Saugus builds a big lead early before losing to Simi Valley

By Paul Putignano

For The Signal

The Saugus football team proved it can put up points in a hurry during its season opener against Simi Valley.

However, a heartbreaking touchdown in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter brought down the Centurions 48-44 on Friday night at the College of the Canyons despite six combined rushing touchdowns from seniors Chris Hamilton and Troy Williams.

Pioneers quarterback Davis Pinkston found a sliding Blake Kissane in the end zone with 2:28 left in the game to bring the game to its final score. It was Simi Valley’s first lead of the game.

“We’ve got to get back to work,” Hamilton said. “We’ve got to execute our calls. That’s about it.”

The Centurions’ third-year starting quarterback scored three times on the ground and passed for 159 yards with two interceptions — both to Pinkson — including one on Saugus’ final drive.

Pinkson racked up 325 yards passing, four touchdowns, and one interception but was a virtual non-factor in the first quarter as the Centurions (0-1) rushed out to a 30-14 lead behind three scores from Williams.

Williams finished with 122 yards on 26 carries, while teammate Marc Langford paced Saugus’ receivers with 97 yards on five catches.

Saugus appeared to be cruising, but Simi Valley (1-0) found its stride in the second quarter, outscoring Saugus 20-7. The Pioneers narrowed the gap to 37-34 before halftime thanks to Pinkston’s touch on the ground and through the air, finding Kissane and Colby Banks for touchdowns. The score remained tight through the third thanks to Hamilton’s diving touchdown at the 5:05 mark and Pinkston’s 12-yard connection with James Cuillard.

But entering the fourth quarter down 44-41, Pinkston’s 9-yard strike to Kissane capped off the game.

Hamilton added 49 yards on 12 carries, pinballing off defenders and putting his passion on full display.

Pinkston rushed for 31 yards and one score, while teammate Drew Moore added 36 yards on five carries. Kissane led the Pioneers with seven receptions for 75 yards.

Saugus will look to rebound at Buena of Ventura on Friday.