Tuesday's Blitz: San Clemente isn't worried about QB situation


Tuesday's OCVarsity Blitz takes a look at what is happening at the football practices and camps around the county.


NEXT MAN UP: San Clemente has had to replace star quarterbacks before.

Whether it was Chase Rettig, now with the San Diego Chargers, or Travis Wilson, the starting quarterback at Utah, each one had a replacement. The same is true as the Tritons look to fill the spot left by last year’s county player of the year, Sam Darnold, who is now at USC.

“We have a proud tradition of quarterback play,” San Clemente coach Jaime Ortiz said. “The kids know it’s next man up. It’s a pretty prestigious position for us.”

It’s a three-way battle at quarterback between juniors Jack Sears and Sander Lush and sophomore Doug Jackson. All three players are similar in size - Sears and Jackson at 6-foot-3 and Lush at 6-2 - although Sears is 15-30 pounds heavier than the other two.

“They’re all pretty similar players,” Ortiz said. “All have little nuances that will separate them once we get the pads on.”

Last season, Darnold put up 2,985 yards passing and 39 touchdowns. Darnold was also second on the team in rushing with 785 yards and tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with 13.

THUNDER AND LIGHTNING: In the backfield, San Clemente will be bolstered by the return of their top two running backs, senior Vlad Dzhabiyev and junior Brandon Reaves.

Dubbed a “Thunder and Lightning” duo on the team’s social media accounts, Dzhabiyev led the Tritons with 1,149 yards rushing in 2014 and Reaves was third with 645 yards. Both were tied with Darnold for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with 13.

“Brandon and Vlad are two of the best running backs in the county,” Ortiz said. “Vlad is a hard-nosed kid and the toughest player on our team. Brandon showed glimpses of explosiveness last season.”

UTAH CONNECTION: Wilson is entering his senior season at Utah, but some fellow Tritons will be following him to Salt Lake City.

Seniors tight end Cole Fotheringham and left tackle Tucker Scott have committed to Utah.

“They know it’s a stop they have to make,” Ortiz said of the Utah staff. “They like our type of players. Hard-nosed with a good football IQ. They come in, build a relationship with a player and it gives opportunities for other players. Utah is also not afraid to make a move early on.”


SHANKS PREPPED FOR BIG YEAR: While St. Margaret’s lost one of its top playmakers from a year ago, running back Oscar Gomez Jr., it retains arguably its greatest impact player in Nick Shanks.

“Nick Shanks is going to have a huge year,” St. Margaret’s coach Stephen Barbee said.

Shanks contributed in every phase of the game as a junior for the Tartans last season. Shanks led the team in all-purpose yards with 2,597 yards, including a team-high 819 receiving yards, 500 punt return yards and 486 kick return yards. He was second on the team with 688 yards rushing.

Shanks also added three interceptions, a fumble recovery and blocked field goal last season.

Shanks scored 26 total touchdowns for St. Margaret’s last season finding the end zone once in every 4.6 touches of the football.

who led the Tartans with 2,392 yards and 38 touchdowns on the ground,

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