By Tim Peterson
(Covina) – South Hills blew open a tie game with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to beat Tustin 27-7 Thursday night in the first round of the CIF Division 6 Playoffs.
For the first three quarters it was a defensive struggle. Each team turned the ball over once and had trouble establishing any kind of offensive momentum. Then came the fourth quarter.
First Thonye Charles took a hitch pass from John Hernandez, beat the corner and was off to the races. 76 yards later he was dancing into the end zone for a touchdown to snap a 7-7 tie. The extra point was missed leaving South Hills up 13-7.
On Tustin’s next series, Jordan Sanchez intercepted Mateo Vasquez’ pass and retuned it down to the Tustin three-yard line. Two plays later, Juaquin Elliott blasted in for a two-yard score for a 20-7 South Hills lead with 6:26 left.
After a Tustin punt, Elliott and the Huskies were at it again. Elliott carried the ball four times for 93 yards, the final 45 on a touchdown run around the right side to put the game away with 3:47 left. Elliott finished with 118 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns.
Tustin scored its only touchdown of the night on its first drive. The Tillers drove 68 yards on 12 plays. They also were helped along the way by couple key penalties. Mike Mierez broke off a 26-yard run to cap the march. The Tillers never scored again.
South Hills responded on the next series. The Huskies needed just seven plays to go 59 yards. Sanchez hauled in a ten-yard pass from Justin Armendariz to tie it at seven.
Armendariz started at quarterback for South Hills before giving way to Hernandez. Regular starter Kahlil Ali was benched by Head Coach Matt Bechtel for disciplinary reasons. Armendariz threw for 55 yards but was also intercepted and he also ran for 40 yards. Hernandez was 2 of 4 for 80 yards and a touchdown.
For Tustin Matt Rodriguez was the workhorse with 96 yards on 23 carries. Nick Mierez added 62 yards on the ground for the Tillers. Vasquez completed just 2 of 13 passes for 20 yards.
Tustin ends the season with an overall record of 4-7 while South Hills is still perfect at 11-0 and moves on to the second round.
T 7 0 0 0 7
SH 7 0 0 20 27