By Zach Cavanagh
SAN CLEMENTE – Living by the ocean, you’re going to pick up a little rust from that sea-salt air, but the San Clemente football team knocked off just enough summer rust to capture its second consecutive Battle of the Base match-up in its season opener on Friday night.
RJ Donaldson ran for 149 yards and three touchdowns, including a 70-yard burst, and Ray Ferrell came up with two score-saving turnovers in the end zone to power San Clemente over Oceanside, 34-19, in a nonleague game at San Clemente High School.
VIDEO: Highlights of San Clemente’s season-opening win over Oceanside, 34-19. @SCHSTritons @Tritonfootball @rjdonaldson_ @RayyFerrell @brendancostello @jaydeljenkins @SCTimesNews #SanClemente pic.twitter.com/2kg81wgGOm
— SouthOCsports (@SouthOCsports) August 18, 2018
“Got a little bit of rust, things we’ve got to work on,” San Clemente coach Jaime Ortiz said. “I thought defensively we settled down in the second quarter and started imposing our will a little bit. Offensively, I thought we were pretty clean for the most part. Thankfully we got two turnovers down inside our red zone. The second half we just took control of the game.”
San Clemente (1-0) put out a steady dose of Donaldson who carried the ball 14 times and scored on runs of six, three and 70 yards. His third score was the last of the game and essentially put Oceanside (0-1) away in the third quarter.
“I just read my defense and my blockers the whole time,” Donaldson said. “My blockers were good for me. I thanked them all night long.”
The Tritons’ defense had to battle with Oceanside’s athletic quarterback, Kyrin Beachem. Beachem accounted for three scores, two in the air and one on the ground, as the teams traded tallies early in the first half.
Ferrell and the defense bent but didn’t break to keep San Clemente ahead the entire game.
With San Clemente leading 14-7, Beachem looked to tie the game, but Ferrell played him from the secondary and snuffed out the Oceanside attack.
“I saw the quarterback coming out and I saw his eyes peek to me,” Ferrell said. “So I was just baiting him as long as I could, then I just came up trying to make a play.”
In the second quarter, Oceanside drove to the San Clemente goal line with a shot to take the lead with the Tritons ahead by only a point, 20-19.
San Clemente stuffed the Pirates’ attempt and pulled the ball loose in the scrum. Ferrell was able to pounce on the ball for his second turnover.
“They score both those times and it’s a different ball game,” Ortiz said. “Good job by our defense not quitting and making those plays in the end.”
During the summer, Ortiz said the offense needed to form a connection with quarterback Brendan Costello and his new receivers. That work paid dividends in the opener as Costello found a new favorite target in receiver Jaydel Jenkins.
On San Clemente’s opening play, Costello hit Jenkins for a 47-yard completion that set up Donaldson’s first score.
Just before halftime, Costello and Jenkins hooked up for a 44-yard bomb and a 16-yard touchdown three plays later.
Costello finished 11 of 16 passing for 168 yards and a touchdown. Jenkins caught eight passes for 139 yards and a touchdown.
San Clemente sticks with San Diego competition out of the Avocado League next week when they travel to Torrey Pines on Aug. 24. Torrey Pines is ranked No. 2 in the San Diego Section.
San Clemente 34, Oceanside 19
San Clemente 14-13-7-0–34
Passing: SC – Costello 11-16, 168 yards, TD; OS – Beachem 15-22, 212 yards, 2 TD
Rushing: SC – Donaldson 14-149, Bohls 12-72, Costello 8-64; OS – Beachem 9-64, Tua 4-10, Apodaca 1-11
Receiving: SC – Jenkins 8-139, Smith 1-18, Baggs 1-8; OS – Moncrief 3-63, York 4-62, Tua 3-47