boys play for each other and put the team first, through their effort on the field.
Besides the mental aspect of the game the Tillers work vigorously to craft their team into a well-oiled machine by lifting and sprinting and through repetitive drills. However, even in the most efficient machines complications can arise. The Tillers faced early difficulties with the injuries of key players such as Alema Pilimai and Manuel Perez. Despite these injuries the Tillers will continue, “stepping up to any challenge regardless of the odds.” These “odds” refer to not only injuries, but strategic conflicts. Dimaio continued, “Our line isn’t the same ‘stereotypical’ huge line that it used to be. But our skill players are dominant. Our game is completely different than it used to be. But regardless we get the job done.” It isn’t a secret that Tustin has been known for their giant offensive and defensive lines in the past. However, this stereotype doesn’t seem to faze the players as they move into the season with confidence. With a combination of dedicated players who play multiple positions throughout the game on both offense and defense, leadership of captains, experienced coaching, and a positive mentality the Tustin High Varsity boys believe, “We’ll make it to playoffs.”