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We break down 10 San Clemente football players, five on offense and five on defense, primed to have a big season
By Steve Breazeale
C (No. 74), Sr.
As a three-year varsity player, Maxwell will provide experience and skill at the line for the Tritons and has emerged as a team leader over the summer. Maxwell has a wrestling background and relies on his size and technique to move bodies up front.
QB (No. 18), Jr.
Darnold is one of the most dynamic athletes in the area and he possesses a varied set of skills that make him the favorite to start under center for the Tritons on opening day. Darnold, who picked up an offer from the University of Utah in the offseason, is a big and mobile quarterback who should keep defenses on their toes.
TE (No. 88), Sr.
Wright is a three-year varsity player who head coach Jaime Ortiz expects to have a big year. Last season he started for the Tritons on both offense and defense and will do so again in 2013. He will play tight end as well as linebacker. Wright will be a big target for the Tritons quarterbacks to throw to and he has shown he can block on the line.
WR (No. 83), Sr.
Heaton is one of the few seniors in the Tritons receiving corps and has built up a rapport with both Sam Darnold and Loren Applegate, the Tritons’ two quarterbacks. Heaton is new to the football program but will look solidify his place on the depth charts.
RB (No. 30), Soph.
Dzhabiyev is one of the youngest players on the San Clemente roster but is quickly making an impact. He is slated to be the starting tailback when the Tritons take to the field for the season opener. Dzhabiyev is small in size but has strength and speed and is feeling more comfortable in the offense as the practices pile up.
FS (No. 22), Sr.
Zines had a solid junior campaign and will be among the more experienced players on the Tritons defense. At the cornerback spot last year Zines had 48 total tackles and grabbed a team-high two interceptions. Zines is making the switch to free safety this year.
DE (No. 11), Sr.
Benoit should be a force on the defensive line for the Tritons this season. He is among the strongest players on the team and was the resident sack master in 2012, leading the team with nine sacks. He will look to up that number in 2013.
MLB (No. 8), Sr.
Lyttle was more of a role player in 2012 but has been given the nod to start at middle linebacker for the Tritons defense. Lyttle has shown Ortiz he has the ability to read opposing offenses and will be the general of the defense.
SS (No. 19), Sr.
Garrett was injured for a stretch in 2012 and played some time at wide receiver. This season he has made the switch to defense and will occupy a spot in the secondary at strong safety. Garrett and Zines will make up a speedy defensive pairing who aim to disrupt opposing quarterbacks’ efforts.
DE (No. 34), Sr.
O’Brien did not see much time last year on varsity but has been thrust into the role of defensive end for his senior year. O’Brien is slated to platoon with Benoit at the spot.