By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
For The Signal
The Saugus Centurions (5-1, 1-0) destroyed the home Canyon Cowboys (2-3, 0-1) in Friday night’s league opener.
Saugus controlled from the start behind the relentless Centurion defense, which was one play away from its third shutout on the season. The offense also rarely missed any beats and when it rains, it pours.
The Centurions would hold the Cowboys without a first down throughout the first quarter. Saugus did not let up at all and would hit its points per game average before the end of the first quarter, leading 28-0.
Saugus finally got the green light to start quarterback Brady Welch, whose transfer sit-out period ended just days before the matchup with Canyon.
Welch got his first action, sending interim quarterback and lifelong friend Sebastian Dallaire back to his natural position of wide receiver. However, Dallaire would get the first passing score of the night, throwing to Welch on a trick play to go up 12-0 in the first quarter.
“We grew up on the same street together,” said Dallaire. “We were 9 years old always throwing the football.”
Dallaire would show his speed on the next score on a crossing route, scoring an easy 33-yard touchdown pass from Welch. Dallaire finished with a pair of touchdown catches and the touchdown pass in his three quarters of action.
Welch, who captained the team in his first outing, looked like he had been running the Centurion offense for years. The senior was on the money all night, throwing four touchdown passes as well as reeling one in.
“It felt good to be back,” Welch said. “We worked all summer for it. We were prepared. Even when I had to sit out, we kept working.”
Saugus’ defense set up camp in the Canyon backfield and registered five sacks.
Canyon wouldn’t find any life on offense until the second quarter behind running back Corbett McDaniel. The workhorse back got the running game going behind several big runs.
However, Canyon risked the points, going for it on fourth down on the Centurion 9-yard line. The Cowboys were turned away after Saugus’ Dylan Hamptsen came up with a huge sack on Canyon quarterback Landon Naasz.
The Cowboys would pay immediately on the very next play, as Welch hit wide receiver Khai Ky-Yeith for an untouched 91-yard touchdown strike.
Centurion running back Jacob Faraldo was his normal self, making big plays on the ground as well as in the passing game. Faraldo finished with one rushing score.
Nearly every Saugus starter was pulled midway through the third, but Saugus was still not done. After a Canyon fumble on their own 10-yard line, Saugus head coach Jason Bornn called it a night for his starting lineup. Backup running back Mikel Rabadi entered the game and scored on the ground after the turnover to cap off the Centurions’ masterful offensive performance.
The 49-point outburst was Saugus’ second highest mark in a league game in eight seasons.
“We wanted to make a statement with this first one and I think we did,” said Welch.
Saugus was one minute away from registering its third shut out of the year. But with backups in for the majority of the second half, the team finally let up at the very end. Cowboys backup quarterback Ty Sparks heaved a great ball to wide receiver Kaleb Alexander, who reeled in the Cowboys’ sole score.
Saugus has now won eight straight games over Canyon, all under Bornn.
“We felt the energy all throughout school and in the locker room before the game,” said Dallaire. “It transferred right onto the field.”
Canyon is still winless at home this year and has now lost 17 straight Foothill league games.
Saugus will return home next week to host Hart while Canyon will head to Valencia. Both games kick off Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.