San Clemente quarterback Loren Applegate looks to pass with La Costa Canyon's Andrew DeMarco and Andrew Hofstretter close in for a sack on Friday evening.

San Clemente defense not enough vs. La Costa Canyon


SAN CLEMENTE – In its first full game without injured quarterback Sam Darnold, the San Clemente football team got a huge boost from its defense.

Unfortunately for the Tritons, it wasn't enough to get them over the hump on multiple opportunities to tie or take a lead.

La Costa Canyon twice kept the Tritons out of the end zone from within the 5-yard line in the second half and held on for a 16-13 win over San Clemente despite being shut out over the final 27:01.

“The defense played pretty well and swarmed to the ball and played a good game,” said Tritons coach Jaime Ortiz, whose team fell to 2-2 with its second straight loss. “They kept us in the possibility to try and win the entire time.”

San Clemente recovered four turnovers, with two coming in the second half, including a recovery of a fumbled snap by senior linebacker Garrett Fernandez with 3:53 to play.

That play gave the Tritons a short 38-yard field while trailing, 16-13, but the Tritons gave the ball right back on downs with 2:21 left, allowing the Mavericks (2-1) to run out the clock.

Sophomore defensive back Tanner Wright, who also had a fumble return for a touchdown in the first half, intercepted La Costa Canyon quarterback Jake Mann to give the Tritons possession at their 39 trailing, 16-10.

The ensuing 10-play drive stretched all the way to the Mavericks' 2, where quarterback Loren Applegate rolled left on fourth down to pass, then tucked it and ran right, but was met by a tackler at the 1.

A 15-yard punt return by Collin Zines set up the Tritons with a 36-yard field on their first possession of the fourth. They had to settle for a 21-yard Blake Gonzalez field goal when Applegate's third-down shot at the end zone from the 4 was tipped out of bounds.

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