After watching his team fumble six times, turning it over four times, the inspired Tutogi scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 4:30 to give the Spartans a thrilling 20-16 Mesa League victory over Bonita Vista last night at Southwestern College.
“Even though we were down, I knew we couldn't give up,” said the 6-foot-2, 255-pound running back.
Trailing 16-7 with 5:27 left, the Spartan offense got its first big break when quarterback Victor Perez (9-of-16, 150 yards) hit a diving Aaron Taylor for a 43-yard pickup at the Bonita Vista 3. Two plays later, Tutogi went over left tackle for a 2-yard score with 4:30 left to play.
Then it was the Spartan defense's turn to shine, with Tutogi again leading the way. After Tutogi threw running back John Valdez for a 3-yard loss, a pair of incompleted passes and a punt gave Chula Vista the ball back with barely a minute run off the clock.
“You never know what the other team is thinking, whether to run or throw, but no matter what, we had to make the play,” said Chula Vista coach Judd Rachow.
With the ball at the Bonita Vista 43, Tutogi (18 carries, 92 yards, 3 TDs) took four straight handoffs. On the fourth he followed younger brother Thomas Tutogi and defensive lineman Angelo Morales to power in over the left side from a yard out with 2:05 left.
The Spartans (5-2 overall, 2-0 Mesa League) found success quickly. Mario Morales returned the opening kickoff 55 yards to the Bonita Vista 36. Seven plays later, Chula Vista scored on an 11-yard run by Tutogi.