Led by 2012-13 all-league forward/USC-committed quarterback Sam Darnold, Triton Basketball players are having a major impact on the success of this year's Triton Football team.
At this writing, the football team sits atop the Sea View League with a 6-1 record and is ranked first in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division Coaches' Poll as well as tenth in the Orange County Register Media Poll.
Including Darnold, six members of the Varsity Basketball Team are among the Tritons' leaders on the football field. In fact, three of them (Darnold and senior guards Riley Whimpey and Jake Russell) are team captains.
"It's great to see our players out there competing and having success," says Triton Basketball Head Coach Marc Popovich. "There’s no doubt that when they come over for basketball those same traits will follow, and it will help lead us to a successful season."
At mid-season in football, Darnold was listed among the candidates for Orange County offensive player of the year with his 20 passing and seven rushing touchdowns. He has accounted for 1,473 yards passing and 313 rushing.
On the other side of the ball, transfer guard Riley Whimpey has entered the discussion for all-county defensive player of the year honors. The 6-1, 215 pounder, who plays linebacker on the gridiron, leads Triton football with 78 tackles, more than twice as many as any teammate, as well as both a fumble return and an interception return of 80-plus yards each for touchdowns.
The only two-way starter on the football team is its emotional spark plug, the 5-10 165 Russell, who plays wide receiver and cornerback in addition to returning punts. Consistently guarding the opponents' best receivers, he has 26 tackles on defense. On offense, Russell has posted 536 total yards, 397 receiving and 139 returning kicks.
Triton Basketball's 2013-14 all-league second team forward Cole Fotheringham also has made an impact on offense. Playing tight end, the 6-5, 215 junior has 16 catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
One of the highlight plays of the season was a broken-play, 40-yard touchdown pass from Darnold to 6-2, 195 pound senior guard Dean Licht. He plays wide receiver in football, accounting for seven catches and 132 yards so far this season.
One of the hallmarks of this year's varsity football team is its physical offensive line. Triton Basketball has made a contribution there too, with 6-5, 265 senior center Shaughn Ritchie starting at tackle.
Overall, Triton Basketball players have accounted for 1,800 of the football team's 3,063 yards in offense (58.7 percent) and 204 of its 264 total points (77.2). On defense, the hoops stars have 104 of the 350 tackles (29.7 percent).
Triton Basketball is also making its presence felt in the lower football divisions. The 5-2 junior varsity, coached by Oscar Montecinos, who has additional responsibilities as head coach of the Triton Basketball JV and an assistant on the Triton Varsity, has four basketball players on his roster, while the undefeated, 7-0, frosh football squad lists seven.