As halftime at Friday’s football game between Canyon and Saugus came to a close, the Cowboys surrounded an assistant coach, jumping and yelling four words.
“Who got my back?” the coach asked.
“I got your back,” the Cowboys boomed in unison.
Canyon football used that attitude to push them to their first league win of the season, a 35-31 victory over Saugus at home.
“We’ve been working hard for this,” said running back Taylor Tepesano. “We’ve been working from the beginning of last year after the season, we were right back on the grind. Hit the weight room for so long and it’s been a while for a win.”
Tepesano was the first to dent the scoreboard with a 2-yard scamper, which was set up by a fumble recovery by Roland Hardson seven plays earlier.
The Cowboys scored on their following possession when a lucky pass by Shawn Gallagher went through the hands of Luke Stuart and into the hands of Conner Reyes.
Saugus woke up on the next drive, with Elijah Gragas going on a 45-yard tear for a touchdown. Gragas then threw to Devin Thompson for a 39-yard touchdown to tie the score at 14-14.
Canyon’s ensuing drive consisted of 16 plays and ended with a Gallagher touchdown rush of six yards.
Gragas attempted a pass after the Centurions gained possession, but was picked off by Henry Vera to give the ball to Canyon for the remainder of the first half.
“They throw my way, they’re going to pay,” Vera said of the interception.
The excitement didn’t last long. On the opening kickoff of the second half, De’Maurea Pride-Ruiz returned the ball 93 yards for a touchdown to tie the game again.
“We always scheme our special teams to take advantage of what the other teams do … we did the right things and he did what he did,” said Saugus coach Jason Bornn.
Saugus scored a field goal to pull ahead 24-21, but a Tepesano touchdown got Canyon the lead once again.
Pride-Ruiz scored once more on a punt return with 11:14 remaining in the game. However, Tepesano polished off the win with a 5-yard touchdown.