Day, location set for Saugus boys soccer’s CIF final

Saugus' James Johnson (9) dribbles the ball by Culver City's goal keeper after a failed save as fellow Centaur, Sho Gibbs (15), reacts during a CIF playoff soccer game at Saugus on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

After winning two Alfred Hitchcock-esque thrillers, one could excuse the Saugus High boys soccer team if it struggled to refocus for its CIF-Southern Section Division 4 final.

The Centurions, after all, trailed for roughly 77 minutes of Tuesday’s semifinal against Norwalk, yet walked away unscathed at La Mirada High after Tanner Brown’s 49-yard free-kick goal near the end of regulation and James Johnson’s golden goal in a second overtime.

It sounds like a dream.

The Centurions affirmed Wednesday, however, their feet are firmly planted in reality.

MORE: Saugus boys soccer beats Norwalk for first CIF final appearance

“At this point, it was just kind of another game,” said Johnson, whose team won its quarterfinal game in double overtime, too. “We celebrated that night, but now we’re on to the next one — the most important one.”

The next one, the CIF announced Wednesday, will be on Friday at 7 p.m. at Warren High in Downey.

Saugus (17-6-4), the first team in program history to ever play in a CIF final and only the second boys soccer team in Santa Clarita Valley history to accomplish the feat, already knew it was playing Bellflower High (16-8-1), which defeated Western High of Anaheim, 3-2 in double overtime, on Tuesday.

The Centurions needed a Hail Mary of sorts just to get to a first overtime Tuesday, with Brown’s free kick sailing into the 18-yard box, carrying further still, and falling in over Norwalk’s keeper.

Then Johnson sent Saugus fans home happy with his 26th goal of the year.

“I’m still smiling,” Centurions goalie Matt Sayers said.

Saugus is sending a rooter bus of students Friday to Warren, which is located at 8141 De Palma Street in Downey.

Admission gates open at 4:30 p.m., with the girls Division 5 game to precede Saugus’ contest.

General admission is $10. Students, with a high school ID, can get in for $5.

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