Tustin football edges Foothill in a dramatic rivalry clash – Orange County Register

TUSTIN – This is what a rivalry game is supposed to be.

A back-and-forth second half ended dramatically, on a missed field goal that got Foothill a 36-35 win over Tustin on Friday in a neighborhood football matchup at Northrup Field, the home field for both teams and on this night a home game for Foothill, on the Tustin High campus.

Tustin, No. 22 in the Orange County Top 25, is 2-0. No. 17 Foothill is 1-1. Foothill leads the Foothill-Tustin series 33-26-2.

Tustin took the lead with 5:12 to go when junior running back Eimesse Essis scored on a 22-yard run and senior back Mackenzie Alleyne took a pitchout for the two-point conversion that put the Tillers on top 36-35.

After a failed fourth-down try by Tustin gave the Knights the ball at the Tillers 29-yard line, Foothill, with 22 seconds to go, tried a 38-yard field goal that missed, leaving Tustin with its 36-35 lead.

Essis (5-8, 165), with speed and elusiveness, rushed for 238 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Alleyne scored two touchdowns and scored on two two-point conversions.

Foothills senior running back Aaron Mitchell rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Knights 6-6 senior quarterback Nicholas Miali threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns.

Foothill scored first. Knights linebacker Preston Raymond, only a couple of yards behind the line of scrimmage, snagged a tipped pass and ran 52 yards for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

The Knights scored quickly, again, on their second possession. Mitchell took a handoff and, shedding two tackles on the way, ran 70 yards for the touchdown that made it 14-0.

Tustin got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter. Alleyne took the direct snap in the wildcat formation and followed 320-pound freshman Jeremiah Williams (who would later be helped off of the field with a knee injury) through a hole on the right side of the line. The kick failed, leaving the score at 14-6.

Foothill expanded its lead to 21-6 on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Miali to junior receiver Nico Mancini. Miali rolled around in the pocket before connecting with Mancini who got behind coverage and pulled in the ball at the Tustin 15-yard line.

Alleyne scored again in the wildcat formation, this time on a 5-yard run and again following Williams through the right side with 1:49 left in the second quarter. Alleyne ran it in for two points on a similar play to make it 21-14, which would be the halftime score.

Tustin scored quickly to open the third quarter. Jack Stupin carried the ball into the end zone on a quarterback sneak. A run attempt for two points was unsuccessful, keeping Foothill ahead 21-20.

Tustin took its first lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Essis who added a two-point conversion run to put the Tillers on top 28-21. He had a 46-yard run on that possession.

Foothill tied it on a 1-yard touchdown run by Mitchell with eight seconds left in the third quarter and the Knights followed with a 7-yard pass from Miali to CJ Sims for a 35-28 Foothill lead.

Essis’ 22-yard run with 5:12 to go in the game and Alleyne’s two-point run supplied the eight points for the win.

Tustin, which beat El Toro 41-14 last week, plays at home against El Dorado on Friday. Foothill, a 31-18 winner over Bishop Diego of Santa Barbara last week, plays at Tustin High next Friday against Orange.

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