By: Katelyn Merrell and Benjamin Rodriguez
On Friday October 23, the Tustin High Tillers took on the Pacifica Mariners at Bolsa Grande High School, for what was supposed to be a “close game.” In fact, OC Varsity’s Steve Friar predicted the Mariners to take the win, which seemed likely after Tustin’s close call against Cypress the week prior. However, a young injured Tustin team prevailed, not only beating Pacifica, but throttling them in the process.
Tustin’s Tyler Noble (#9) played lights out rushing for 192 yards, three of which were long touchdown runs. The first came at the beginning of the game giving the Tillers an early 7-0 lead setting the tone of the game. Another run came in the second with Noble dusting the Pacifica defense once again for a 42 yard touchdown extending the Tillers lead to 21-3 to end the first half. His scoring run continued into the third with yet another exciting 67 yard run for his third touchdown of the night extending the lead once again, 28-3.
The Tillers’ banged up defense put on a show scoring two out of the five touchdowns for the Tillers that evening. In the first quarter, Alema Pilimai (#6), awarded OC Varsity defensive player of the week, picked off a Nick Garcia pass and took it to the house for a 76 yard Tiller touchdown. Pilimai continued to haunt Garcia, intercepting him once more to end the first half. Richard Lujan (#23) contributed to the scoring as well, pouncing on a Pacifica fumble in the end zone.
Unfortunately for the Tillers, middle linebacker RJ Villamar may be out for the remainder of the year with what looks like a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
This week the Tillers prepare to take on an undefeated Valencia team, for what will be a battle for the Empire League Title. Both of these teams are undefeated in league play this season. Valencia’s overall record is (8-0), with Tustin (7-1) suffering their only loss to cross town rival Foothill.
This battle for the Empire League Title will be this Friday October 30, at Tustin High’s Northrup Stadium. Valencia led by quarterback Taylor Switzer and running back Jaqhuon Speed, protected by a giant offensive line, look to stay undefeated against a talented Tustin team including: QB Sagel Simon (#7), RB/CB Tyler Noble (#9), RB KC Karr (#3), OLB Alema Pilimai (#6).
This highly anticipated game will also be Tustin’s homecoming game. Tustin High students with ID’s will be admitted for free this Friday. Who will be crowned the Empire League champions? Will it be the Tigers or Tillers?