Saugus High junior Tanner Brown’s shot hurtled 35 yards through the air, but he remained still.
The free kick zipped past a diving goalkeeper, but Brown didn’t move.
Finally, he raised a clenched fist to his mouth as if to say he couldn’t believe what just happened.
The atmosphere was one of surprise at Hart High on Tuesday after the Foothill League opener.
Not because Saugus beat Hart, for the second time this season no less, but due to the lopsided 4-1 score.
“Hart has been the team that we couldn’t beat and we don’t know what it was,” said Saugus senior forward Josh De Leon, who scored two goals and assisted on another. “It feels great to finally get a win. The score could have been 2-1 and it still would have felt great.”
De Leon wasn’t kidding. Saugus (7-4-3 overall, 1-0-0 in Foothill) had beaten Hart just twice (not counting a forfeit) in the teams’ last 15 meetings entering Tuesday.
The most recent rendition started the same way as so many others. Hart (10-4-2, 0-1-0) scored first when Jaden Nguyen headed in a perfect Jesus Trejo pass in the 21st minute.
Oppositely, Saugus got off to a tentative beginning. Cents coach Seth Groller felt his team showed first Foothill game jitters early. But after De Leon headed a pass to Jason Hindigian for a goal in the 30th minute, Saugus said goodbye to any nerves.
The Centurions scored again three minutes later on Brown’s boot, and led 2-1 at half thanks to Matt Sayers’ save of a point-blank shot in the closing minutes.
Sayers made seven saves on the day, halting Hart’s momentum in the process.
The Indians hadn’t lost in six straight games since losing to Saugus, 3-2, in a consolation game of the Hart Soccer Showcase on Dec. 29.
“I’m not saying it’s over,” said Hart coach Adonay Jovel of his team’s hopes of a Foothill League title. “It’s just starting. This thing could go all the way to the last game.”
Still, Jovel knows the Indians are in a position of having to play catch-up, already a game behind league contenders Saugus and Valencia.
In the 53rd minute, James Johnson launched a cross to Collin Infuso, whose shot was blocked by Hart goalie Jacob Tomaszewski. However, the ball caromed to De Leon for an easy goal.
De Leon scored on another rebound in the 64th minute.
Valencia 4, West Ranch 1
Omar Darwish, Brennon Book, Sean Kim and Ian Young scored for the Vikings (8-2-3, 1-0-0). West Ranch fell to 2-3-1 overall and 0-1-0 in league.
Canyon 1, Golden Valley 1
Joshua Roque scored for the Cowboys (0-8-4, 0-0-1). Darian Cerin scored on a penalty kick for Golden Valley (1-7-2, 0-0-1).