Saugus football dominates from start to finish in season opener

The Centurions celebrate in the end zone following a pick six by Saugus senior Matthew Ballentine in their season opener versus Taft at College of the Canyons on Friday night. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

Saugus opened the season with a bang Friday night, defeating Taft 63-0 at College of the Canyons.

The Centurions (1-0) dominated from the get-go, scoring a touchdown on their first defensive possession after a botched punt attempt from the Toreadors near their end zone. Junior linebacker Jakob Corrigan scooped up the ball and scored to give Saugus a 7-0 lead that continued to grow by the minute.

Shortly after, with the first carry in his varsity career, sophomore running back Julian Bornn took it to the house on a 15-yard dash through the middle, giving Saugus a 14-0 advantage.

“It was amazing, I was nervous up until my very first play,” Bornn said. “But after that first play I was just super excited.”

Saugus sophomore Julian Bornn scores to put Saugus up 14-0 at Cougar Stadium at College of the Canyons against Taft on Friday night. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

Saugus head coach Jason Bornn believes his son Julian is one of several options the team could use moving forward.

“He’s just one of many weapons that we have on offense,” Bornn said. “When those players get the opportunity to touch the ball, all we ask them to do is do what the scheme calls them to do and the rest is on you. In that particular situation, he [Julian] did exactly what we asked him to do.”

The onslaught continued in the first quarter, as cornerback Matthew Ballentine picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown, giving Saugus a 20-0 lead after a missed point after attempt.

Less than a minute later, the Centurions scored again, recovering another Taft fumble by the goal line, giving them a 27-0 advantage.

The Centurions never let off the gas pedal, carrying a 57-0 lead into halftime, Senior running back Reid Huseman pounded the ball into the end zone on a 6-yard run and junior running back Josh Bond also reached paydirt on a 2-yard run as the first half was coming to a close. Saugus also recorded a safety when Taft mishandled another punt attempt and the ball flew out of the end zone.

Quarterback Cole Gallagher threw the ball only six times all game and of his six pass attempts, two went for touchdowns — an 18-yard pass to Ballentine and a 41-yard bomb to Bornn, giving both players two touchdowns for the evening.

Saugus senior Matthew Ballentine hauls in an over the shoulder pass from Cole Gallagher in the end zone. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

With such a large advantage at halftime, Saugus had the chance to play some of its backups and give its starters the rest of the night off.

“We had an opportunity to get a lot of young men in tonight that may have not ordinarily got in,” Bornn said. “That’s great for everyone involved.”

“It feels great because those are the guys that no one gets to see on the field during games,” said starting center Nathan Tripp. “They work their butts off all week in practice and they don’t get the reward of playing. So it feels great when we get to have backups come in and even score and celebrate with them.”

Junior quarterback Brayden Giraldo took over for Gallagher and led the Centurions down the field for one final score. Giraldo used a quarterback sneak to punch it in from the 1-yard line, giving Saugus a 63-0 lead.

Saugus did not throw a single pass in the second half and used the victory formation when they got the ball back in the fourth quarter.

The Centurions defense was overpowering throughout, allowing only one Taft first down the entire game. The defensive line smothered the opposing offensive line, recording several tackles for loss and a handful of group tackles.

“It was amazing, it helped out that everyone was doing their job,” said senior defensive end Carson Smith. “It was really important because the defense helped set the tempo and now we have to carry it on to next week.”

Saugus will look to continue their hot start when they take on Agoura in another home game next week on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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