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, FOSTER SNELL, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
San Clemente's Brandon Reaves, right, stops quickly to make a move around Palos Verdes' Cooper Gardner during their game Friday night.

San Clemente looks sharp at home in win over Palos Verdes

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

SAN CLEMENTE – A tough nonleague schedule led No. 9 San Clemente to an up-and-down opening to its season, and it didn’t look to get easier with Palos Verdes, ranked seventh in CIF-SS Division 3, coming to town.

“Iron sharpens iron,” San Clemente coach Jamie Ortiz said.

San Clemente looked plenty sharp as the Tritons took down Palos Verdes, 28-7, at San Clemente High on Friday night.

“For us, that was just a good test to see where we’re at,” Ortiz said. “They’re a quality program. I thought it was a good game for our kids tonight.”

After stopping Palos Verdes (2-2) on fourth down and a penalty extending San Clemente’s opening drive – two themes for the Sea Kings – Jack Sears got San Clemente (3-2) on the board first.

Sears hit Brandon Reaves on a 4-yard out for a 7-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Sears hit Keith Jones three times on one series including a 8-yard touchdown pass for a two-score lead.

Palos Verdes responded by grinding it out and controlling the clock.

The Sea Kings drove 85 yards in 7:32. Anthony Messori punched it in from 3 yards out to cut the Palos Verdes deficit in half, 14-7.

Messori ran for 74 yards on 14 carries.

Reaves turned the tables on the ensuing kickoff, running and cutting across the field for a 72-yard return before losing steam deep into Palos Verdes territory.

“I was trying to finish sprinting, but my legs gave out,” Reaves said. “I couldn’t run anymore.”

Austin Whitsett cashed in with a 12-yard touchdown run for a 21-7 San Clemente lead at halftime.

Palos Verdes came out hard to start the second half by bursting into the San Clemente backfield and crushing Sears on an opening three-and-out.

Sears would come out of the game after that series, but Ortiz said it was just precautionary.

After stopping Palos Verdes on fourth down twice, Reaves hurled the second half of a double pass 61 yards to Chase Berman.

Sander Lush, Sears’ replacement at quarterback, dove in on a 1-yard keeper for a 28-7 lead.

Palos Verdes was stopped on fourth down five times in the game.

“It’s a gambling situation for them,” Ortiz said. “You live and die by it. For us, we were able to make those plays and get our offense the ball. It’s a testament to our defense.”

Between the fourth down stops and nine penalties for 80 yards, Palos Verdes had trouble establishing any offensive flow.

Palos Verdes quarterback Jake Nolls finished 7 of 15 passing for 103 yards.


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