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Tustin grounds out road victory

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

MENIFEE – Tustin overcame a first half filled with missed opportunities but did just enough to defeat Paloma Valley, 14-7, Friday night.

Alema Pilimai scored the go-ahead touchdown with 4:31 left and the Tillers’ defense did the rest, with Richard Lujan sealing the victory by picking off Chance Nolan on the Wildcats’ final offensive play.

Two plays earlier, Paloma Valley appeared to tie the score when Corez English caught a fade in the corner of the end zone but English was whistled for offensive pass interference, which nullified the score.

The opening half saw the teams flex their respective game plans – with Tustin using a bruising ground game while the host Wildcats opted for the fast-tempo spread offense.

Neither offense could put up any points in the opening half as drives stalled with each squad missing a field goal in the first half.

Paloma Valley took a 7-0 lead in the third quarter when Khayrii Joyner scored on a 1-yard run. Tustin tied the score on its next drive as DeVon Anderson raced up the middle for a 35-yard TD run.

On the go-ahead drive, Tustin took over possession with 59 seconds left in the third quarter on its own 31-yard line and marched downfield with 14 consecutive run plays. Pilimai capped a drive that lasted more than eight minutes with a 3-yard on a quarterback keeper.

KC Carr led the Tillers with 121 yards on the ground and Anderson added 106 yards rushing.


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