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Seraphs stifle Cents

St. Bonaventure ousts Saugus from the CIF-SS Northern Division Playoff

Posted: December 5, 2008 11:04 p.m.
Updated: December 6, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Centurion quarterback Desi Rodriguez (Saugus, 2) is taken down by St. Bonaventure's Troy Hill (2) and P.J. Gremaud (53) in Friday night's 35-8 loss at the hands of the Seraphs.

VENTURA - Saugus could not contain the green and gold Seraphs of St. Bonaventure as the Centurions fell 35-8 on the road in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs Friday night.

After the sound of the horn, Saugus football lined at up at the end zone to perform its postgame warm-up for the last time.

Soon after, a hoarse Jason Bornn addressed his team.
"We've done so much," Bornn said to his squad. "We have come so far. I am proud of what we accomplished. Of what we did, think about the positive. Think about the friendships you have made, that's for life. There's no one that can take that from you."

The Centurions capped one of the program's most successful seasons, finishing atop the Foothill League, a first for Saugus football.

"We had a chance to win this football game, we just didn't capitalize on it, and it just cost us," said running back Ryan Zirbel.

Zirbel, visibly emotional after the loss, said despite the odds the team had against them entering into the season, it was his best year with the Saugus program.

"I'm so proud of these guys," he said. "The best part is just playing football with my friend for four years. I love these guys. I'd do anything for them."

Zirbel finished the contest with 19 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown.

The 5-foot-9 tailback scored the Centurions' only touchdown, with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter.

A 27-yard field goal on fourth-and-4 at the end of the first half could have put Saugus on the board earlier. However, the Centurions decided to go for it instead.

It cost big-time as St. Bonaventure played the bend-but-don't-break defense.

With 40 seconds left in the third quarter, Saugus advanced the ball to the 10-yard line. Saugus quarterback Desi Rodriguez carried the ball for 9 yards, getting the first down at the goal line.

Saugus was called for an illegal motion penalty and was brought back to the 6-yard line. A penalty called on St. Bonaventure moved the Centurions back to the 3-yard line. One second-and-3 with three seconds left in the half, Zirbel was stopped just short of the goal line as time ran out.

"Defense came and showed up and that was the key," said St. Bonaventure head coach Todd Therrien. "It was a good win."

After a scoreless first quarter, the Seraphs opened up a scoring run in the second quarter after a 2-yard run by junior running back Devon Blackledge. It was his first of three scores.

After recovering an onside kick, the Seraphs scored again four plays later scored after a 3-yard run from senior running back/defensive back Patrick Hall, and St. Bonaventure went ahead 14-0.

The Seraphs would score twice more in the third quarter. A 23-yard pass from quarterback Logan Meyer to Zack Meyer waiting in the end zone got the St. Bonaventure crowd on its feet.

Blackledge scored the Seraphs final touchdown with 4:54 left in the game. He finished the contest with 19 carries for 163 yards.

"He responded with some great plays, and he's growing up," Therrien said of Blackledge. "He's a good, young kid."

St. Bonaventure's offensive line was its own tour-de-force, holding Rodriguez to 57 rushing yards on 19 carries. The 6-foot signal caller completed 13-of-26 for 128 yards and an interception. Rodriguez was also sacked three times by the Seraphs defense.

Zirbel's touchdown in the fourth quarter was the only bright spot for the Centurions. A two-point conversion completion to Adrian Cruz brought Saugus to eight points.

St. Bonaventure moves on to the championship round, facing the winner of tonight's matchup between Valencia and Moorpark at Valencia High.


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