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Saugus sends clear message

Centurions blow out West Ranch to lock up 4th in league

Posted: November 8, 2013 11:59 p.m.
Updated: November 8, 2013 11:59 p.m.

Saugus senior Austin Davenport, left, runs the ball against West Ranch on Friday at College of the Canyons.

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The Saugus Centurions football team not only wanted to make a statement to their opponent on Friday night, but do everything it could to boost its resume for a potential playoff spot.

Chris Hamilton and Reid Rupe collectively ran the read-option to perfection to help the Centurions win 43-14 over the West Ranch Wildcats at College of the Canyons in the regular season finale.

Both teams came into the game 1-3 in Foothill League play and tied for fourth place, which made the game a virtual play-in game for an at-large bid to the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

Saugus is now 5-5 and finishes fourth in league at 2-3.

“I think we’re really trying to prove who we are and what we are and how far we’ve come since last year,” said Hamilton, Saugus’ junior quarterback who ran for two touchdowns a 77 yards while also passing for 202 yards on 18-of-24 completions.

The other four Saugus touchdowns were scored by Rupe, the senior running back who has been the team’s work horse all year long.

He ended up with 148 yards on 16 carries.

“It was just everyone executing,” Hamilton said of the offense.

Right away, the Centurions were moving the ball well. They responded immediately to West Ranch’s 7-0 early lead on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Chase Killingsworth to Joey Lau.

A little more than a minute later, at the 8:13 mark of the first quarter, Hamilton found the end zone on an 8-yard keeper to cut the lead to 7-6 after a failed two-point try.

Saugus then turned on the burners and drove down the field for touchdowns on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter to establish a 22-7 lead with 3:51 to go in the first half. Saugus converted on both of those two-point tries.

West Ranch (5-5, 1-4) has to settle for fifth place in league for the second straight year. The Wildcats likely played their final game of the season with first-year head coach Jan Miller at the helm.

“They wanted it more than we did tonight,” Miller said of the game. “It’s bittersweet. We’re 5-5 but we didn’t really accomplish anything in the Foothill League.”

Other than the score on their opening possession of the game, the Wildcats were stalled by a stout Saugus defense that sacked West Ranch quarterbacks seven times.

Killingsworth started the game at quarterback but was replaced at halftime by Gage Tynan.

West Ranch’s top weapon on the night was running back Christian Parrish, who gained 96 yards on 24 rushes.

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