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Prep football: A Saugus restart

Centurions go with sophomore quarterback to lead new passing attack

Posted: August 15, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 15, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus sophomore quarterback Chris Hamilton throws a pass in practice on Friday. The 5-foot-11-inch, 185-pound player has been named the starting quarterback for the Centurions.

There’s a common bond that three, maybe four Foothill League schools will have this year.

Those schools will all have first-year starting quarterbacks.

Cade Apsay at Canyon, Chase Lewis at Golden Valley, Chris Hamilton at Saugus will all be starting for the first time on the varsity this season.

If Brady White becomes Hart’s guy, that will make four rookie starters.

But for one of these four, rookie is a misleading word.

Hamilton, just a sophomore, will enter his second season as a starter for the Centurions.

In 2011, the talented athlete started in the secondary for Saugus.

This year, he will be again expected to contribute on the defensive side of the ball, but his greater impact will be on offense.

It’s a story with multiple angles.

Saugus has had a recent history of giving underclassmen a shot at quarterback.

In 2007, Saugus turned to junior quarterback Desi Rodriguez, who blossomed and led the Centurions to their greatest season ever in 2008 — complete with their first Foothill League championship and a run to the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division semifinals.

In 2010, Saugus turned to another junior in Jared Carbajal who also blossomed and led the Cents to a co-league championship last year.

In 2010, Saugus head coach Jason Bornn said he was willing to give the ball to Carbajal and let him take his lumps to gain experience for the future.

It worked out.

He stopped short of saying that about Hamilton.

“I’m just a huge believer that the 11 best players play. I don’t care what grade you are,” Bornn said. “If you’re good enough, if I think you can help this team win Friday night, you’ll play for us.

“I think right now at quarterback, Chris offers us the best opportunity to win. I don’t care if he’s a sophomore.”
That’s a lot of confidence in a 15-year-old.

But it’s easy to see why.

Hamilton has a lot of poise for a football player his age.

He also has an abundant amount of desire.

Hamilton said he’d like to play both sides of the ball every play of the game and laments the fact that he’s not on the field during Saugus’ entire practice.

He admits, though, that despite getting some on-field varsity experience last year, there will be some early nerves behind center.

“Definitely, I have some nerves going into the season, especially last year knowing I was a backup and being next in line,” Hamilton said. “But this year I got a lot of reps at quarterback (during the summer). I feel more comfortable with all the offensive plays. It takes the preseason jitters out of the way.”

Hamilton has a lot of fire, too.

His brother Scott, who graduated in 2012, was a two-time All-Santa Clarita Valley and All-Foothill League defensive back for the Centurions.

He owns the school’s all-time interceptions record, with nine.

It’s Chris’ mission to make a bigger impact at Saugus than his brother did.

Scott is helping coach Saugus’ defensive backs this year, but he also is in his brother’s ear.

“I give him so much crap, and he gets mad at me, but I keep going,” Scott said. “I think he listens to me because he wants to be better than me.”

Another side to the Hamilton story is what he will be doing with the Saugus offense this year.

The Centurions under Bornn have been a running team for the last nine seasons.

Bornn wants this team to pass the ball more.

That suits Hamilton just fine as he considers himself more of a passer than a runner.

Saugus hosts Calabasas on Aug. 24 at College of the Canyons to open up the season.

That’s when Hamilton’s story begins.



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