Saugus breaks loose on Golden Valley

By Jon Stein
For The Signal

The Saugus Centurions were visibly frustrated after their Oct. 25 loss to Hart.

On Friday night at Canyon High School, the Centurions made sure they were the ones causing the frustration.

Behind a bruising rushing attack and an uncharacteristically efficient passing effort, Saugus turned a tight first quarter into a blowout, 56-6 victory over the Golden Valley Grizzlies.

Saugus quarterback Chris Hamilton led the way, tying a Saugus football record with five touchdown passes (to five different receivers) on the night, throwing for 254 yards on 19-of-30 passing attempts.

“I’ve been tinkering with it, trying to get the offense (going),” Hamilton said. “We knew they were going to squash up. We’ve been working on (the passing game) all year and finally it paid off.”

Finishing was the biggest problem in the loss to Hart, as Saugus was able to hang around thanks to its defense, but couldn’t get much going on offense in an eventual 38-3 loss.

Finishing wasn’t a problem on Friday.

The Centurions (4-5 overall, 1-3 Foothill) used running back Reid Rupe to rip through the Golden Valley defense, particularly in the first half when the senior back rushed for 100 yards on 22 carries.

He would finish with 135 yards on 27 carries, including a 10-yard touchdown that gave Saugus a 28-6 lead with 7:59 remaining in the third quarter.

“They put (up to) nine people in the box, but we were able to pass it and open up the run,” Rupe said.

The game was more than just a single victory, though, it was a sign of hope — hope that the Centurions’ season could last beyond the 10-game regular season.

Two games below .500 and winless in league play entering Friday night’s contest, Saugus knew its only chance of an at-large berth into the CIF-Southern Section Northern Divison postseason was to win Friday and next week against West Ranch.

Step one complete.

“It was a little pressure relief,” Hamilton said. “But we still have to work hard. West Ranch is a good opponent. Going in, this could make or break our season.”

Despite the final score, Golden Valley (2-7, 0-4) had its opportunities, particularly early.

Trailing 6-0, the Grizzlies recovered a muffed punt at their own 29-yard line and tied the score at 6-6 on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Robert Phillips to wide receiver Malik Young with 11:52 remaining in the second quarter.

Phillips finished with 91 yards passing on 10-of-22 attempts.

But the Grizzlies struggled to get much more going and hurt themselves with two fumbles and 10 penalties for 78 yards.

“We played a good game, a great first quarter, and then a mistake happened,” said Golden Valley head coach Robert Fisher. “And when that happens, it all trickles down.”

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