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Centurions tame Bulldogs

Pasadena no match for Saugus running, passing game

Posted: September 13, 2008 12:28 a.m.
Updated: November 15, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Saugus quarterback Desi Rodriguez looks to hand off to a running back on Friday against Pasadena. The Centurions won, 37-6.

Saugus High School's Ryan Zirbel and Desi Rodriguez made enough moves to fill a dance card Friday night at Cougar Stadium on the College of the Canyons campus.

Zirbel darted, stutter-stepped, danced and juked his way to 191 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns in a 51-12 season-opening Saugus win over Pasadena High. Zirbel had 102 yards by halftime on just nine carries.

Centurion quarterback Rodriguez lowered his shoulder pads to power, used his legs to churn out quick scrambles for 73 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns and went 4-for-8 in the air for 57 yards.

Add a 95-yard kickoff return by Kollin DePew, and Saugus fans went home happy with the victory.

"It was satisfying for us to see what we do," said Centurions head coach Jason Bornn. "We've managed to put a decent running attack."

If decent means 340 team rushing yards on 53 carries, that would be a nice word for the Cents (1-0) the rest of the season.

Both Zirbel and Rodriguez hit the proverbial ‘X' and ‘Y' buttons on the actual gridiron. Adrian Cruz, a 210-pound bowling ball of a running back, got in on the fun, scoring from a yard out late in the game.

"We've been waiting since January to get this win," Rodriguez said. "We were solid. We made some mistakes. We have a lot to correct in the film room next week."

Two main mistakes were a pair of poor snaps in the game, both in the second half. Saugus played with its backup center, who otherwise did a good overall job clearing gaping holes against Pasadena's defensive line. The Centurions' starting center was out with an injury, but Bornn said he could be back next week against Westlake Village.

Zirbel scored on a 29-yard run on an option play that made it 16-0 with 3:09 left in the first quarter.

"I saw a gap, so I knew I had to make a play," Zirbel said.

Zirbel and the offensive line set the tone early. After a safety off a fumble by Pasadena that the Bulldogs recovered in their own end zone, the senior tailback marched 22 yards to help set up his 2-yard touchdown that made it 10-0 with 6:08 left in the first quarter.

Rodriguez's scores came with the game well in hand, and both were entertaining. His 27-yard run in the fourth quarter saw him sprint, see a gap after he had already gained 8 yards, change directions to the right, then back to the left for the touchdown.

Rodriguez's 6-yard score for a 44-6lead was more of a power move, as he had three tacklers draped across his back and shoulders.

Saugus' first tough test of the season will be at Westlake Village, a team the Centurions beat last season in the regular season, 33-28, on a 56-yard Hail Mary pass from Rodriguez to receiver Chris Aaron, who graduated last spring.

"I thought we did some good things (Friday night)," Zirbel said. "We'll be fine next week. I believe in our offensive line." 


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