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San Clemente Flies Over Esperanza, 23-14

High schools: Tritons' fly offense finally comes together and rolls through No. 3 Aztecs for 20 second-half points.


What a difference a week makes.

After suffering through his worst loss as a high school coach last week at Wildomar Elsinore, San Clemente's Eric Patton experienced perhaps his greatest victory Friday night. His Tritons, who slept through the first six quarters of the season, woke up in the second half and scored 20 points to stun third-ranked Esperanza, 23-14, in front of about 5,000 at San Clemente.

Last week, the Tritons' unconventional fly offense could muster only 71 yards. But in the second half Friday night, it was nearly unstoppable. San Clemente running backs Colin Mahoney and Chris Smith combined for 301 yards in 37 carries.

"They just ran through us like butter," Esperanza Coach Gary Meek said.

Mahoney, who transferred from Provo, Utah and became eligible only last week, squirted through the Esperanza defense for 153 yards and a touchdown in 19 rushes. He scored the game-clinching touchdown on a 14-yard run with one minute 51 seconds left and celebrated by doing a flip into the end zone.

"Me and Chris just ran the ball down their throats," said Mahoney, who hadn't played football in two years. "They were just arm-tackling us all night."

Smith had 148 yards in 18 carries, including a 79-yard sprint up the middle that set up Taylor Kunzi's go-ahead 28-yard field goal.

Said Patton: "This is what the fly does. It grinds on you all night and then you pop one loose."

Quarterback Beau Budde, who had a rough debut last week, ran the fly to perfection, and his five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kyle Posvistak brought the Tritons within two, at 14-12, with 11:56 left in the game.

With a defender in his face, he hit Posvistak with a perfect pass on an out pattern in the corner of the end zone. Budde's pass on the two-point conversion was high, but tight end Tim Burnette tipped it to himself and caught it while on his back.

That was the beginning of the Tim Burnette show. In the fourth quarter, Burnette batted down two passes and sacked Esperanza quarterback Greg Farrell twice.

Esperanza appeared to be on its way to an easy victory at halftime, leading 14-3 and dominating the Tritons on the line of scrimmage. Aztec running back Tim Sonuyi blew through San Clemente's defense for 102 yards and Farrell threw for 105 yards. The third quarter looked to be more of the same as Esperanza drove the second-half kickoff from its 20 to San Clemente's 15. But on fourth and one, Sonuyi (215 yards, 26 carries) was hammered by Triton safety Ryan King for no gain.

A Kunzi 28-yard field goal made it 14-6 and a Esperanza fumble on the kickoff set up Budde's touchdown pass.

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