Trabuco Hills beats San Clemente, 44-37, for Southwest Division title

Eric Sondheimer
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Trabuco Hills wins local bragging rights by beating San Clemente, 44-37, for Southwest Division football title

It was intense neighborhood football on display in the Southwest Division championship game Friday night between San Clemente and Trabuco Hills.

Two Orange County public schools moved out of the talent-laden Pac-5 Division got to strut their stuff before adoring fans.

Some on the San Clemente side weren't pleased because scissor lifts placed at the 30-yard lines to allow the game to be televised blocked their view.

"Fox, is there any way to move your scissor lift?" said a fan who barged into the press box. "It's totally in the way."

Trabuco Hills fans had an unobstructed view and liked what they saw, charging onto the field to celebrate after a 44-37 victory.

The Mustangs (10-4) received the decisive play of the game on a 26-yard fumble return for a touchdown by sophomore Colin Schooler with 6:34 left.

Quarterback Jimmy Jacobs completed 16 of 21 passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown.

USC-bound quarterback Sam Darnold of San Clemente completed 12 of 15 passes for 205 yards and one touchdown. He ran for two touchdowns. He had to leave the game with 5:05 left after a hard hit.

The Tritons (12-2) took a 34-30 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter on a Darnold 11-yard touchdown run.

Jacobs put Trabuco Hills back on top, 37-34, with a five-yard touchdown pass to Noah Thompson on fourth down with 7:51 left, somehow escaping the rush, rolling right and finding Thompson in the end zone. Then came Schooler grabbing the loose ball on a botched option pitch.

It was an emotional victory for first-year Trabuco Hills Coach Tony Henney, who took over the program after arriving from Ojai Nordhoff.

Trabuco Hills players and coaches have rallied around Henney, who has been helping his wife, Tess, fight breast cancer.

"The kids have been an inspiration just how hard they've been playing," he said earlier this week. "The assistant coaches have picked up slack when I needed to be away. I'm in debt to them.

"My wife has been a real inspiration. At the beginning of the year, I was trying to get a big win to prove to her that anything's possible. I was stupid. It was her showing me anything's possible by beating this thing. I'm forever in debt to her."

Trabuco Hills came away with a 30-21 halftime lead. Jake Breeland, a 6-foot-5 receiver headed to Oregon, used his size and hands to catch touchdown passes of 12 and 24 yards from Jacobs, who also had a 24-yard touchdown run.

Darnold had a 71-yard touchdown run. Chad Crosbie rushed for 153 yards in 25 carries for the Mustangs.

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