Saugus lost its season-finale to Hart but, more importantly, the Centurions came away from the game with a healthy Nathan Eldridge.
The Cents had already clinched a top-three finish in the Foothill League heading into their finale but Eldridge returned after a two-game hiatus with a right-arm injury.
Eldridge leads Saugus into its first-round CIF-Southern Section Division 6 matchup against Sonora on Friday at College of the Canyons.
Saugus (4-6) is one of three Foothill League teams in the CIF-SS Division 6 bracket, joining Golden Valley and Canyon. But they could only meet one of their league counterparts in a potential title game, being on opposite sides of the bracket.
After winning its first two league games, including a 17-0 win over Golden Valley, Saugus dropped its final three games of the year.
Eldridge rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown last week while also throwing a touchdown and an interception. He had the Centurions driving as time expired in the 22-14 loss.
Sonora (6-4) entered the postseason with an at-large bid after finishing fourth in the Freeway League. The Raiders failed to eclipse 21 points in league play but Saugus was not far behind.
The Cents exceeded 21 points just once (31) in a loss to Canyon. Their defense had allowed seven points through its two league wins but gave up an average of over 35 points in their three league losses. Senior running back Quinn Sheaffer enters 22 yards shy of reaching 1,000 on the season.