Saugus battles St. Francis, loses first game of the season

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In a tightly contested preleague matchup against St. Francis, Saugus football suffered its first defeat of the 2018 season in 17-13 loss at St. Francis of La Canada on Friday.

Starting out with the ball, Saugus (4-1) leaned on running backs Julian Bornn and Reid Huseman with a 4-yard bubble pass and runs up the middle.

“Reid is just a workhorse and no one can stop him,” Saugus quarterback Cole Gallagher said. “Julian is elusive and fast and when those two guys are on, nobody can touch us.”

After a 3-yard sack, the Cents were forced to punt the ball, a trend that continued throughout the game.

With the Golden Knights driving on the first play of the game, the Centurions were able to catch a break as a St. Francis receiver fumbled the ball allowing the Cents to recover on their own 20-yard line.

Saugus couldn’t get anything going and were forced to punt for the second straight time after a 3 and out, but were able to recover a fumble on the Golden Knights’ next drive at the 50-yard line.

Relying on a variety of screen plays and runs up the middle by Bornn and Huseman, the Centurions were able to get on the board first, capping a 50-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown catch by senior wide receiver Trevor Girch.

After the first quarter, Saugus led 7-0.

After a Gallagher interception in the second quarter, the Golden Knights were able to get on the board with a 25-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 7-3.

Getting the ball back after a Saugus punt, the Golden Knights were able to put a drive together with about eight minutes left in the half, capping it with a 2-yard touchdown run.

The Golden Knights took their first lead of the game 10-7 after the extra-point try with 4:04 left in the first half.

On the other side of the half, St. Francis returned the opening kickoff 93 yards to extend their lead to 17-7.

Both teams combined to punt the ball eight times out of the next nine possessions until Saugus defender Matthew Ballentine intercepted a Perrantes pass and returned it to the Golden Knights’ 41 yard line with 7:29 left in the game.

Ballentine’s interception set up an 18-yard touchdown pass from Gallagher to Bornn to bring the Cents within a score. Opting to go for two, the Cents were stopped, bringing the score to 17-13 with 5:14 left in the game.

“We played very good, but we beat ourselves by not executing our calls,” Ballentine said. “I think if we executed our calls and did what we were supposed to do, we would have got the W.”

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