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San Clemente running back DeAndre James tries to stiff arm a La Costa Canyon defender in the first quarter of Friday night's game.
Go to the OCVarsity Hot Shots slide show to see all of the photos from this game.

San Clemente wins battle with La Costa Canyon


CARLSBAD - Those who looked at San Clemente as a mystery team this season based on its early season schedule might have received an answer as to how good the ninth-ranked Tritons are.

San Clemente (4-0) started fast and finished strong with help from a dominant defense to defeat San Diego Section power La Costa Canyon (2-1) in a nonleague game, 21-10, on Friday night at La Costa Canyon.

Senior Christian Bailey, who ran for 88 yards, put the game away with a 33-yard touchdown run with 5:29 left in the game. It was Bailey’s second touchdown of the night. His first put the Tritons up by a touchdown in the first quarter.


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“Coach Wood, our running backs coach, always tells us to keep our feet moving and that’s what I did. I kept them moving and kept them pumping,” Bailey said. “I followed big 77 Sean Harlow, saw some daylight and got to the promiseland.”

While Bailey did damage on offense, it was the Triton defense that won the game. San Clemente forced a fumble and intercepted two passes from Mavericks quarterback Jake Sesti.

Aside from a 48-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left, when the game was already out of reach, and a third-quarter field goal, the Tritons played stout defense.

“We played really well,” San Clemente head coach Jamie Ortiz said. “The kids played hard all game long. We got pressure on the quarterback; I have no idea how many sacks we got, but it was a good team effort with all 11 guys playing hard.”

The most impressive part of the Tritons’ victory might have been that they won despite not having the services of starting quarterback Sean Donnelly for much of the game.

San Clemente used Loren Applegate and Sam Darnold in place of Donnelly, who left the game because of what appeared to be a shoulder injury after the first series of the game. Darnold, a sophomore, provided an offensive spark by running for 33 yards.

“Sam Darnold is one of the better athletes on our football team,” Ortiz said. “He’s only a sophomore and he’s got a bright future in front of him.”

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