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San Clemente coach Jamie Ortiz, left, greets Edison coach Dave White as team members of seven Orange County high school football teams and their head coaches attended the 41st Annual CIF Southern Section Football Press Conference and Luncheon at The Grand in Long Beach on Monday, November 23, 2016. (Photo by Sam Gangwer , Orange County Register/SCNG)

San Clemente isn't thinking about its painful past in the finals

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

LONG BEACH – For the third year in a row, San Clemente and coach Jamie Ortiz enjoyed the meal provided at the CIF-SS football championship luncheon in Long Beach.

Rather than revel in the last two luncheons or dwell on the reminder that two championship losses followed, Ortiz and the Tritons are focused on the here and now.

“I don’t know if it’s old hat,” Ortiz said about the Monday event. “Every year it’s a pleasure and an honor to be here. There’s a lot of quality programs, quality coaches. The opportunity to be here and break bread with them is something I look forward to.”

San Clemente lost the last two Southwest Division Finals, falling in an epic contest against La Habra, 39-36, in 2015, and to Trabuco Hills, 44-37, in 2014.

No matter the circumstances or the history, the Tritons’ mindset is on 2016 and more directly on Friday’s game at Murrieta Valley.

“There are a lot of kids that played last year and a lot of kids that are new,” Ortiz said. “I think that the last 13 games prepared them for this game. I think that’s the most important thing.”

“At the end of the day, it’s about 17- or 18-year-old kids going out there and playing football on a 120-yard field. That’s what it’s all about. “

LOSS OR LESSON

San Clemente has three losses on its record, but Ortiz sees those losses as positives for his group.

“Every time you lose a game it can be a loss or it can be a lesson,” Ortiz said. “For our kids, every time we’ve lost it’s been a lesson. We’ve grown from it.”

The Tritons lost their opener, 51-42, to Oceanside, the 2015 CIF-San Diego Section Division 1 champion. They also lost, 43-14, to La Mirada (a CIF-SS Division 3 finalist) and 41-3 to Mission Viejo (2015 CIF State Division 1-AA champion).

“In order to be in these championship games, you have to play against high-quality opponents,” Ortiz said. “When you play Oceanside, La Mirada, Mission, those are teams that prepare you for this event on Friday night.”


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