The Saugus Centurions (1-0) started off their season in dramatic fashion, as senior Jacob Viger kicked the game-winning field goal with 5:40 left in the second half to beat the Rio Mesa Spartans (0-1) on the road Thursday, 17-14.
Saugus had been trailing for nearly the entirety of the first half before TJ Cataldi found Austin Treahy on a hail mary on the final play to cut the deficit in half, 14-7. Then, on the first play of the second half, AJ Goodman ran the ball back 98 yards on the kickoff to tie the game at 14-14.
The score would remain the same through the rest of the third. Both teams were able to march down the field, but weren’t able to capitalize.
That is until Viger stepped up from 25 yards out and hit a line drive off the crossbar and through the uprights, giving the Centurions their first lead, and win, of the season.
Saugus head coach Jason Bornn credited his players for coming down from an emotional first half – the first first half of the season – and putting themselves in the right mindset to win the game.
“We had a nice chat during halftime and got the kids to understand that, look, we got to settle down emotionally,” Bornn said in a phone interview with The Signal. “We can’t play recklessly. We have to do what we’ve been coached and taught to do. And that’s what they did.”
It was a typical start to a season, Bornn said, noting both sides had sloppy play, and possibly some nerves.
“It’s been a while since we’ve played against somebody. And it’s a semi-normal year; you don’t have all the issues with COVID and everything,” Bornn said. “So from that perspective, yeah, I think it was a little bit of nerves and just trying to maybe do a little too much, trying to press a little too much, trying to do stuff that was outside the realm of what you’re supposed to do.”
This was the sixth straight win for Saugus in the regular season dating back to Sept. 17, 2021, when the Centurions beat Oxnard at home, 35-12.
Saugus will look to make it back-to-back wins to start the season when it hosts Moorpark at COC next Friday.