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Hart turns over Cents

Posted: October 16, 2009 11:43 p.m.
Updated: October 17, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Hart running back Jake Stephens (43) attempts to break a tackle by Saugus linebacker Adam Torres (15) on Friday at College of the Canyons. Stephens had 70 yards and three total scores in Hart's 31-21 win.

Hart forced three Saugus turnovers in the first half Friday and scored with each possession.

By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, those points came in quite handy.

Saugus scored a pair of touchdowns early in the fourth quarter but missed two late field goals, and the Indians staved off the rally to earn a 31-21 victory in the Foothill League opener at Cougar Stadium.

“I thought (the fourth quarter) was indicative of how we can play when we protect the football,” said Saugus head coach Jason Bornn. “Unfortunately, we dug ourselves too deep a hole in the first half.”

On the fourth play from scrimmage, Saugus quarterback Zack Gauthier hit wide receiver Manny Padron on a crossing route for a 55-yard touchdown, giving the Centurions (1-5, 0-1) a 7-0 advantage.

From there, Hart’s defense gritted down.

Gauthier fumbled late in the first quarter and gave Hart (4-2, 1-0) the ball on the 10-yard line, and Indians quarterback C.J. Reyes found running back Jake Stephens for a 5-yard touchdown pass to tie the game three plays later.

After a lengthy Hart drive stalled on the Saugus 9-yard line midway through the second quarter, linebacker John Cornelius quickly intercepted a Gauthier pass.

Reyes went over the top for a 22-yard touchdown pass to receiver Blake Borland to put the Indians in front.

“That was big,” said Hart head coach Mike Herrington. “We took advantage of their turnovers.”

Late in the second quarter, Gauthier fumbled again and Hart defensive end Salvador Areco jumped on the loose ball.

Reyes kicked a 20-yard field goal as time expired to give Hart a 17-7 halftime lead.

“That pumped me up like no other,” Areco said of the fumble recovery. “I thought it was going to be an easy win after the first half, but they fought back and we stopped them.”

After the teams traded punts to start the second half, Reyes tossed a jump ball to Borland, who snagged it out of the air and raced 59 yards to the Saugus 4.

Stephens punched it in from there, and he added a 2-yard touchdown run with 14 seconds left in the third quarter to give Hart a 31-7 lead.

The Centurions displayed a sense of urgency from that point on.

“I think we relaxed a little bit, and you can’t relax against them,” Herrington said. “They just kept on fighting.”

Gauthier spread the ball around to three different receivers on Saugus’ next drive. He eventually hit Padron on a comeback route, and the senior stepped around a pair of would-be tacklers and raced down the sideline for a 39-yard touchdown.

Gauthier tacked on a two-point conversion run to cut the score to 31-15 with a little more than 11 minutes left.

After forcing Hart to punt on the next drive, Gauthier hit receiver James Weiner three times for 48 total yards, the final strike leading to a 22-yard touchdown.

Saugus’ conversion failed but the Centurions recovered an onside kick, a possession that culminated in Padron missing a 30-yard field goal attempt.

Reyes was picked off by defensive back Jon Aguirre on the next drive, but Padron missed another field goal attempt, this time from 39 yards out.

Both kicks were sky-high and hard to gauge, but the referees had the best vantage point under the goalposts.

“This is an excellent officiating crew, so if they made the call, then I believe them,” Bornn said.

Reyes completed 17-of-31 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns, while Borland caught five balls for 107 yards and teammate Ty MacArthur caught eight passes for 117 yards.

Stephens led Hart with 70 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

Gauthier went 15-of-28 for 292 yards and three scores, while Weiner led the Cents with seven catches for 132 yards.

Gauthier also led Saugus with 86 yards on 14 carries. Sophomore tailback Tyler Watt had 10 carries for just 29 yards in his second game back from injury.



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