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San Clemente junior quarterback Jack Sears, seen here in a summer practice, rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown in the Tritons loss to San Juan Hills on Aug. 28. Photo: Steve Breazeale
San Clemente junior quarterback Jack Sears, seen here in a summer practice, rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown in the Tritons loss to San Juan Hills on Aug. 28. Photo: Steve Breazeale

By Steve Breazeale

For in-game updates, scores, news and more for all of the San Clemente High School fall sports programs, follow us on Twitter @SouthOCsports.

Stallions Storm Past Tritons in Season Opener

San Juan Hills’ senior quarterback Patrick O’Brien and junior receiver Jacob Huff wanted to take the strong connection they formed on the field last year and carry it into the new season. When the Stallions hosted San Clemente on Aug. 28 in both teams’ season opener, the two looked like they were already in midseason form and definitely on the same page.

O’Brien and Huff shined in the opening half, linking up for two touchdown passes and igniting an offense that smoothly produced a 34-20 victory over the top-ranked team in the CIF-SS Southwest Division.

O’Brien, a Nebraska commit, completed 30 of 37 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns. Huff, who caught touchdown passes from two- and 11-yards out on the Stallions first two drives to build a 13-0 lead, reeled in 16 catches for 201 yards.

The Tritons were held scoreless in the first half and, despite outscoring San Juan Hills 20-7 over the final two quarters, had no answer for the Stallions balanced first-half offensive attack, which also featured three running backs piling up 84 combined yards.

“We wanted to prove something tonight. I feel like we did that. San Clemente, they came back in the second half and played a great game … every guy deserves this win,” O’Brien said.

San Clemente (0-1) could not sustain any of their early drives, and the Stallions defense, led by linemen Jared Aviles, Eman Talle and JJ Glass, got to the Tritons junior starting quarterback Jack Sears early in the game.

However, many of the Tritons’ woes were self-inflicted.

A costly Sears fumble that was recovered by San Juan Hills inside their own 10-yard line halted what could have been a game-tying drive by San Clemente. O’Brien quickly led his team down the field for a scoring drive and a 13-0 lead.

On the Tritons next possession, Sears hit senior running back Vlad Dzhabiyev for a 60-yard pass that would have been a touchdown, if not for the holding call against San Clemente that brought it all the way back.

“It’s a game of momentum and we lost the turnover battle tonight,” San Clemente head coach Jaime Ortiz said. “It’s not physical, it’s more mental, about making sure we are disciplined … In a game like this, when you spot San Juan Hills 20 points it comes back to bite you.”

A Tim Newman touchdown run and an eight-yard scoring strike from O’Brien to Cayden McCluskey put San Juan Hills up 27-0 and the game ultimately out of reach.

San Juan Hills relied on a rotating group of three running backs to keep their drives alive. The trio of Devin Wegis, Cole Suchesk and Brock Cazel combined for 144 total yards.

San Clemente got on the board in the third quarter following an interception returned for a touchdown by sophomore cornerback Branden Wilson.

In the fourth quarter Sears broke through for a 59-yard scrambling touchdown run and, on San Clemente’s next possession, found Dzhabiyev for an eight-yard touchdown pass that made it 34-20. Sears, in his first varsity start, went 9-18 for 105 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He led the game in rushing yards, taking 14 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown.

San Clemente will look to rebound when they host Huntington Beach on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.

The Oilers (1-0) easily defeated West Adams 57-14 in their Week 0 matchup. Huntington Beach played an extremely efficient game on offense and recorded five turnovers and a blocked punt on defense.

The team’s junior quarterback, Kobee Lagarde, had only five pass attempts but he completed them all for 124 yards and four touchdowns. Senior running back Hunter Simmons had only seven carries but rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown. Huntington Beach defenders record four sacks in the win.

The Tritons and Oilers squared off in Week 1 last season in what was one of the more memorable games of the nonleague schedule. Down 21-14 at the half, San Clemente burst into the second half firing on all cylinders, outscoring Huntington Beach 30-0 over the final 24 minutes to earn the win.

Tritons Golf Opens With Win Over Mustangs

Olivia French carded a 35 (-1) on the front-nine at Dove Canyon Country Club to lead the San Clemente girls golf team past Trabuco Hills in the first match of the season on Sept. 1. French had three birdies in her round and earned medalist honors.

The Tritons (1-0) will host the Mustangs at Talega Golf Club on Sept. 3.

Volleyball to Host Chargers

The San Clemente girls volleyball team will host Edison at home on Sept. 3 in a re-match from last year’s playoffs. The last team the Chargers faced in 2014 was San Clemente, when the Tritons swept Edison 3-0 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1AA Championships.

San Clemente, under the guidance of then first-year head coach Tom Beard, is coming off a season that saw them go 19-10 overall and 6-2 in league play. The Tritons advanced to the second round of the playoffs, where they lost to Lakewood.

Cross Country Set For Meet With Hawks

The San Clemente boys and girls cross country teams will toe the starting line for the first time this season against Laguna Hills on Sept. 12. One week after the meet against the Hawks, the Tritons will compete in the Woodbridge Invitational, a historically competitive meet.

Boys Water Polo Readies for New Season

As usual, the South Coast League will be filled with talented water polo squads in 2015. In the CIF-SS preseason rankings, which were issued Aug. 31, Dana Hills and El Toro were ranked No. 2 and No. 7, respectively. Dana Hills won the league title last season. The San Clemente boys water polo team was considered, but starts the season outside the top-10 bubble.

The Tritons head into the new season following a third-place finish in league and appearance in the second round of the playoffs in 2014. San Clemente will begin its season on the road against Carlsbad on Sept. 17.

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