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It’s been a steady climb with the San Clemente football team’s offense being largely on the shoulders of Aiden Rubin, but the senior running back continued to hit new heights and bowled over a 30-year-old record last Friday, Oct. 6.
Rubin rushed for a single-game, program-record 271 yards with three touchdowns on 24 carries, as the Tritons closed out their nonleague schedule with authority at Ayala of Chino Hills, 42-13.
The previous record was set in 1993 by Allen Vaughn with a 261-yard performance against Quartz Hills. Rubin came close to the record in San Clemente’s previous game with 249 yards in a Homecoming loss to Murrieta Valley, 39-28, on Sept. 22.
Rubin continues to lead Orange County in rushing yards with 1,175 this season. Rubin’s 16 touchdowns are second in the county to Santa Ana’s Charles Hughes (17 touchdowns), and his 147 carries are third in the county behind Tesoro’s Travis Wood and Brea Olinda’s Nathan Aceves (both with 149 carries). The Triton back is also third in the county in yards per game at 167.9, behind Esperanza’s Aaron Forsgren (189.7) and Orange’s Ardwon Morris (181.7).
Aside from his low mark of 51 yards in San Clemente’s season-opening win over Chaparral, Rubin has been rolling. The senior had rushed for 126 yards, 129 yards, 189 yards and 160 yards ahead of his last two monster performances of 249 yards and the now-record 271 yards.
Against Ayala, San Clemente senior quarterback Dylan Mills also threw two touchdown passes, both to senior tight end Broderick Redden.
Defensively, senior Max Gonzalez pulled in his third interception of the season, and junior Max Bollard grabbed his second pick of the season. Junior Matai Tagoa’i registered his fifth sack of the season, and senior Kaden Amey led the Tritons with seven tackles. Senior Ben Baker and junior Zeke Rubinstein each claimed a tackle-for-loss, and juniors Puka Fuimaono and Riley Kelley led the Tritons with four solo tackles.
Football Opens League at Rival Mission Viejo
After closing out its nonleague schedule in dominant fashion, San Clemente football’s focus now turns to its annual “Game of the Year,” as the Tritons (6-1) travel up I-5 to take on Mission Viejo (5-2) in both teams’ South Coast League opener on Friday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m.
As always, this game will set the course of the South Coast League, with the winner likely marching on to the league championship. While San Clemente has gotten its licks in against Mission Viejo in recent years, the Tritons still haven’t won on the Diablos’ field since at least last century.
Mission Viejo won last season at Thalassa Stadium for the first time in three tries under head coach Chad Johnson, with the Tritons’ wins in the delayed 2020 season and in 2018 representing San Clemente’s only wins against the Diablos since 1999. That win in 1999 was at San Clemente High School, and online records of the matchup don’t go back further than that.
However, San Clemente may have the formula that allows most football teams to prosper in harsh road environments–a powerful running game and a stout defense.
Rubin will be the key for the Tritons to stick with the Diablos and control the clock. When San Clemente has defeated Mission Viejo at home, it was in tight, drag-out affairs with a 10-7 win on a late field goal in the 2020 season and a 21-20 win in 2018 with a stuffed two-point conversion attempt late.
Mission Viejo has scored at least 28 points in six of its seven games this season with a balanced and spread-out offensive attack, but it’s not the same Diablos juggernaut the Tritons are used to seeing, with sophomores and juniors mostly leading the way.