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Saugus stormed

Centurions overwhelmed by Westlake and dual-quarterback scheme

Posted: September 18, 2009 12:01 a.m.
Updated: September 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Saugus quarterback Zack Gauthier (7) is tackled by Westlake's Adrian Muguerza (21) in the second quarter Thursday at Cougar Stadium. The Centurions lost to the Warriors 42-20.

His Saugus-blue jersey told the story.

Soaked with sweat straight through the shoulder pads, Saugus High quarterback Zack Gauthier was gassed Thursday night at Cougar Stadium.

Westlake limited his teammates and made the senior carry the load in a 42-20 Centurions’ loss.

Gauthier, responsible for almost all of Saugus’ success on the offensive side of the ball, rushed 27 times for 136 yards.

Other than his yardage on the ground, the Warriors dominated the game in every phase.

Yet the Centurions found ways to be positive about the effort afterward.

“We’re improving each week,” Gauthier said. “We’re a real young team. We just can’t take games like this in vain.”

Saugus (1-1) was unable to get its running game going and didn’t open up the passing game until late.

By then, it was much too late.

The two-headed quarterback tandem of Nick Isham and Michael Bercovici was efficient throughout the game, but most notably in a first half when Westlake (2-0) outscored Saugus 21-6.

Isham connected with receiver Tre’Shon Wilson on an 8-yard touchdown pass to open up the game’s scoring.

The touchdown, at 9:39 in the first quarter, was set up by a 41-yard Tavior Mowry run.

Mowry needed just 13 carries to rush for 102 yards.

Saugus scored on the ensuing drive, with a little help from fourth-and-2 penalty on the Saugus 40-yard line by Westlake that kept things alive.

Gauthier would score on a 2-yard run with 2:13 to play in the first quarter to cut the lead to 7-6 for Saugus.

But Isham went back to work on the next drive, completing 6-of-7 passes for 89 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown toss over the head of three Saugus defenders to Wilson again.

Westlake running back Dallas Clayton, on his only carry of the game, would score from 37 yards out with 4:05 to play in the half, giving Westlake a 21-6 lead.

By halftime, it was evident there was a gap between Westlake, the No. 5 team in CIF-Southern Section Northern Division, and Saugus, the No. 4 team.

“What are you going to do? That’s a pretty talented team,” said Saugus head coach Jason Bornn.

The two quarterbacks were 15-of-19 for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and the Warriors gained 107 yards on just seven carries.

Saugus could muster only 77 yards of total offense by the half on 29 plays.

It was more of the same early in the second half.

Isham threw his third touchdown pass of the game midway through the third quarter to put Westlake up 28-6.

Then he intercepted a pass by Gauthier late in the quarter and took it back 70 yards for a touchdown, giving Westlake a commanding 35-6 lead.

“We have such good athletes,” said Westlake head coach Jim Benkert of using two quarterbacks. “(Isham’s) such a good athlete. We had to take advantage of (using him on defense).”

Benkert said his team was also driven by the fact that it had lost to Saugus two times in a row.

The Warriors responded.

But Saugus scored on a 3-yard run by Adrian Cruz in the opening moments of the fourth quarter and Gauthier ran in a two-point conversion.

Isham, though, tossed his fourth touchdown pass of the game two minutes later.

He was 15-of-17 for 171 yards.

On the other side, Gauthier was 12-of-19 for 110 yards.

He scored on a keeper from 2 yards out with 5:44 to play in the game.

After the two-pointer failed, Saugus trailed 42-20.

Saugus’ rushers, other than their quarterback, ran the ball 16 times for 27 yards.

“It’s definitely a challenge for us right now,” Bornn said of the running game.

The passing game never got going.

The defense struggled.

But Bornn said losing a pre-league game isn’t as bad as it seems.

“For us, (the pre-league) is to prepare us for league and the preseason,” he said. “I could schedule a preseason and go 5-0 every season, but what’s the point? Westlake is every bit deserving of their ranking and their position.”



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