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PREP FOOTBALL : Irvine Rallies to Beat Tustin on Belle’s Touchdown Run

Mike Belle ran 15 yards for a touchdown and Pat White added a 2-point conversion run with 4 minutes left to give Irvine High School a 13-7 victory over Tustin Friday at Tustin High School.

Irvine (3-0), which trailed, 7-3, going into the fourth quarter, narrowed the Tustin lead to 7-5 with 8 minutes left when the Tillers’ Monte Jones punted the ball out of his own end zone for a safety after the center snap sailed over Jones’ head.

Seven plays after the Vaqueros returned Tustin’s free kick to the Irvine 49, Belle blasted through the middle of the Tustin defense to give the Vaqueros the lead.

Tustin, which was led by sophomore Ron Goods’ 160 yards in 27 carries, tried desperately to retake the lead as time ran out. But Irvine’s Charlie Preston intercepted a pass by Jones at the Irvine 33 with 2 minutes left to preserve the Vaquero win.

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“That safety turned the field position around for us,” said Terry Henigan, Irvine coach. “We weren’t getting any field position to start our offensive series before the safety, but after the safety, we were able to get some good field position and then move the ball down the field for the score.”

Tustin jumped to a 7-0 lead with 3 minutes left in the first period on Jones’ 33-yard touchdown pass to Chad Smith. The touchdown came six plays after Kevin Jurkowski intercepted a pass by Irvine’s Dave Lincoln at the Tiller 39.

Seven plays after a facemask penalty on the ensuing kickoff brought the ball to the Irvine 42, the Vaqueros narrowed Tustin’s lead to 7-3 on Jeff Caudill’s 32-yard field goal.

Both teams missed chances to score as time ran out in the first half. Eleven plays after Irvine’s Randy Martin intercepted a Jones pass at the Tiller 44, Caudill’s 20-yard field goal attempt sailed wide.

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Caudill’s field goal try was prompted when Tustin held Irvine to two rushing yards in three plays after the Vaqueros drove the ball to the Tiller 5.

After Tustin (0-3) got the ball at its own 20 following Caudill’s miss, the Tillers moved the ball down to the Vaquero 15 in 12 plays, but as the Tillers were about to attempt a field goal, the gun sounded to end the first half.


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