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San Clemente Coach Eric Patton said third-string quarterback Matt Mitchell will probably start Friday against El Toro. But Patton said he expects both his injured quarterbacks, sophomore Beau Budde and senior Dan Coviello, will return for next week’s game against Dana Hills.

Coviello, a two-year starter who tore cartilage in his right knee while riding his dirt bike, has missed every game so far and was not expected back. But Patton said therapy has helped Coviello recover quickly from knee surgery.

“Dan has been cleared to play,” Patton said. “It’s just a matter of getting him in shape.”

Coviello practiced for the first time Monday.

Budde hasn’t practiced since suffering a hairline fracture of a bone in his right ankle during a 52-21 victory over Long Beach Millikan on Sept. 29. Patton said Budde has a chance to play against El Toro.


What happens when Budde and Coviello are healthy enough to play for the sixth-ranked Tritons (5-1)?

“There is an unwritten rule in football that you can’t lose your starting job because of injury,” Patton said. “And I think there has to be some consideration given to a returning senior.”