Tustin players celebrate their 23-20 overtime victory over Kennedy in an Empire League finale Friday night at Western High.

Tustin edges Kennedy in OT on goal-line stand


ANAHEIM – Anthony Garduno’s 39-yard field goal and a goal-line stand carried Tustin past Kennedy, 23-20, in overtime in an Empire League game Friday night at Western High.

The Tillers (8-2, 4-1) had the first possession in overtime. They made 4 yards on three plays from the 25-yard line and brought in Garduno, whose kick had plenty of distance and was on target.

Kennedy (5-5, 3-2) reached the 7 on third-and-15 from the 30 on a 23-yard pass from Jordan Jackson to Anthony Johar.

Johar rushed for 5 yards on second down to the 1. Operating out of the wildcat, he was stopped inches short on third down. On fourth down, the snap to quarterback Jackson wasn’t clean and it hit the ground. Jackson picked the ball up and lunged forward, but didn’t reach the end zone.

Tustin secured second place and became the No. 2 seed out of the league in the CIF Southwest Division. Kennedy is the third seed.

Kennedy took a 7-0 lead late in the first half on Jackson’s 22-yard pass to Derrick Deese and increased its lead to 10-0 on Austin Criss’ 29-yard field goal early in the third period.

Tustin’s 205-pound fullback Kenny Phillips turned an off-tackle play into a 75-yard touchdown run less than a minute later.

Deon Fasseu’s interception and 25-yard return put Tustin at the Kennedy 9. Running back Kenneth Carr III scored on the next play to give the Tillers a 13-10 lead midway through the third period.

Early in the fourth, on third-and-4, Carr raced down the sideline for a 68-yard gain to the Kennedy 6. Phillips burst around right end to score on the next play and with Garduno’s kick, Tustin had a 20-10 lead with 10:09 to play.

After the kickoff, the Fighting Irish drove 80 yards on nine plays for a touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Jackson to Deese that cut their deficit to 20-17 with 5:54 to play.

Kennedy tied the game 20-20 on Criss’ 20-yard field goal with 1:12 left.

Jackson passed for 310 yards, completing 25 of 31 passes with one interception. Deese caught seven passes for 158 yards.

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