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Saugus football preview: Chipping away

Saugus goes into another season fighting doubters

Posted: August 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus football players, from left, Denley Rodriguez, Chris Hamilton, Adam Edwards, Dakota Taylor and Austin Davenport lead a young Saugus team in 2012 set on winning a Foothill League title on the field.

 

Saugus head coach Jason Bornn talked recently about how Centurions football isn’t usually mentioned with the Harts, Valencias and Canyons of the Foothill League.

He mentioned his tenure — now 10 years — and how his teams have only won one Foothill League title during that span and that’s a reason why people pass over the Centurions when talking about Santa Clarita Valley football.

Wait a minute.

One title?

Isn’t it two technically?

Saugus won the Foothill League championship outright in 2008 and claimed a co-championship last year the week after the regular season ended because it was found that original would-be co-champion Canyon used an ineligible player in its 51-28 Oct. 14 win over the Cents.

“No. Absolutely not,” Bornn said on if he considers last year’s team a Foothill champion. “We consider a Foothill League championship by way of wins and losses, not by forfeiture by another team. ... We don’t put that in our program. We don’t put it on a banner. We don’t put it on stationary.”

So one could see why Saugus always seems to be the team that plays with a chip on its shoulder.

Bornn said that’s an accurate assessment of the program.

So here are the chips in 2012.

People won’t expect the Centurions to compete for a Foothill League title in 2012 because they are young, because they have inexperienced players in key positions, because they aren’t as talented as other teams in the Foothill League, etc., etc.

Saugus heard doubts last season and look what it accomplished — Saugus played Valencia in the league finale for a Foothill League championship.

Valencia won the game 35-0, yet the Cents, as mentioned before, claimed a co-championship regardless.

“We do as good as we can with the players we have,” said reigning Foothill League Lineman of the Year Denley Rodriguez. “We make the best of it. People think we usually have a good defense, but nothing special. That we always finish fourth, sometimes last in league. We run the ball. We can’t pass the ball. But that will change this year.”

That is an interesting point to start on.

Bornn has said all summer that in order for his team to compete in the Foothill League, it will have to be more of a passing team.

He said sophomore quarterback Chris Hamilton, who said he prefers to pass more than run, will be passing more than Saugus quarterbacks of the past.

The most a quarterback has ever passed for under Bornn is Nick Gauthier in 2006, when he had 1,896 yards.

Most Saugus quarterbacks haven’t come close to that, yet all under Bornn had at least 400 rushing yards.

Hamilton was an All-Foothill League second-team defensive back last season as a freshman.

He’ll play both ways in 2012, but will be a first-year varsity quarterback.

“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, though, has mostly inexperienced receivers.

The most experienced, Kevin Lee, caught just nine passes (a team high in 2011) for 112 yards.

The hope is that underclassmen Dakota Taylor and Marc Langford can develop quickly.

The running back position does have a veteran in senior Vincent Gerardo, who rushed for 378 yards, and senior

Krishan Pierce, the team’s fastest player. Both are diminutive, but talented runners.

There’s a similar story on the offensive line with returning starters Adam Edwards and Christian Delgado, who are playing with sophomore tackles Christian Stevenson and Steven Allen.

Saugus has a strength on the defense.

Its two interior linemen are the dominant with tackle Rodriguez, at 275 pounds, and 270-pound nose guard Torrey Patterson.

Saugus has speed in the secondary with Taylor, Hamilton, Pierce and Alex Sanchez.

Davenport will be a key linebacker in the team’s 3-4 scheme.

Bornn said his special teams will be reliable.

If there’s a positive going into this season it’s that Saugus had one big loss on the offensive side of the ball in leading rusher and leading passer Jared Carbajal. It can recover from the other losses and Hamilton is eager to fill the hole left by Carbajal’s departure.

The Centurions have played system football on both sides of the ball under Bornn and have found success in terms of getting to the postseason.

Saugus has missed the playoffs just two times under Bornn.

But the system is supposedly changed in one aspect this year with the passing game.

If that change stays true, expect the unexpected from Saugus in 2012.

That’s just how Saugus prefers it.

 

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