PUBLISHED: August 23, 2019 at 11:30 pm | UPDATED: August 24, 2019 at 1:25 am
TUSTIN – Capistrano Valley’s first-year head coach Sean Cutis is aware of the football program’s history and the resiliency it has displayed on the field.
“This program is historic,” said Curtis. “We’re used to being in tough games.”
The Cougars proved their toughness again with a fourth-quarter rally, which included a go-ahead touchdown by Jack Haley, to beat Tustin 21-17 on Friday night at Tustin High.
Capo Valley (1-0) struggled to contain the Tillers rushing attack led by Matt Rodriguez, who ran for 246 yards and a touchdown, and the Cougars found themselves trailing by 10 points entering the final quarter.
But the momentum shifted when Brady Kasper took a screen pass from Dartanyon Moussiaux and raced 80 yards down the sideline to cut the Cougars’ deficit to 17-14.
On Tustin’s next drive, Mateo Vasquez was intercepted by Mikey Shott and Capo Valley took advantage of the takeaway by marching to its go-ahead TD.
Haley caught a 20-yard pass to get to the Tillers 6-yard line. On third-and-goal, Tustin was called for a facemask penalty that gave the Cougars a fresh set of downs at the 5.
Moussiaux (203 passing yards) then found Haley on an inside slant for the score that ended up being the game winner.
On Tustin’s final drive, it committed back-to-back false start penalties and then Rodriguez was picked off by Haley on fourth down.
Tustin coach Anthony Lopez, who was making his debut with the Tillers, said his team lacked the conditioning needed to secure the win.
“We got tired,” Lopez said. “We’re a little out of shape. That really was the X factor.”
Early in the game, the Tillers and their new-look offense started off strong.
Rodriguez benefited from some great blocking during his six carries on the opening drive. On Mateo Vasquez’s first pass attempt, he found Jonathan Molina for a 15-yard score that made it 7-0.
Capo Valley answered right back on its next drive, doing the majority of the damage through the air. Kasper (109 receiving yards), Justin Richardson and Jackson Wear were Moussiaux’s favorite targets on the drive that ended with Wear scoring the tying TD on a 11-yard catch.