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Saugus football — undervalued no more

The Cents were ready for favored Atascadero

Posted: November 16, 2013 11:53 a.m.
Updated: November 16, 2013 11:53 a.m.
 

Imagine how the Saugus Centurions football team felt?

Before the season started, written in black and white, they were nearly across the board picked to finish fifth in the Foothill League.

West Ranch was all new and shiny and kicking tail in preseason passing league.

And there were the Cents, this old clunker struggling mightily in passing league games.

New and shiny looked so much prettier than old and clunky; therefore it was picked in many circles above Saugus.

Now imagine how Saugus felt coming back from Atascadero Friday night/Saturday morning after stunning the Pac-7 champion Atascadero Greyhounds 34-27 in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.

Were they motivated by a constant doubt from outsiders?

“We as a coaching staff don’t talk about it, but the kids do. You hear them talking to each other and different things,” said Saugus head coach Jason Bornn. “They play with a big chip on their shoulder. Hey man, if doing things or watching ‘Wizard of Oz’ gets you jacked up, then whatever you have to do.”

This Saugus season is movie-worthy itself and shows a story about a tested team that went in and took care of business in the first round of the playoffs because of the trials and tribulations of the season.

Look at the preleague season first, Bornn points out.

Saugus had four road games (five if you count that it played a home game at Canyon High) before Foothill League play began.

Did Atascadero – the four-hour drive, the hostile environment -  prove to be intimidating?

Not a bit.

Saugus had big performances across the board – from an unheralded offensive line, to its runners who gained 410 yards on 76 rushing plays, to its quarterback Chris Hamilton who took his hits but kept on going, to its sideline to sideline linebacking terrors Blake Austin and Austin Davenport to its entire team that was sick of being undervalued by the doubters.

This was their answer.

Bornn said there were a couple of other factors that played to Saugus’ strengths.

So if it seems like postgame arrogance when Saugus running back Reid Rupe, who ran 26 times for 208 yards, said: “They just couldn’t stop our run. Coming into the game, we knew we were going to run the ball the entire time;” then the quote is misinterpreted.

Rupe knew. Bornn knew. Saugus knew.

The Cents’ defense was ready for the Greyhounds’ running attack. The same couldn’t be said for the Greyhounds.

Bornn brought on one of the greatest offensive linemen in Saugus history, Ramsen Golpashin, to the coaching staff fresh off of playing for the University of Oregon.

Yes, that breathtaking, fake-an-injury-if-you’re-on-defense Oregon.

Bornn said Saugus uses a lot of things that Oregon does on offense to get as many plays in during a game as possible.

It’s as simple, he said, as after a play getting the ball to the right official so he can set the ball for the next play.

Then it’s go.

And Saugus went.

And now Saugus is going to the second round of the Northern Division playoffs where it will host a likely heavily favored Mira Costa.

The Centurions get the home game on this one. Kind of.

Hart will host Palos Verdes at College of the Canyon on Friday, where the Indians share a home with the Centurions.

But Hart gets first pick on this game.

Saugus will play at Canyon High instead.

“Just another example of second fiddle,” Bornn joked.

Why not? It seems to work.

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