HUNTINGTON BEACH — When Huntington Beach took on Tustin in the quarterfinal round of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs Friday, the host Oilers pretty much knew the game plan for the Tillers.
Run, and then, run some more. And that's exactly what the Tillers did.
No. 2-seeded Tustin was able to grind its way to a 49-18 victory at Cap Sheue Field and the win sent the division's defending champion on to a semifinal date next Friday against No. 3-seeded Villa Park.
Huntington, the No. 3 team from the Sunset League, closed out a 6-6 campaign. The Oilers reached the playoff quarterfinals for the second straight year.
"I thought our effort was good but we had breakdowns on [defensive] assignments, and you can't do that against a team like Tustin," Huntington Coach Eric Lo said. "They have some good athletes and they can really run the ball. We had opportunities but we didn't capitalize on them."
Tustin (12-0) did. The Tillers rolled up 306 rushing yards in the first half which ended with them holding a 35-12 lead. They attempted only two passes all game, both incompletions. The first attempt came with just 1:18 left in the opening half. The other, with 7:54 remaining in the game.
They scored on five of their six first-half possessions in winning their 20th-straight game.
"We had a pretty good first half," said Tustin Coach Myron Miller whose team came into the game averaging 49 points. "This was the first game we've played the second half without a running clock since we played Foothill. I thought we were a little sloppy at times in the second half."
Huntington trailed, 14-0, after the first quarter. The Oilers gambled on fourth down plays during their first two possessions of the game, and failed on both occasions. Tustin scored after both gambles, getting a pair of one-yard touchdown runs by Terence Martinez, who ended up with a five-touchdown night.
The Oilers got some momentum back at the outset of the second quarter. They recorded a safety on a botched punt by the Tillers on the first play of the quarter. After Marco Valenzuela returned the ensuing free kick to midfield, the Oilers moved down to the Tustin seven thanks to a 19-yard run by Bo Breunig. The drive stalled and Wyatt Marlow came on to kick a 22-yard field goal, bringing Huntington to within 14-5 two minutes into the quarter.
That momentum swing was short-lived. On Tustin's first play from scrimmage following Marlow's field goal, Martinez broke to the outside, took off around right end and clung to the Huntington sideline. When he was finished, Martinez scored on a 78-yard run to make it 21-5 with 9:50 left in the half.
Martinez came up with a big defensive play on Huntington's next possession to set up the Tillers in scoring position again. He picked off a pass by Oilers quarterback Kai Ross at the Huntington 46. Eight plays later, running back DaVonte Young scored on a three-yard run.
Huntington answered when Ross scored on a keeper up the middle, but Tustin responded with a late drive that ended with Young taking an inside handoff 21 yards for his second score. It came with just 15 seconds left in the half and put the Tillers up 35-12 at the break.
The Oilers came up with a defensive stop on the second play of the second half when junior linebacker Mathew Tavakoli scooped up a fumble by Martinez at the Huntington 34 and returned it to the Tustin 40. The Oilers reached the seven but on first-and-goal, Ross fumbled on a keeper and the Tillers took over. They then went on a scoring march that took up 9:21 of the second half clock. Martinez scored on a four-yard run for his fourth TD of the game.
Breunig, a senior who rambled his way for 145 yards in his final game, scored on a 15-yard run with 3:14 left to make it 42-14. Martinez closed out the scoring with another four-yard run less than a minute later.
Edison: Southwest Division semifinals are next
In other CIF Southern Section Southwest Division quarterfinal playoff action Friday, Edison, the top-seeded team in the division, jumped out to a 38-7 halftime lead on Valencia and cruised to a 52-14 victory over the host Tigers at Placentia.
It was a big night for the Chargers who advanced to face Foothill in a division semifinal at 7 p.m. next Friday at Orange Coast College. The 38-point victory also was the 200th for Coach Dave White who has a 200-104-3 career record at his alma mater.
Edison is 11-1 overall.
"It's a pretty special night," said White who was presented with a commemorative plaque after the game by Edison Athletic Director Rich Boyce. "The kids played really well tonight. We moved the ball on offense and our defense played another great game. We couldn't have played much better, really."
Senior quarterback Aleksander Torgersen threw for 237 yards with touchdown passes of 14 yards to Trevor Borkowski and 81 yards to Elijah Herrera. The Chargers had two scores on returns, the first coming in the first quarter on a 25-yard interception return by Herrera, and Kiante Goudeau returned a kickoff late in the first half 94 yards for a touchdown.
Running back Donald Rice started the scoring with a 14-yard touchdown run in the opening quarter, Hunter Kelley closed out the first half with a 41-yard field goal, and Marcus Swanigan scored on two short runs in the third quarter that increased the lead to 52-7.
Valencia, which ended the year 8-4, scored its first touchdown on a short drive in the opening half after an interception return set the Tigers up inside the Edison 10-yard line. Their final score came in the fourth quarter against Edison's second defensive unit.
Foothill, Edison's semifinal opponent, edged La Habra, 30-27, in another quarterfinal game Friday.