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By Steve Breazeale and Jim Shilander

Nick Pasquale, a former football player for San Clemente High, passed away on Sunday morning after being hit by a car near the corner of Camino de los Mares and Calle Nuevo, authorities said.

A spokesperson from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Lt. Gary Strachan, said there were two vehicles driving in tandem down the road. One was able to avoid Pasquale, 20, whose body was found in the road, but the second was not able to avoid him and struck him. Investigation is ongoing as to why he might have been in the road.

Deputies responding to the call indicated they did not believe alcohol was a factor with the drivers, Strachan said. Records indicated that a call reporting the accident came in at 1:27 a.m. The driver of the vehicle actually made the call, the sheriff’s department spokesman said. No arrests were made at the scene.

Pasquale and his family have been mainstays in the San Clemente youth sports community and after graduating from San Clemente, Nick walked on to play for the UCLA football team. He was a key member of the 2011 San Clemente High CIF Pac-5 Division runner-up team.

Jaime Ortiz, who heads the Tritons football team, described Pasquale as an ideal player, who made an impact in the community.

“Nick was the epitome of what a Triton was all about. He was a three-year starter and ball boy for us. His older brother, A.J., played as well. His dad is on our football coaching staff as director of football operations,” Ortiz said. “Talk about a family that is the prime example of being a Triton, that’s the family you point to.”

“He was a vocal and physical leader for our teams … During his senior year he was the heart and soul of that team. He was everything you wanted in a player,” Ortiz said.

As a redshirt freshman, Pasquale was a member of the UCLA football scout team and appeared in the Bruins season opener against the University of Nevada on August 31.

“This is a tragic loss,” UCLA head football coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “Nick was an outstanding young man who had a positive impact on everyone who knew him. He was a great teammate who was loved and respected by his entire team. Our thoughts are with the Pasquale family.”

UCLA Athletic Director Dan Gerrero also issued a statement on Pasquale.

“The UCLA family lost a wonderful young man who represented the university, his team and his family well,” Guerrero said. “Our hearts go out to the Pasquale family, and we will do everything we can to assist and support them, as well as his teammates, as they go through this unthinkable tragedy.”

For updates on the story, please visit www.danapointtimes.com.

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