SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

San Clemente sophomore running back Austin Whitsett rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns against Dana Hills on Sept. 11. Photo: Eric Heinz
San Clemente sophomore running back Austin Whitsett rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns against Dana Hills on Sept. 11. Photo: Eric Heinz

By Steve Breazeale

For the second consecutive week, the San Clemente High School football team got off to a hot start against a nonleague opponent and did not let up.

The Tritons turned in a dominating first-half performance on the road against Dana Hills on Sept. 11, scoring on their first seven possessions of the game and emerging with a 54-7 victory.

In just eight plays, a sequence that lasted just under six minutes, the Tritons built up a commanding 21-0 lead.

Junior quarterback Jack Sears hit Brandon Reaves on a short pass, which the junior turned into a 53-yard scoring play after slipping and sliding past the Dolphins secondary. Three minutes later, senior running back Vlad Dzhabiyev stiff armed his way past a Dolphins linebacker and scampered to the end zone for a 43-yard scoring run. The Dolphins (0-3) defense kept collapsing in the middle, which allowed Sears to air out a 33-yard pass to senior receiver Liam Eldridge two minutes later for a three-score lead.

Reaves would score two more times and sophomore Austin Whitsett punched home touchdown runs of 44 and 22 yards to give San Clemente a 48-0 lead at halftime.

The first half was similar to the Tritons game against Huntington Beach last week, when they racked up a 41-7 lead after 24 minutes.

“I think the kids just realized after their week 0 loss (to San Juan Hills), nothing is given to you and you have to earn it,” head coach Jaime Ortiz said. “The kids have had a lot better practices and I think it was a good wakeup call for us and the kids have come to play.”

San Clemente senior receiver Liam Eldridge makes a leaping touchdown catch against Dana Hills on Sept. 11. Photo: Eric Heinz
San Clemente senior receiver Liam Eldridge makes a leaping touchdown catch against Dana Hills on Sept. 11. Photo: Eric Heinz

Reaves scored three touchdowns on the night, two of which were runs of 30 yards or more.

The Tritons were especially dominant in the trenches, as both the offensive and defensive lines made their presence felt early. The Tritons defensive front had four tackles for a loss, including two sacks, in the first half. Junior Isaac Rex also made a leaping interception at the line of scrimmage, setting up a 22-yard Whitsett touchdown run two plays later.

Dana Hills did not record a first down until the 9:29 mark in the second quarter.

While Reaves and Dzhabiyev showed off their breakaway speed, the Tritons offensive line, anchored by seniors Tucker Scott and Donte Harrington and junior Turner Tonkovich, created huge gaps of space for the Tritons’ skill players all night.

“(The offensive line) is meshing really well together,” Ortiz said. “The kids are really coming together as a group and that’s what you want throughout the season.”

San Clemente will face a tough opponent next week in La Mirada, the No. 7 ranked team out of the Southeast Division.

 

BECOME AN INSIDER TODAY
Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Staff

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>