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Centurions break Hart

Saugus stuns Indians; pushes last year’s champs into league cellar

Posted: October 17, 2008 10:54 p.m.
Updated: December 19, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Hart High quarterback Spenser Souza is sacked by Saugus High's tailback Ryan Zirbel in the first quarter.

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As Hart and Saugus met up on Friday night at College of the Canyons, neither team thought of their 2-3 starts, rather, the clean slate that comes with league play.

Nonetheless, the loser might face a long road to the Foothill League's cellar.

The Centurions made sure they were on the winning side of the equation, beating the Indians handily for the first time in 16 years by a score of 55-20.

"It's a testament to the hard work these kids did in practice," said Saugus head coach Jason Bornn. "They busted their humps, they got after it and they understood that our preseason schedule is designed to prepare us for the Foothill League and I think it did just that."

It goes without question that this was an important victory for the team and their faithful as the student rushed the field and the players doused their coach with water at the end of the game.

"I am really happy for the community of Saugus," said senior quarterback Desi Rodriguez. "You don't need to leave the valley to get good football. It's still here."

Rodriguez finished the game 188 yards rushing on 14 carries and three touchdowns to go along with 56 yards passing and one score through the air to tight end Mario Lara.

Saugus got things going early, easily moving the ball down the field with a steady dose of senior running back Ryan Zirbel and Rodriguez, both on the ground and via the signal caller's arm. Zirbel finished off the drive with a 3-yard blast, getting his team on the board first. Rodriguez charged in for the two-point conversion.

Zirbel would go on to tally 182 yards and three touchdowns.

In an eerie repeat of the first drive, the Centurions got great field position from a second long return by Depew. Again, Zirbel end the drive with a score, this time from 13 yards out.

After another great defensive stand which included two sacks of Souza, Saugus got the ball back, handed it Zirbel on their own 17 yard line and 83 yards later, Zirbel handed the ball to the official at the back of the end zone.

The visitors had pressure on Souza early with sacks by Depew, who was able to get through the line with ease, giving the Hart quarterback fits early, and from Jonathan Harris and Robert Donathan who combined for an emphatic takedown in the backfield.

Still, Souza was able to throw for 261 yards and two touchdowns including one to wide receiver Blake Borland who finished with 111 yards and another to running back Demitri Diamond who came back from injury for the matchup.

Diamond racked up 105 total yards in his return.

Saugus scored again from the one when the team lined up, appearing to overload the left side and punch it in. Instead, as Rodriguez charged the line of scrimmage, Lara released his block and caught a wide open touchdown pass.

The first half might have been a complete debacle for Hart had it not been for their final drive of the half when the Indians went 80 yards on 12 plays, capped off with a 13-yard touchdown strike from Souza to Borland.

However, it was all Saugus.

Going into the half, Zirbel had scored a touchdown every three times he carried the ball.

The third quarter appeared to be an extension of the first half when the Saugus defense held the Indians once again, but on the ensuing punt, the ball hit one of the Centurions and was recovered by Hart.

Souza led his team down the field and following a 35-yard bomb to a streaking Jake Stephens, the Indians quarterback dove through the pile for the one-yard touchdown.

However, it did not take long for the Centurions to respond when Rodriguez kept the ball, weaved around the defenders and exploded for a 75-yard sprint to pay dirt.

It was then Hart's turn to impress the crowd.

Needing a score to stay in the game, Souza carried the team down the field with passes of 20 and a 49-yard dart to the slanting Diamond.

On the kickoff, Hart attempted the onside kick but was unable to recover after a controversial call from the officials coming from the opposite side of the field, claiming the Indians had touched the ball too early.

When Hart head coach Mike Herrington began to question the call, one of the officials promptly got into his face, the whole series of events appearing to destroy the momentum.

However, Herrington did not believe it was a difference-maker and was quick to down-play its significance.

"Oh it didn't," Herrington said. "We thought it touched them first but the referees thought something else."
Saugus made sure to capitalize, Rodriguez taking the ball in for the 6-yard score.

Again, Hart had the chance to get the momentum going their direction when running back Nate Allmond took the ball 40 yards on the return, but coughed it up during the run. Saugus recovered and eight plays later, made the home team pay with a 14-yard run by Rodriguez, his third rushing touchdown of the game.

On the second play of the following drive for Hart, Souza launched the ball down field, however, it was Rodriguez under the ball, recording the interception.

However, Hart's defense forced the punt, Saugus' first punt of the day, coming at 9:25 in the fourth quarter.

If there was any question that the game might be out of reach, Saugus made sure to provide the answer on a 33-yard touchdown from Rodriguez to Padron on fourth down - final score, 55-20.

"We just have to move on and watch film and look to see how we screwed up big time on defense and go from there," Herrington added.

Next week, Saugus will attempt to take the next step when they match up against West Ranch.

"This is one step in the climb to the foothill league championship," Bornn added.

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