Saugus football fought to regain a lead twice in its 29-27 win over Buena of Ventura at College of the Canyons, and it’s hard to tell which one was more fun to watch.
First, in the second quarter, Devin Thompson intercepted Bulldogs (0-3) quarterback Coby Barbar. Five plays later, Thompson caught a 16-yard pass from Nathan Eldridge to put Saugus (2-1) ahead 17-14.
It was a rewarding moment for the pair, who worked hard to create chemistry after Thompson battled an injury all of last season and Eldridge missed the summer due to an injury of his own.
“We couldn’t really get that connection until I guess now,” Thompson said.
Trailing again as the third quarter came to a close, Eldridge took a serpentine path across 41 yards to the end zone to pull the Cents ahead 23-21.
“I was going to set it up like I was going to pass and make a move outside and try to get out of bounds,” he said, “but as I was running toward the sideline I just saw the whole defense start to shift over and saw a little crease and I tried to take it. I had perfect blocking out there.”
Eldridge would add another touchdown to close the third when he found Keith Brooker to stretch the Saugus lead to 29-21.
Buena struck back when Barbar connected with Andrew Tilkens for a 75-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but said no more after that.
Saugus running back Quinn Sheaffer, who rushed for 124 yards, was a menace on the ground. Thompson said he saw the running back drag a defender 15 yards, resulting in a jersey that was so ripped Sheaffer had to change.
“That’s one thing about Quinn,” Thompson said. “He keeps his feet moving.”
Eldridge provided additional support in the ground game with two rushing touchdowns. Through the air, he completed 17 of 28 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Barbar threw for four touchdowns and provided a challenge for the Cents’ defense.