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SAN CLEMENTE — San Clemente and Murrieta Valley resumed an exciting rivalry Friday that rose to prominence during the Tritons’ greatest season.
This fall is looking good for San Clemente, too, despite a one-point loss.
Running back Dorian Hoze scored on a 1-yard run with 1:31 left in the fourth quarter and quarterback Bear Bachmeier ran in the 2-point conversion to lift Murrieta Valley to a dramatic 39-38 victory at San Clemente.
The Tritons (5-1), ranked eighth in Orange County, were stopped without a first down on the ensuing possession by the Nighthawks (4-1), ranked third in the Inland Empire.
“Tough game but we just got to come back ready for next week,” said San Clemente running back Aiden Rubin, who rushed for a 252 yards and four touchdowns, both career highs.
The San Clemente and Murrieta Valley rivalry gained exposure following their meeting in the CIF-SS Division 2 final in 2016. The Tritons captured their first section title with a 45-35 win and went on to claim a state championship.
“It was such a good game, both teams are class acts, let’s start it,” Murrieta Valley coach George Wilson said of the rivalry.
Friday marked the schools’ sixth meeting since that section final, and second one-point margin in the past three seasons. San Clemente leads the recent series 4-3.
Bachmeier led Murrieta Valley on a 75-yard, game-winning drive with arm and legs. He said he knew the Nighthawks would go for the win.
“We wanted to win the game,” said Bachmeier, who threw two touchdowns and rushed for another.
Hoze, who picked up the slack the injured Asa Chatman, rushed for 195 yards and two scores on 32 carries.
The teams traded three touchdowns to open the second half. The score was tied 24-24 and 31-31 before San Clemente grabbed a 38-31 lead on a 21-yard TD run by Rubin with 7:18 left in the fourth.
The score in the first half was just as tight.
Murrieta Valley’s Nathan Davila booted a 23-yard field goal with seven seconds left in the half — and after two timeouts by San Clemente — to send the teams to intermission tied 17-17. The schools were also were tied at 7-7 and 14-14.
San Clemente kicked its own clutch field goal late in the first half. Max Gonzales kicked a 40-yard field after a 10-yard penalty to give the Tritons a 17-14 lead with about 4 1/2 minutes left.
Bachmeier paced Murrieta Valley in the first half by throwing a 9-yard TD to sophomore wide out Julian Treadwell and rushing for a 20-yard score. The run came after an excellent play fake and tied score at 14 with 7:52 left in the second half.
Rubin led San Clemente in the first half by rushing for 108 yards and two TDs on 13 carries.
The senior continued his breakout season with scoring runs of 27 and 23 yards. He broke the latter on third-and-1 to give San Clemente its first lead at 14-7.
In the second half, Rubin broke a 71-yard TD run. He finished with 23 carries.
Next week, San Clemente takes its bye before playing at Ayala on Oct. 6. Murrieta Valley play host to Roosevelt on Sept. 29.
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