By JOSH DIGGS
SPECIAL TO OCVARSITY.COM
TUSTIN - Tustin wanted to send a message about running back Anthony Wilkerson - he´s finally healthy.
The senior tailback pummeled Valencia´s defense for 329 yards on 48 carries to lead the Tillers to a 31-14 victory in a CIF-SS Southwest Division first-round playoff game at Tustin High on Friday night.
Tustin (10-1) will play Huntington Beach in the second round next week.
Wilkerson, the county rushing leader despite battling injuries that kept him from practicing for a three-week stretch, accounted for all but 16 yards of his team´s offense and scored on touchdown runs of 1, 34, 1 and 43 yards.
"He´s been hurt but he´s finally getting back into running shape," Tustin Coach Myron Miller said. "Every week we´re seeing a better Anthony. Lucky for us he´s on an upswing."
Wilkerson carried the ball on 12 of Tustin´s first 13 plays on the opening possession before punching it in from a yard out.
After wearing out the Tigers (4-7) for 15 more carries on the next series that resulted in James Arvizu´s 21-yard field goal, Wilkerson broke through for a 34-yard score that put Tustin ahead, 17-7, with 31.7 seconds left in the half.
He didn´t slow down in the second half, scoring on runs of 1 and 43 yards out.