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Can’t count Centurions out in win over Ventura

Posted: September 20, 2013 10:53 p.m.
Updated: September 20, 2013 10:53 p.m.
 

VENTURA — Even when the bounces don’t go in favor of the Saugus Centurions, they’re still finding ways to win.

The Centurions shook off a disastrous start against the Ventura Cougars and ended up grinding out a 20-17 comeback victory on Friday night at Ventura High School.

This was after Ventura’s Zak Crawford returned the opening kickoff 96 yards to the house to put Saugus (3-1) in a 7-0 hole just 15 seconds into the game.

By the end of the first quarter, Saugus trailed 10-0.

“When something like that happens, it’s disappointing, but things like that happen sometimes and you can’t fold up,” said Saugus head coach Jason Bornn. “You can’t give up.”

But Saugus’ defense stood up when it needed to, and it forced three turnovers to steal back control of the game.

Saugus quarterback Chris Hamilton found Timmy Kahovec in the back corner of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal to put the Centurions up for good with 7:24 to play.

That was Hamilton’s third scoring strike of the night and the second to Kahovec.

Hamilton’s other score went to Marc Langford on a 36-yard pass that was set up by a Ventura fumble deep in its own territory.

“It’s always part of our defense. It’s all about getting turnovers,” said Saugus linebacker Alberto Portillo, who forced and recovered two fumbles in the game.

The Cougars (1-3), who lost starting quarterback Steve Ledesma to a collarbone injury late in the first half, gained 131 yards of total offense.

Most of that came from the 91 rushing yards on 22 carries from running back Tyler Peralta.

Though Saugus had sloppy moments of its own – three offensive turnovers and 10 penalties – it took advantage of the plays that went in its favor.

That included the final series of the night, when Saugus punter Miguel Sanchez bobbled the snap on what was supposed to be a fourth-down punt. He then picked it up and ran 6 yards for the game-clinching first down.

“It was frustrating because we had our opportunities tonight,” said Ventura head coach Tim Garcia. “Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way.”

After Hamilton’s two touchdown passes gave Saugus a 13-10 halftime lead, Peralta punched in a 2-yard run on Ventura’s opening drive of the second half to give the Cougars a 17-13 lead.

Blake Austin finished with 86 yards on 26 carries and had an interception.

NOTES: After sitting out the previous week's game against Buena, Saugus running back Reid Rupe returned to action against Ventura. His return was brief, however, as he twisted his ankle in the first half and missed the rest of the game. Bornn said he's hoping Rupe will be back in two weeks when Saugus faces Camarillo.

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