While this year’s contest between Saugus and Hart will feature a bevy of new players including a quarterback for each team that didn’t play in last season’s game, the rivalry still runs deep.
Cole Gallagher has taken over for Nathan Eldridge and has excelled so far, helping lead Saugus to a 4-1 preleague record. Gallagher has 676 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions, plus 158 rushing yards and seven rushing scores on the season.
Zach Johnson took over for JT Shrout and has looked equally impressive, throwing for 1236 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has 44 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns as well in helping lead Hart to a 3-2 record.
While the records don’t disappear, league play represents a somewhat fresh start, as players on both teams are excited to get going.
“League is basically what it’s all about because this is what determines the playoffs and how you are viewed by the community,” Saugus offensive lineman Nathan Tripp said. “It’s playing for bragging rights. So we’re really excited to play our first league game.”
“We’ve been waiting five games for this,” said Hart receiver and defensive back Michael Colangelo. “I know a few of the guys and there is a little bit of a rivalry. It’s fun to compete against them.”
On the defensive side, Colangelo believes hurrying Gallagher and making him press will give his team a big advantage.
Breaking through the Centurions’ tough offensive line is no easy task, however.
“They are a solid team and they have some big lineman,” Colangelo said. “So getting pressure on the quarterback is going to be big for our defense. We need to get some stops.”
Tripp and his fellow linemen will look to continue to protect Gallagher the best they can and make it difficult for Hart’s defense all night long.
“I feel that their D-linemen are well coached and know where they’re supposed to get to,” Tripp said. “To be successful as the offensive linemen we have to execute our plays and communicate. Make sure everyone is on the same page and play our brand of football.”
Saugus’ brand is all about consistency, using a balanced attack and scrapping on every play.
“We’re going to fight for every yard, every play and every down,” Tripp said.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at College of the Canyons in a designated home game for the Indians.