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The San Clemente football team takes a knee after their 59-6 victory over Jordan on August 30. Photo by Steve Breazeale
The San Clemente football team takes a knee after their 59-6 victory over Jordan on August 30. Photo by Steve Breazeale

By Steve Breazeale

In a thoroughly dominant performance the San Clemente football team breezed their way past visiting Jordan of Long Beach 59-6 in their non-league season opener on August 30.

The Tritons were in control from the opening whistle.

They scored on all five of their first-half possessions and kept the Panthers (0-1) off the field with a strong defensive showing. Jordan failed to earn a first down until the final minute of the first quarter. At the half, the Tritons (1-0) held a comfortable 38-0 lead.

While Jordan was struggling to find any sort of early rhythm, the Tritons were busy working their run game. In his first varsity game, sophomore running back Vlad Dzhabiyev showed why head coach Jaime Ortiz and staff gave him the starting job. Dzhabiyev carried the ball 11 times, rushing for 80 yards and three touchdowns, including two first-half scoring runs.

“Vlad had a huge game. He’s going to be a good player for these next three years,” junior quarterback Sam Darnold said.

With Dzhabiyev on the run, Darnold kept the Panthers defense honest, as he passed for 53 yards and a touchdown. He also showed off his dual-threat capability by running for 88 yards and another touchdown.

The defensive starters, who were on the field for essentially the entire first half, held Jordan to just three total yards of offense and forced two fumbles in the first 24 minutes of play.

Jordan attempted to run a zone read throughout the contest and the Tritons defensive line was able to sniff out the trickery and suppress any kind of forward momentum.

The Tritons capitalized on the Panther’s many mistakes, including a fumble at midfield which senior safety Collin Zines swooped up and ran 20 yards for a touchdown to put things at 20-0 with three minutes to go in the first quarter.

Jordan would fumble again less than two minutes later, only this time it was San Clemente junior defensive lineman Chicho Rodriguez who recovered it.

The second half started with Dzhabiyev’s third and final touchdown, which made it 45-0. Minutes later, after being pinned down inside their own 10-yard line, the Panthers lost control of the ball in the end zone and senior defensive lineman Liam Buhl pounced on it for the touchdown.

“We had a good flow. The kids did a good job executing the game plan,” Ortiz said. “We were able to control the ball on offense and not let them run their stuff … We played pretty well in regards to flying around and making plays. That’s probably the fastest we’ve looked in a while”

It was a step in the right direction for the Tritons, who will host Cabrillo on September 6 in their second tilt of the 2013 season.

Game Notes:

– San Clemente senior tight end Jason Wright caught three passes for 27 yards and a touchdown.

– Aside from his first-half fumble recovery, Rodriguez also tallied a sack late in the game.

– Jordan sophomore quarterback Elijah Thompson was replaced late in the game by junior DeOliver Walker, who provided an energetic boost. He broke off for a 48-yard rushing touchdown with the clock winding down to provide Jordan with their only score of the night.

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