By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Staff Writer
No. 1 Saugus capped off their big week with a 14-6 win over West Ranch.
The Centurions were finally bumped to the top-ranked spot in the Division 2 Southern Section polls and have sealed their second consecutive Foothill league title with the win on Wednesday.
Saugus controlled the game early and applied every ounce of pressure they could on West Ranch.
The team was led by senior Connor Levine, who netted four goals, including his first score coming immediately in the first minute.
The Centurions were on every rebound and loose ball, owning the possession early.
The Wildcats were stuck on defense and wouldn’t get the ball across midfield until after nearly five long first-quarter minutes.
West Ranch would work the ball around relentlessly and waited patiently for the Saugus defense to show a crack. After a long possession, Max Pearson netted the Cats’ first score.
Pearson and Tyler Jones led West Ranch with two goals apiece.
Both teams proceeded to exchange blows, with no team able to pull away and go on a run until halfway through the second quarter.
Saugus exploded and scored four unanswered goals in less than a five-minute span to take a 7-3 lead at the half. The Centurions had a couple of opportunities to go up even more, with West Ranch being penalized and forced to play shorthanded. However, the Cats managed to keep Saugus scoreless through both shorthanded minutes.
Levine scored his second of the game to net the first unanswered goal of the day.
“I’m just looking to move the ball,” said Levine. “I’m looking for my opportunity, looking to cut. I’m always looking to make a play.”
Then after some great ball movement, Blake Zimmerman found a cutting Charlie Bland for a quick catch and shoot. Bland netted the Centurions’ seventh goal to cap off the gut-wrenching run for Saugus.
West Ranch climbed back into the game immediately after the halftime break. The Cats amped up the defensive pressure and got plenty of offense from the effort. The offense netted two goals in the first four minutes, cutting the Saugus lead to two.
“[At halftime] I just told them to go out and have some fun and just enjoy themselves,” said West Ranch head coach Mike Borsos. “They started playing well. I’m proud of what they did. Saugus is a good team.”
The Cats were creeping back into the game, forcing Saugus to bring down the hammer once more. The Centurions would explode again for a 5-0 run to give themselves a more than comfortable lead.
“Last year they had a comeback on us and they ended up winning by one,” said Levine. “Let’s just say we weren’t going to let that happen again. So, we stayed on the gas.”
Bland would score two of his three goals in the fourth quarter. The goal machine’s last goal came after delivering a harsh spin move, which dropped a West Ranch defender before Bland netted the team’s 13th goal.
Nearly 10 different players scored for Saugus as they displayed their stranglehold over the Foothill League.
Senior Ryan Maycott played his usual game and dominated his faceoffs. Maycott finished his day with two goals.
The league champs will now have the week off to prepare for their final league game at Valencia.
“This program has worked and worked to be league champs,” said Saugus head coach Joseph Viola. “To say thrilled is an understatement.”
Saugus will go for the undefeated Foothill League season Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.