The Tritons will call on their senior, once again, to fill a void left by injury and lead the offense
By Steve Breazeale
Perhaps no one in recent San Clemente football history has had the kind of experience that senior quarterback Loren Applegate can attest to. As the backup quarterback the past two seasons, Applegate has had to patiently wait on the sidelines in case his opportunity came.
At about this time last year, Applegate was called upon to start against Newport Harbor following injuries to former quarterback Sean Donnelly and current junior Sam Darnold.
In 2013, Applegate and the Tritons find themselves in a similar scenario. After Darnold fractured his foot midway through the team’s September 12 game against Dana Hills, Applegate came on. He got his first start of the year when the Tritons took the field last week against La Costa Canyon. Now, he will lead them against Newport Harbor on Friday.
The quarterback spot at San Clemente has been a high-profile job on campus for several years. Current standout college players like Utah’s Travis Wilson and Boston College’s Chase Rettig have helped cement the Tritons’ place in the Pac-5 Division as well as provide stability.
“In the last 14 games, going back to last year, we’ve had three different quarterbacks. But in the 30-something games before that we only had two with Rettig and Wilson,” head coach Jaime Ortiz said. “There has been a lot of pressure at San Clemente at quarterback the last few years … I think Loren and (backup quarterback) Cole Fotheringham know if you’re going to play quarterback for San Clemente, you’re going to have to lead.”
Ortiz described how, with Darnold sidelined, the Tritons had to change their offense in three short days in the buildup to the La Costa Canyon game. In the games started by Darnold, the Tritons ran a spread offense that played into Darnold’s running ability. Now, with Applegate, they are switching to a pro-style that features a fullback and more tight end looks.
We caught up with Applegate to get his thoughts on the starting job, his past and the future.
San Clemente Times: You’re stepping in just a few weeks into the season again. This has to be a feeling of déjà vu for you, right?
Loren Applegate: Not really. To be honest, I had a feeling that I might need to step in. I’m loving the job, doing what I can with the ball. It’s a big step up, like last year. But now I’m a senior and I have more of a leadership role.
SCT: What did you learn last year that you plan to use this year?
LA: I have more experience and game reps. I know what to do in certain times during the game. Just the experience of being out there, really. I feel it more.
SCT: How did you feel during the La Costa Canyon game?
LA: I felt a lot better than I did coming into the Dana Hills game. I was a little bit more confident in myself … I felt way stronger. I give that up to my offensive line and running backs doing most of the work.
SCT: Thoughts on the Newport Harbor game?
LA: We are preparing for them just like any other team. We just have to find those weaknesses. They’re a very good team. We have to have perfection throughout practices and play perfect in the game.
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