Previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California: No. 16 San Clemente Tritons

SBLive California is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in the state ahead of the 2020-2021 season. Even with the season on hold, we will continue to highlight the best teams, players and coaches in California. Here’s an inside look at the San Clemente Tritons of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 16 team in our countdown.

MORE: PRESEASON TOP 50 PREVIEWS

SAN CLEMENTE TEAM PAGE | 2021 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

SAN CLEMENTE HEAD COACH

Jaime Ortiz, 9th season (59-41)

2019 AT A GLANCE

  • 0-13 record (Tritons were 10-2 prior to forfeiting every game for an ineligible player)
  • 0-4 in South Coast League
  • Forfeited to Chaminade in CIF Southern Section Division 2 semifinals

ALL-SOUTHERN SECTION DEPARTURES

  • Preston Rex – DB

2021 SCHEDULE

  • Jan. 8 at Torrey Pines – 7:15PM – Non League
  • Jan. 15 at La Costa Canyon – 7PM – Non League
  • Jan. 22 vs. Corona Del Mar – 7PM – Non League
  • Jan. 29 at Edison – 7PM – Non League
  • Feb. 5 vs. Murrieta Valley – 7PM – Non League
  • Feb. 12 vs. Loyola – 7PM – Non League
  • Feb. 19 vs. Westlake – 7PM – Non League
  • Feb. 26 at Tesoro – 7PM – League
  • Mar. 5 at San Juan Hills – 7PM – League
  • Mar. 12 vs. Mission Viejo – 7PM – League

RETURNING STARTERS

  • 7 on offense
  • 6 on defense

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ryland Swarthout (Senior-OL/DL) (6-3, 225)

Coach Ortiz: “He’s a returning captain … a two-way starter on the offensive and defensive line. He’s the heart and soul of our football team … a kid who’s very mature for his age and that deserves the world for how he’s led our team during this pandemic.”

2019 stats: 42 tackles, one sack

Cole Batson (Senior-DB-WR) (Boston College signee) (6-4, 190)

Coach Ortiz: “He’s a two-way starter for us and also a returning captain. He’s playing strong safety and receiver for us … he’s like a coach on the field.”

2019 stats: 249 receiving yards, four touchdowns, 91 tackles, two interceptions

Caiden Robertson (Senior-LB) (6-2, 220)

Coach Ortiz: “Three-year starter and led the team in tackles last year. He has a physical presence and has really been gearing up for a great senior season.”

2019 stats: 98 tackles, two forced fumbles

Bentley Redden (Senior-LD/TE/WR) (BYU signee) (6-5, 220)

Coach Ortiz: “He’ll play defensive end, tight end, and wide receiver for us and he’s going to BYU.”

2019 stats: 36 tackles, six sacks, 96 receiving yards, one touchdown

James Bohls (Senior-RB/LB) (Arizona signee) (6-0, 195)

Coach Ortiz: “He’ll play running back and right now he’s pegged to be an outside linebacker. He’s going to the University of Arizona and he’s a three-year player for us.”

2019 stats: 677 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns

IMPACT TRANSFERS

  • Lachlan Rosmalen – QB (St. John Bosco)

WHO’S THE QUARTERBACK?

Junior Lochlan Rosmalen transferred in from St. John Bosco and has seized the opportunity to be San Clemente’s signal caller going into his junior season.

“He’s starting to get some looks by some of the Ivy League (colleges). He’s got an explosive arm … he’s about six-foot-one and about 205 to 210 and moves really well. At San Clemente we have a great tradition of quarterback play and he’s next up,” coach Ortiz said.

HOW COVID-19 HAS AFFECTED SAN CLEMENTE FOOTBALL

COVID-19 has affected every high school football team differently. Coach Ortiz shares how it has impacted San Clemente:

“I think our senior class has done a great job with leadership; our attendance has been great. We’ve been blessed in our district to be able to do workouts and we’re not strictly online.”

“It’s a good sign of their character, they’ve been told on numerous occasions that ‘hey, we’re gonna have a season and here’s our start date’ and they’ve had the rug pulled out from underneath them, but they continue to work and fight for each other and continue to battle. A lot of times an immature high school kid might say ‘forget it, I’m done and I’m gonna focus on some other things’, but I think our kids have done a great job of staying together. I hope we get that opportunity to play because I think this is a very special team.”

BEST-CASE SCENARIO FOR SAN CLEMENTE

San Clemente returns several key two-way starters that set them up well to compete for a Southern Section Championship. Coach Ortiz is especially excited for the potential of his defensive front seven.

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

The Tritons will see extremely strong competition in their three league games against Tesoro, San Juan Hills, and defending champion Mission Viejo.

San Clemente appears ready to make a run, though uncertainty remains of what postseason play might look like this season.

COACH SAID

“This is one of the most talented teams we’ve had, probably since the State Championship team in 2016. I’m hopeful we get an opportunity to play and show that on the field, but we have numerous returning starters, a bunch of D-I kids, and just some really good high school football players. These players have worked their tails off since August preparing for a season and hopefully, they get that chance.”

“For us, we have the mantra of being 1-0 each week and take one game at a time. In reality if you look at the pandemic, every game is a gift. Our players are gearing for a league championship. We were league champs two years ago, Mission (Viejo) won it last year and we have an opportunity to go and compete and see what we can do, but I think we’re one of the better teams in the league and can show and compete where we’re at. Number one, our goal is to play football as a whole and number two compete for a league championship.”

Jaime Ortiz

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