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Foothill football: Centurions’ playoff push

Posted: November 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Saugus running back Ried Rupe (33) gets a block from Austin Gomes (4) as Rupe carries the ball toward the end zone against defender Rawston Redick (4) to set up a Saugus touchdown at Valenciah High on Friday night.

 

Whether or not West Ranch’s defense was capable of a much-needed, late-game stop against Saugus is debatable.

Nonetheless, Wildcats head coach Sean O’Brien wasn’t willing to let what-if scenarios dictate the outcome of his team’s season finale, and chose to take control of the odds in a game that his team was behind.

Down by a touchdown and faced with a fourth down in their own territory, the Wildcats attempted a fake punt to keep control of the ball with 4:10 remaining in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game at Valencia High School.

Fortunately for the Centurions, the gamble didn’t pay-off.

Following a defensive stuff and a field goal on the ensuing drive, Saugus (4-6 overall, 2-3 Foothill League) bookmarked its season with a 24-14 victory, and now hopes to receive an at-large CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoff bid as a result.

The Centurions rode a strong performance from sophomore Chris Hamilton, who went 16-for-20 for 217 yards through the air with one touchdown and one interception, adding another 61 yards and a touchdown with his feet.

Wildcats quarterback Gerrit Mouw countered with a strong showing, completing 12-of-17 passes for 128 yards and converting many third-and-long situations that were caused by untimely penalties.

Because both offenses played to a virtual stand still, the difference proved to be the Centurions’ ability to endure potential momentum changing plays.

After a Zahr Lyttle touchdown run brought the Wildcats (2-8, 1-4) within a touchdown late in the second quarter, West Ranch senior running back Mark Collins took the second half opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to tie the score 14-14.

Yet, just as the game seemed to have swung in favor of the Wildcats, Saugus embarked on a 69-yard drive, which culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by Hamilton to bring the score to 21-14.

The following drive, Saugus’ defense made an emphatic goal-line stand, before the Centurions special teams unit clinched the game by snuffing out the fake punt.

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