San Clemente played its first game since the death of former player Nick Pasquale, who was a captain on the 2011 team that reached the Pac-5 championship. Pasquale had reached out to the sophomores called up for the playoffs that year—sophomores that are now seniors.
Pasquale, killed when he was struck by a vehicle while walking home on Sept. 8, was eulogized before the game by the Dana Hills’ public address announcer. Pasquale’s parents, Mel and Laurie, were honorary captains and, along with Pasquale’s grandparents, Fred and Jill, were part of the coin toss ceremony. The San Clemente coaching staff wore UCLA shirts because Pasquale was a walk-on redshirt freshman with the Bruins. Both teams wore the initials “NP” on their helmets.
Score: Dana Hills 38, San Clemente 13
Key Stats: Dana Hills’ Justin Scott carried 24 times for 171 yards and a touchdown, and caught two passes for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Pivotal Moment: Leading by one point and facing fourth-and-1 at its own 31, Dana Hills converted with a two-yard gain by quarterback Mac Vail. The drive still alive, Vail’s screen pass to Scott turned into a 62-yard score and a 21-13 lead with 1:26 left in the third quarter.
Records: Dana Hills (1-2), San Clemente (2-1)
Notes: The game was played at Dana Hills, and the school was a gracious host in light of the tragedy involving Pasquale. … San Clemente played the second half without its starting quarterback Sam Darnold, who suffered an ankle injury. … Dana Hills coach Todd Rusinkovich was a player at San Clemente when Pasquale was a ball boy for the Tritons. … San Clemente next Friday plays host to Carlsbad La Costa Canyon (1-1). … Dana Hills plays host to Villa Park (2-0), ranked No. 10 in Orange County.