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Through three games of the 2023 season, one thing is more than clear about the San Clemente football team. The Triton defense is relentless.
San Clemente nearly posted its second consecutive shutout with dominant defensive and ground performances in a win over La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad, 28-3, last Friday, Sept. 1, at Thalassa Stadium.
The Tritons (3-0) host their first in-county test of the season against Corona del Mar (2-1) this Friday, Sept. 8. It will be Military and First Responders Appreciation Night at Thalassa Stadium.
San Clemente has allowed just 13 points in three games, and the Tritons did not allow a point over eight consecutive quarters until a late field goal by La Costa Canyon marked up the clean sheet.
Photos by Alan Gibby/Zone57
The Tritons forced two turnovers by the Mavericks last Friday on interceptions by junior Lee “Puka” Fuimaono and senior Max Gonzalez. Fuimaono led the Tritons in tackles for a third straight game with seven, including two tackles-for-loss and five solo tackles. San Clemente’s “Max” secondary of Gonzalez and juniors Max Bollard and Max Kotiranta each contributed five tackles, with Gonzalez and Bollard also each breaking up a pass.
Offensively, San Clemente did its damage on the ground with senior Aiden Rubin leading the way on 16 carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Colin Kohl, a junior, also scored twice on the ground with nine carries for 48 yards. Quarterback Dylan Mills, a senior, completed 11 of 21 passes for 162 yards, with Cole Herlean being the top target. Herlean caught six passes for 81 yards.
Defense and the ball control provided by a strong running game will be integral for success this week for the Tritons as they go on the road to take on Corona del Mar.
The Sea Kings showed off a potent passing attack in their first two games in a 34-23 win at Downey and a 41-24 triumph over Cypress. Senior quarterback Annett Kaleb threw for three touchdowns in the first game and four touchdowns and over 300 yards in the second game. Senior receiver Russell Weir caught nine passes for 141 yards against Downey and eight passes for 174 yards against Cypress.
However, Corona del Mar was limited last week in a home loss to the Sea Kings of Palos Verdes, 14-11. Kaleb threw just one touchdown pass, but Weir still caught eight passes for 90 yards. Palos Verdes also ran the ball well with nearly 200 yards and both of its touchdowns on the ground.
San Clemente snapped a three-game losing streak to Corona del Mar last year at Thalassa Stadium in a 23-6 win.