By Steve Breazeale
The San Clemente High School football team will open Sea View League play tonight with a game against visiting Capistrano Valley at 7 p.m.
Both teams are ranked inside the CIF-SS Southwest Division poll. The Tritons (5-1) are currently in the top spot while the Cougars (5-1) sit at No. 6. Although it is only the first game of a new four-game season, this one will have league title implications, given the high level both programs are playing to at the moment.
Needless to say, it’s a big game for both sides.
The Cougars boast multiple playmakers on an offense that is led by senior Gavin Pruett. Pruett has had a very efficient season, completing just over 60 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He is averaging 227 yards passing per game.
Pruett has thrown at least two touchdowns to four different receivers and has connected with senior Adam Gordon for five scoring strikes.
Junior running back Jordon Bocko compliments the passing attack by averaging 62 rushing yards per game.
The Tritons offense put up points against Tesoro last week but could not stop the one-two punch of quarterback Devon Modster and running back Anthony Battista. San Clemente will look to stymie the combo of Pruett and Bocko tonight.
The San Clemente defense made several nice plays against the Titans, including forcing a fumble that senior linebacker Riley Whimpey returned for a touchdown, but fell victim to the big pass-play several times.
Tritons quarterback Sam Darnold increased his touchdown count to 19 on the season after throwing two last week. Junior running back Vlad Dzhabiyev had one of his most productive games of the year, running for 91 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 23 yards and a touchdown.
San Clemente has played the tougher nonleague schedule in the buildup to the match. But the Cougars have taken on their fair share of tough opponents, pulling off a win over San Juan Hills and playing El Toro close.