Saugus football routs Granada Hills in season opener

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In the middle of the second quarter, with Saugus football ahead of Granada Hills 7-0, Centurions quarterback Colton FitzGerald took the snap, turned to his right, and got the ball to receiver Cade Gallagher.

Gallagher took the ball, cocked his arm back and launched it to a wide open Hunter Girch, who caught the pass with ease and scored on a 39-yard touchdown.

The sideline erupted as the Centurions took a two-score lead on their way to a 36-0 trouncing of the Highlanders on the road Friday night. 

“I was so excited, I worked so hard for that moment, my first varsity touchdown,” said Girch, who finished with two catches for 44 yards and a score. “Cade put it in the perfect spot for me, got under, pretty good throw, it was just amazing. I loved it.”

Gallagher was all over the field on Friday, from throwing a touchdown pass to returning punts, catching passes and racking up tackle after tackle on defense. Wherever the ball was, No. 4 seemed to be in close proximity.

The senior finished the game with the 39-yard touchdown pass, two catches for 34 yards and a touchdown, plus a handful of tackles. 

“I’m just doing everything I can with my physical ability and mental ability to help the team,” Gallagher said. “Everything is for them, everything is for the coaches, for my family. I’ll do anything, I’ll kick the ball, I’ll throw the ball, I’ll do anything as long we win.”

The touchdown throw from Gallagher wasn’t the only big play Saugus had in its repertoire. 

With 10 seconds left in the first half, running back Cameron Warr caught a screen pass from FitzGerald and powered his way for a 33-yard touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, running back Josh Bond took a direct snap and sped down the left sideline on his way for a 58-yard touchdown run. 

“I’ve done it before, it’s just something that we’re adding on to add to our arsenal, something we can do to enhance our offense,” Bond said. “We go out there, practice really hard everyday and it just shows up on the field.”

Bond also scored the first points of the game on the Centurions’ first drive, as they worked their way down the field, at one point getting the Highlanders to jump offsides three plays in a row including on a fourth-down situation. 

Bond capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown. 

“We have a lot of potential on this team. We have a lot of players at every position,” Bond said. “If someone gets we hurt we have another player who can step up and do the same job. We have utility players everywhere with a big powerful arsenal.”

The senior running back and linebacker finished the contest with 69 rushing yards, two touchdowns and two catches for 13 yards. He also had a couple of highlight tackles on special teams plays.

Warr had 69 receiving yards and a score on four catches plus a few yards on the ground.

Playing in his first varsity game, FitzGerald looked poised and collected, finding his receivers with good looks and also using his escapability to avoid sacks. 

The junior went 14-for-23 for 161 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

“He did a great job for his first game, he really came out there and stepped up,” Gallagher said of his quarterback. “He knew what he was doing, knew the concept of what we were going to do and trusted every single person on offense.”

The big guys on the defensive front which included Seth Edwards, Zach Swartz and Logan DeShazer also executed their game plan extremely well.

The Highlanders ran the ball on nearly every play, throwing only two passes all game, but the defensive line was ready. As were the linebackers and secondary, who were able to inch up and get a few stuffs of their own.

“Over film from their scrimmage, we saw that they love to pound the ball and we planned for it,” Bond said. “At first we were a little sluggish but after a while we started to catch up on it and we just pounded them.”

“I was just anticipating the run, trusting the guys to the right of me to bounce out to me so I could get the tackles for the team,” Gallagher added.

The Centurions will look to build on the momentum when they face Agoura on the road next week.

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