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Cents keep rolling in playoffs

Posted: November 22, 2013 11:33 p.m.
Updated: November 22, 2013 11:33 p.m.

Saugus running back Reid Rupe runs the ball past Mira Costa defenders on Friday night at Canyon High School.

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For the first time in five years, the Saugus Centurions football team is headed to the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division semifinals.

Behind a stout defensive performance, and 100-yard rushing game from Reid Rupe, the Centurions defeated the Mira Costa Mustangs of Manhattan Beach 13-0 Friday at Canyon High’s Harry Welch Stadium.

“I’m just excited for these kids,” said Saugus head coach Jason Bornn. “They’ve worked tremendously hard all year. They’ve sacrificed a lot of time with their family and their friends. And they’ve made the choice to be a part of the team and the program. It’s truly rewarding.”

The Centurion defense earned the praise of their head coach as it recorded its first shutout of the season.

It gave up just 272 yards of total offense.

Saugus (7-5) held Mira Costa (8-4) out of the end zone, and recovered four Mustang fumbles in the game.

Three of those fumbles came in the second quarter, which led to six points for the Centurions.

Following the miscues, Caleb Vanderhorst knocked in a 42-yard field goal, and Jenna Mears added one from 18-yards with seconds to play before halftime to extend the lead to 13-0.

“I thought they played outstanding,” Bornn said of his defense. “They carried out the game plan to perfection and executed it very well.”

Also executing well for Saugus was the Foothill League’s leading rusher.

After scoring the game-winning touchdown in a 34-27 upset victory over Atascadero last week, Rupe delivered again as he broke a 16-yard touchdown run with 5:04 to play in the first quarter to give Saugus a 7-0 lead.

The senior running back finished with 109 yards on 22 carries, which extended his streak of 100-yard games to four.

In total, he has six 100-yard games, and 11 rushing touchdowns this season.

Saugus junior quarterback Chris Hamilton completed 13 of his 22 pass attempts for 124 yards.

Hamilton’s primary target was Timmy Kahovec, who finished with five catches for 74 yards.

Mira Costa running back Sebastian Franck-Love had 120 rushing yards at halftime, but finished with 140 yards on 24 carries.

“I think they just outplayed us,” said Mira Costa head Don Morrow. “They took real good care of the ball on a difficult night, and we didn’t.”

The victory for Saugus, and Valencia’s 28-23 win at Arroyo Grande, sets up a Foothill League rematch in the semifinals on Friday.

Valencia defeated Saugus 38-24 earlier this season.

But this is a different Centurions team at this stage of the year.

Saugus is riding a four-game winning streak and will look for its first win over Valencia since its Foothill League championship team in 2008.

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