MISSION VIEJO – No. 11 San Clemente took advantage of timely turnovers to beat No. 8 Capistrano Valley 35-26 Saturday in a South Coast League game at Capistrano Valley High.
San Clemente (5-4, 3-0) forced three turnovers in the second half and scored two touchdowns after turnovers.
“Defensively we got some turnovers and put pressure on the quarterback,” San Clemente coach Jaime Ortiz said. “We made him make some decisions he probably wish he could have back.”
The Tritons got momentum on their side on their final possession of the first half. Trailing 17-7, San Clemente had the ball at its 27-yard line and scored in two plays. Quarterback Brendan Costello threw a 50-yard pass to Jayden Jenkins and a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jay Baggs to cut the Capo Valley lead to three before the half.
Costello completed 15 of 25 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns.
Brendan Costello completed 15 of 25 passes for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in San Clemente's 35-26 win against Capo Valley. Tritons play Mission Viejo for the South Coast League title. @ocvarsity @Tritonfootball @brendancostello pic.twitter.com/cvDL8alohE
— Michael Huntley (@mikehuntley63) October 13, 2018
“He’s playing lights out,” Ortiz said. “There is a reason he has a Georgia offer and an Oklahoma State offer. He is one of the best quarterbacks in the county and living up to San Clemente tradition without a doubt.”
On the first series of the second half, Capo Valley was driving down the field when a big hit forced a fumble, which San Clemente recovered. Costello threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Jenkins to give the Tritons their first lead of the second half.
Jenkins had 119 yards on two catches Saturday.
Capo Valley (6-2, 0-2) answered with a scoring drive of its own. Nathan Manning scrambled and threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jack Haley for the pair’s second touchdown of the game to put the Cougars in front 24-21.
Manning completed 24 of 41 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns.
Manning set a school record for career touchdown passes with 75, passing Todd Marinovich who held the record for 30 years.
San Clemente responded with a 48-yard touchdown pass from Costello to Preston Rex to put the Tritons ahead for good.
Tritons cornerback Jake Brannon had the first of his two interceptions on the ensuing Capo possession. Brannon also had an interception late in the fourth quarter.
“They (Capo Valley) are a very explosive offense. Against Mission last week, they got a lot of momentum on big plays,” Ortiz said. “Our job defensively was to keep everything in front and when the ball is in the air, go up and get it. Our kids did a good job of doing that.”
After the Brannon interception, RJ Donaldson broke multiple tackles and ran for a 21-yard touchdown to give San Clemente a 35-24 lead.
San Clemente began the season 1-4 with close losses to tough competition. The Tritons have won four consecutive games and will play Mission Viejo for the likely South Coast League championship Friday.
“When we were 1-4, people left us for dead. Games against Torrey Pines, La Costa Canyon and Corona del Mar prepared us for games like this and for a game next week against Mission Viejo,” Ortiz said. “Credit to our kids. It was a tough nonleague schedule and sometimes kids want instant gratification, but I think in the long run it will help us.”
Capo Valley has lost two consecutive games for the first time since 2015. The Cougars host Tesoro on Friday, Oct. 19 before wrapping up the regular season at El Toro on Oct. 26.
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