For those who thought Saugus High winning the Foothill League title last spring might have been a fluke, pay attention. The Centurions (7-1, 3-0) are playing West Ranch (7-1, 3-0) on Friday night at College of the Canyons with the chance to win another league title.
Valencia had won the Foothill League title for 11 consecutive seasons until last spring. What’s happening at Saugus?
“We’re doing well because we have a phenomenal group of kids,” Saugus coach Jason Bornn said.
Other coaches in the league point toward Saugus’ youth football program that has been growing and growing while others in the Santa Clarita Valley struggle to regain their footing following COVID-19 issues. Saugus was the only program in the league to have a separate freshman team this season with some 60 players.
Senior Jacob Faraldo has been an important contributor on offense, rushing for 525 yards and five touchdowns. On defense, junior Dylan Hampsten has 10 sacks. And quarterback Brady Welch has added a boost after becoming eligible Oct. 3 following his transfer from Texas. He had attended Saugus, left during COVID-19 and returned.
But the player who has been doing everything but fill the water bottles is junior Jacob Viger, who is credited with 62 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss. He’s also the punter, the kicker, plays running back and plays slot receiver.
“He’s like Jim Thorpe,” said Bornn, referring to the American athlete from the 20th century who played professional football, basketball and baseball and won Olympic gold.
“I haven’t seen a kid like this in a long time. He looks like a surfer-motor cross rider. He’s very unassuming, but man, he’s a freak.”
Viger is 5 feet 10, 175 pounds and has a knack for being able to contribute anywhere.
West Ranch presents a major challenge thanks to junior quarterback Ryan Staub, who has passed for 1,977 yards and 17 touchdowns.
But Saugus will turn to Viger & Co. for the chance to win another Foothill League title.