TJ Cataldi threw three TDs for the Centurions Friday night.

By  – Los Angeles Daily News

VALENCIA — After not playing against each other in the 2021 fall season due to Covid-19 issues in the Valencia program, reigning back-to-back Foothill League champion Saugus defeated Valencia 28-21 to start off Foothill League Friday night.

Saugus was led by its fast and physical defense, which held Valencia’s offense to only 212 total yards in the contest and held Vikings quarterback Trey Erickson to just109 yards passing, and one touchdown, and intercepted him twice.

Saugus also kept Valencia scoreless in the second half after trailing 21-14 at halftime. Jaden Lemmons’ interception with 12 seconds left in the game sealed the victory for the Centurions (4-1).

“Our gameplan is to try and take away the thing they do best, and the pass is one thing they do really well, and I thought we did some good things on the pass attack, but we gotta go back and watch the film and make sure we don’t get hurt on the run attack again,” Saugus coach Jason Bornn said.

Quarterback TJ Cataldi was very efficient for Saugus going 12 of 17 for 189 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Saugus tailback Jake Viger ran the ball 10 times for 84 yards with a rushing touchdown and also a receiving touchdown, which was Saugus’ first score of the game to make it 7-0 in the middle of the first quarter.

“The whole team wanted it, we fought through injuries, and fought through everything, but I believe we have the better players and the better coaches, too.” Cataldi said.

Valencia (2-3) tied the game at 7-7 on Erickson’s lone touchdown pass of the night on an 8-yard completion to receiver Brandon Boateng to open the second quarter. Valencia would then convert once again on a 36-yard touchdown run from Daniel Hernandez to make it 14-7 Valencia with 6:46 remaining in the first half.

Viger scored his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run to tie the game at 14-14 during a drive where he also had a 65-yard run. Valencia would take a 21-14 lead into the locker room when Tyler Thompson intercepted Cataldi and ran it back 63 yards for a touchdown.

Saugus scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cataldi to AJ Goodman on the first play of the final quarter to tie the game at 21-21.

Cataldi later found Goodman again, this time on a 75-yard touchdown pass to give Saugus a 28-21 lead with 8:57 remaining in the game. Goodman finished the game with four catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Daniel Hernandez had 16 rushes for 90 yards and one touchdown for Valencia.