By Cheynne Lee
The second-ranked San Clemente Tritons beat out cross town rival Dana Hills in their second league game of the season. It was Homecoming for the Tritons, and they did not disappoint as they dominated the Dolphins 35-10.
The win moves the Tritons to 8-0 and this season, while the Dolphins drop to 3-5.
The Tritons opened the game with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that culminated into a three- yard touchdown run by halfback Mike Elespuru that put them up 7-0. Elespuru rushed for 146 yards on 20 carriers along with a pair of touchdowns.
The Dolphins quickly responded and gave San Clemente some trouble, as quarterback Shane Scambray hooked up with receiver Hunter Briggs on a 50-yard flea flicker for a touchdown that tied the game 7-7. On their next series, Dana Hills took the lead 10-7 on a 34-yard field goal by kicker Logan Warren. The Tritons defense stood its ground as the Dolphins failed to score a touchdown inside the 5 yard line.
But San Clemente proved why they were the second-ranked team in the Pac-5 Division and answered with another 80-yard drive. Elespuru led this offensive charge, breaking for a 44-yard run on a third and two on their own 28-yard line. Quarterback Travis Wilson displayed his athleticism and willingness to give his all as he hurdled a Dana Hills defender on a third and nine play, as he picked up 16 yards for the first down in the red zone. Elespuru took it into the end zone from eight yards out and put the Tritons back up 14-10.
Wilson had a big night, completing 11 of his 18 passes for 205 yards, rushed for 47 yards and threw two touchdowns, but also recorded an interception.
The Tritons completely upended their opponent in the second half. The defense kept Dana Hills pinned on their half of the field on every single one of their series in this half. On the night, the defense recorded three sacks and an interception, and the Tritons did not have difficulty penetrating the Dolphins’ line throughout the match.
A 25-yard pass to tight end Chris French at the end of the third quarter put the Tritons up 21-10. On their next series halfback Landon Cook took it up the middle for a 60-yard touchdown run which extended their lead to 28-10. Then, on their next series, Wilson launched a pass to a wide open receiver, Christian Tober for a 62-yard touchdown. This was the Tritons’ last score as they iced the game, up 35-10. After two defensive stops, the Tritons ran the clock out with 3:03 left in the game.
“I thought we executed better in the pass game, so we were more balanced which is nice to see, [Dana Hills] did some things that caused us to make some adjustments, other than that I’m pleased, we’re out injury free and we’re ready to move on to stop number nine on our schedule,” said Tritons head coach Jon Hamro.
San Clemente now looks to their next opponent, No. 3 Mission Viejo next week for their third league game.
“We’re going to practice hard, I mean we know it going to be a touch game but, we’re going to practice hard and we’re going to pick this up,” Wilson said after the win over the Dolphins.
The Tritons will visit the Diablos next Friday at Mission Viejo High School. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.