By Zach Cavanagh

SAN CLEMENTE – Two weeks into the season, the San Clemente football team hasn’t settled on a full-time quarterback to take over the vaunted Triton QB mantle, but with the way the Tritons are balling on defense, they can take their time.

San Clemente forced four turnovers and junior James Bohls ran for three touchdowns off those turnovers to pull away from Torrey Pines, 31-7, in a nonleague game on Friday at San Clemente High School.

The Tritons (2-0) have forced seven turnovers in their first two games, with a 35-13 win over Oceanside last week that included a pick-six by junior Cole Batson.

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Batson pulled in another interception against Torrey Pines (1-1), and senior Nick Billoups grabbed another. Seniors Trey Torticill and London Hannah each recovered fumbles for San Clemente as well. Torticill has three turnovers this season with an interception and a fumble recovery against Oceanside.

“In order for us to win a league championship and win games, you’ve got to play great defense,” San Clemente coach Jaime Ortiz said. “There’s some guys back with experience, and I think it’s great to see some of our seniors like Trenton Brail and Trey Torticill step up. Our coaches put together a good game plan, and everything we scouted (Torrey Pines) did.”

Torrey Pines did play as advertised and pounded the run game out of the Wing-T offense.

After an incredible one-handed diving grab interception by Billoups was called back of a roughing the passer call, the Falcons marched down the field. Cael Helfrich ran in a 6-yard score to open the second quarter to grab the lead, 7-0, and the momentum.

Helfrich carried the ball 19 times for 105 yards.

Torrey Pines was aiming for another score on its next drive, but Batson seized the momentum back for San Clemente with his interception and a 57-yard return.

“As soon as I caught that and started running, I heard all the fans cheering,” Batson said. “I knew we had momentum after that. We just had to keep stepping on their throats and we did.”

Torrey Pines penalties set up the Tritons at the 9-yard line and then the 3-yard line for Bohls to run in his first touchdown and tie the game, 7-7.

Three plays into the Falcons next drive, Torrey Pines was stripped of the ball and Hannah recovered for San Clemente.

Senior quarterback Drayton Joseph connected with Cian Smith and Batson to set up Cole Thompson’s 45-yard field goal, which he hit with ease for the San Clemente lead, 10-7

Two plays later, Torrey Pines coughed up another fumble that was recovered by Torticill.

With Billoups in at quarterback, Batson caught a quick 12-yard pass and Bohls ran in a 16-yard touchdown for a 17-7 Triton lead going into halftime.

Torrey Pines opened the second half with the ball, but the Tritons nearly took it back twice with dropped interceptions. San Clemente muffed a punt that continued the Falcons drive, but Torrey Pines’ next punt was disastrous with a minus-9 yard net loss on the short kick and bounce.

San Clemente then put the game out of reach in a 19-second span.

Billoups exploded up the middle for a 33-yard touchdown, and on Torrey Pines’ first play after a touchback, Billoups sprang into action again with an interception and return to the Falcons’ 12-yard line.

Bohls ran for a 12-yard touchdown on San Clemente’s first play for the 31-7 lead and full command of the game.

Bohls had seven carries for 64 yards and three touchdowns.

Joseph and Billoups switched off every two series at quarterback, as they did against Oceanside. Joseph completed 5 of 10 passes for 40 yards and an interception. Billoups completed 4 of 7 passes for 26 yards.

Batson caught six passes for 41 yards.

San Clemente continues through the San Diego portion of its schedule next week at La Costa Canyon. The Tritons return home the week after for another San Diego foe against Lincoln of San Diego.


Zach Cavanagh mugshotZach Cavanagh
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports.

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