Tustin's Kenneth Carr gets by Cypress' Simon Khiev during the first half of Thursday's game. Tustin High School took on Cypress High School in an Empire League game at Western High on Thursday (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG).

Carr scores late TD to lift Tustin


ANAHEIM – KC Carr’s 2-yard touchdown run with five seconds remaining completed a Tustin rally as the Tillers defeated Cypress, 27-24, Thursday at Western High in the Empire League opener for both.

Carr, Orange County’s leading rusher, ran for 309 yards on 35 carries and scored all four Tillers touchdowns. A 5-foot-11, 165-pound junior, Carr rushed for 225 yards and the four touchdowns in the second half. He has 1,494 yards in six games, an average of 249 yards a game.

Tustin, No. 18 in the Orange County top 25, is 5-1 overall. No. 23 Cypress is 4-2.

The Tillers started their winning drive at their 29 after a Cypress pass into the end zone was incomplete on fourth-and-1 with 4:31 remaining. The Tillers drove the distance on 11 plays. Carr carried the ball on 10 of those plays; a 23-yard run by junior quarterback Sagel Simon was the only non-Carr play of the drive.

On the winning touchdown, Carr took a pitch, headed toward the right half of the line and followed the blocks of Shaquille Alapati, Marwin Alapati Zaragoza and Eric Aiono into the end zone.

Cypress junior QB Alex Ashcraft threw for a season-high 363 yards and two TDs. He scored the other Centurions touchdown on a 13-yard run. Ashcraft completed 23 of 37 passes with two interceptions.

Cypress had a 7-0 lead at halftime. The Centurions had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.

After a scoreless first quarter, Cypress took a 7-0 lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Ashcraft to Dominique Thompson.

Tustin got two interceptions, one by Larry Harris that ended Cypress’ first possession and the second by Zaragoza that happened with 1:31 left in the second quarter. The Tillers could not convert either turnover into points.

After Harris’ interception at the Tustin 1-yard line, the Tillers drove to the Cypress 23-yard line where, on fourth-and-3, Carr was stopped 1 yard shy of the first down. After Zaragoza’s interception, the Tillers went for a 31-yard field-goal attempt. The snap was bad, ending that scoring opportunity.

The game was delayed several minutes in the second quarter when Cypress senior receiver/defensive back Cameron Covington, playing defense, took a knee to the head. He was taken by ambulance to a nearby hosptial for examination. He returned to the stadium in the second half and joined his teammates on the sideline.

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