HUNTINGTON BEACH—San Clemente’s defense forced two second-half turnovers and played a key role in the Tritons turning a 7-7 halftime score into a 31-7 blowout win over Edison on Friday night, Sept. 16, at Sheue Field.
The Tritons’ offensive line was the steady force on the other side of the ball, keeping quarterback Dylan Mills clean most of the night and providing room for steady gains on the ball.
Cole Herlean’s seven catches and 77 receiving yards played into Mills’ 13-20 night passing for 117 yards; Aiden Rubin led the way rushing with 20 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
Head coach Jaime Ortiz said the offensive line was a big part of the Tritons’ second-half surge.
“We knew we’re gonna have to open up the pass game a little bit to get their front off us and I think we were able to do that,” he said. “Then, of course, Aiden Rubin had another heck of a game and we were able to control the ball at the line of scrimmage and control the tempo.”
San Clemente (5-0) remains undefeated with the win, and can boast another performance in which its defense stood out.
The Tritons held Chargers quarterback Save Niumata to completing just seven of his 19 passing attempts for 128 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Eighty of those yards came on a deep sideline pass to Mason York in the first quarter, with York cruising in to put Edison on top, 7-0, for its first and only points of the game.
Chargers running back Julius Gillick was the only major headache for San Clemente. Gillick frequently ran through tacklers on his way to a 17-carry, 98-yard performance, but the Tritons managed to stop Edison drives before they became too close for comfort.
“They have some good athletes on the perimeter and a good running back,” Ortiz said of the Chargers. “That’s part of the preseason games, just trying to get better every week.”
Edison (1-3) leaned on Gillick while down 10-7 in the third quarter, during a drive that sought to draw the game back to even or give the Chargers the lead again.
Instead, the Tritons swarmed the backfield, forcing Gillick to fumble, and Matai Tagoai’i swooped in and took the ball 40 yards to set up San Clemente at the Edison 18-yard-line.
An Edison personal foul got the Tritons even closer, and Rubin evaded defenders on the next play for a 9-yard score to extend the lead to 17-7.
San Clemente followed that up by forcing a Charger punt, and the offense matriculated downfield before Rubin exploded for a 45-yard touchdown to seal the deal.
After Riley Kelley’s diving interception, his second of the day, set up the Tritons at the Charger 11, Cole Herlean out jumped two defenders for a 14-yard passing score that put the cherry on top.
San Clemente looks to defend its unbeaten streak at home next Friday, Sept. 22, against Murrieta Valley (3-1).