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Desi has no ‘splaining to do in Centurions’ win

Quarterback throws two and runs in a pair of scores in nail-biting affair

Posted: September 23, 2008 7:00 p.m.
Updated: November 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Their offensive philosophies couldn't be any more different but when Saugus and Westlake meet, you're guaranteed fireworks.

After beating Westlake on a Hail Mary pass last year, the Centurions battled back from a 9-0 deficit to topple the Warriors in a thrilling 42-40 victory Friday night in Westlake Village.

Saugus quarterback Desi Rodriguez provided the majority of the pyrotechnics scoring on runs of 78 and 45 yards and throwing an 85 yard touchdown pass, and Kollin DePew also ran for a 34 yard score.

"It's extra special because there's so many doubters out there,"

Rodriguez said. "It's such a special win because we came back from adversity and that's when people are at their best, under pressure."

The aforementioned big plays don't even count a 78 yard run by Ryan Zirbel and a 68 yard pass by Rodriguez that were called back because of penalties.

Even with all the big plays and a 42-25 fourth quarter lead, Saugus (2-0) almost blew the game. But Westlake (1-1) wouldn't come up with a miracle like the Centurions did last year.

Westlake scored two late touchdowns, recovered an onside kick, and was about to get the ball back with 1:53 left when it was called for too many men on the field.

Saugus had the ball on its side of the field, a fourth down and four coming up when Westlake was flagged for the penalty allowing the Centurions to run out the clock.

Despite not getting much from senior running back Ryan Zirbel, who had just 11 yards on 11 carries in the first half and 61 yards on 16 carries total, Saugus' offense kept moving.

"Any time they're going to key on one guy, they're going to open it for another, and I think that's what happened," Saugus coach Jason Bornn said.

Rodriguez had some trouble holding on to the ball early but was still able to complete a 45 yard pass after dropping the snap to set up the first of two Zirbel touchdowns and making the score 9-7.

He also scampered 45 yards cutting across the field for a score to give Saugus a 14-12 halftime lead and had an 85 yard touchdown pass to Josh Coefield, a sprinter in his first year playing football.

Coefield outran Westlake's secondary and Rodriguez placed it perfectly in his hands.

"I didn't even know what was going on, I just threw the ball to him because I got hit and the next thing I hear is the crowd going crazy.
"That's one of the greatest feelings, when you're on the ground and you hear, ‘Aaaahh!'" Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez finished with 162 yards passing and 138 yards rushing.

Saugus' untested defense struggled to contain Westlake's potent offense but for a majority of the game practiced the bend but don't break approach.

Behind quarterback Ben Conlin, the Warriors had several meticulous drives down the field. Even though they punted just once in the first half, a missed 32-yard field goal and a botched snap on another attempt prevented them from gaining on the scoreboard.

Conlin, who threw 50 passes in a win over Paso Robles two weeks ago, completed 28-45 passes for 364 yards, but he was replaced late after throwing two interceptions.


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