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Simple: Saugus wins and it’s in

Posted: November 12, 2009 10:21 p.m.
Updated: November 13, 2009 4:30 a.m.

For three Foothill League football teams, the entire season comes down to this week.

However only one has control over its future.

Saugus will attempt to officially close the books on the playoff hopes of Canyon and West Ranch when the Centurions play the Cowboys at 7 p.m. tonight at Harry Welch Stadium.

“It’s do or die at this point,” said Saugus head coach Jason Bornn.

A Canyon victory and West Ranch loss would throw all three programs into a three-way tie for third place in the Foothill League.

The Wildcats play Valencia tonight at 7 p.m. at Dr. Paul A. Priesz Stadium.

Since the top three teams in the league advance to the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs, either Canyon (1-8, 1-3), Saugus (3-6, 2-2) or West Ranch (5-4, 2-2) would be granted the third and final spot.

“Who could ever possibly think being 2-8 and still making the playoffs?” said Cowboys head coach Chris Varner. “You never think that could happen. ... Not your standard scenario.”

Normally, each team’s head-to-head performance would serve as the tiebreaker, but the Centurions beat the Wildcats 26-22 on Oct. 23, West Ranch beat Canyon 23-18 on Oct. 30, and a victory by the Cowboys over Saugus would send everyone to a coin flip.

However, a Saugus victory negates the entire scenario.

Centurions head coach Jason Bornn said his team is keenly aware of the importance of Week 10, and the seniors — led by Ryan Schaefer, Adam Torres, Melqui Lemus, Jon Aguirre and Manny Padron — are making sure everyone is on board.

“All of the seniors understand what is at stake,” Bornn said.

In the Centurion’s 49-0 loss to Valencia last Friday, Padron took snaps out of the Wildcat formation.

Bornn said the trend could continue.

“We are just trying to figure out creative ways to get our playmakers the ball,” he said. “It happened to be that formation. We played with it a little bit, but with a team like Valencia, it is tough to get anything going.”

Canyon comes into the contest fresh off its first win of the season, beating Golden Valley 31-0 one week ago.

The Cowboys were very successful running the ball behind the efforts of running backs Trent Hernandez and Vinny Rodriguez.

Hernandez carried the ball 24 times for 102 yards and Rodriguez had 63 yards on nine carries. Both scored one touchdown.

However, Varner noted that the offensive line deserved a lot of credit for the duo’s success.

“Last week was the healthiest we’ve been O-line-wise,” he said.

The return of Canyon linebackers Daniel Hooper and Tyler Miller and the emergence of Chris Ortiz and Robert Hooper has the defense back on track.

But the Cowboys’ season has produced other things in the team.

“It’s character-building,” Varner said. “That’s what I keep telling these kids.”



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