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Saugus pushing through pain

Coaching staff sorts through ailments, instilling toughness in team

Posted: August 22, 2009 9:31 p.m.
Updated: August 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Saugus head football coach Jason Bornn talks with Devin Gustaveson (23) during practice Thursday at Saugus High. With some players complaining of injuries, the Centurions are fighting through early aches and pain as they continue to push toward the season.

With four potential starters banged up after just a couple of days in pads, the question for Saugus head coach Jason Bornn is: “Do you rest them?”

Actually, Bornn said this is a time to test those players.

The seventh-year Centurions head coach said there is a major difference between a player being hurt and a player being injured.

Some players take advantage.

“The dog days of summer — I get that, but it’s the third day,” said Bornn of players not being able to handle the early pad practices.

“You’ve got to fight the illness. You’ve got to fight the aches and pains,” he said. “It’s part of playing football.”
Bornn said he is sensitive to some injuries.

When dealing with neck, head, knee, shoulder and ankle injuries, the coach said he takes a lot of precautions.

But when it comes to fingers, hands, and elbows and stomach aches, he expects his players to play through it, even though the first game of the 2009 season isn’t for three weeks.

Expectations have changed around Saugus High and Bornn said his team needs to get tougher because teams aren’t going to take the Centurions as lightly as they have in the past.

Saugus won its first football Foothill League title in 2008 and though the team’s key components have graduated, the expectations are still high.

“I expect a heck of a lot,” Bornn said of his team. “We have a target on our chest. We have a football community that respected us. And there are people who believe (last year) was a fluke.”

So the coach was frustrated earlier in the week when some of his players couldn’t answer the bell.

Not all of them, though.

He pointed to a couple of players as examples of playing through pain.

Tyler Watt, a standout running back on the freshman team last year, had surgery earlier this summer yet has insisted on practicing with the team this week.

“I had to tell him to stay off the field,” Bornn said. “He works his tail off, doesn’t make excuses.”

Senior outside linebacker Adam Torres has suffered from migraine headaches for years, Bornn said, yet also insists on playing.

The coach said he makes sure to know the kids on his team, their personalities, their parents and their medical histories.

That helps determine if they’re hurt or injured.

He has challenged kids in the past, such as former lineman Shane Watterson.

Watterson is now a freshman on the UNLV football team.

The 2008 Saugus graduate became the first NCAA Division I (Bowl Subdivision) signee from the high school in a decade.

As to what a player might learn from Watterson, who was in constant pain from back problems, Bornn said: “You could fold up shop or persevere and get through it.”

Bornn said most of the starting spots for the Centurions first game are already sewn up.

But anything could change.

Players do not want to lose their starting spot.

Bornn said look at USC as an example of that.

Quarterback Aaron Corp recently injured his knee and is trying to get back on the field because Matt Barkley is taking command of the Trojans offense in his absence.

“He sees the handwriting on the wall,” Bornn said of Corp.


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