Saugus Centurions boys’ lacrosse won its third straight Foothill League title on Wednesday, after a comeback road win at West Ranch.
The Centurions won the game 13-10 and received most of their scores on a 7-0 run through the second and third quarters.
Saugus was led by senior Tommy Forrand, who scored three of his game-high five goals during the run.
“I don’t aim to score. I aim to assist others,” Forrand said. “It just so happened that I scored five so this was a great game.”
West Ranch entered the game ready to play after falling to the Cents, 7-5, in their previous matchup. The Cats jumped to a 2-0 lead with goals from Ryan Donell and Ethan Mower. The Wildcat pair both finished with three goals.
For Cats first-year head coach Chris Taylor, intensity and matching Saugus’ physicality was the biggest difference in round two with the Centurions.
“Intensity,” said Taylor on the biggest difference between the Saugus games. “At times we moved the ball well, but have to do a better job of limiting unforced turnovers.”
Saugus eventually got on the board late in the first quarter with a pair of goals, but each were instantly answered by goals from Max Pearson.
Each team showcased strong faceoff games, with West Ranch’s Aiden Mulry and Saugus’ Aiden Cauoette going at it at midfield for most of the game. The two battled in each faceoff with the ball constantly bouncing around to outside midfielders.
However, Cauoette was able to force a ton of Centurion possession to spark the big run. Saugus first-year head coach Slade Barbosa believed that was the biggest game changer on Wednesday.
“I noticed towards the halfway point, our faceoff guy Aiden Cauoette really turned it on,” Barbosa said. “He started getting a couple and he got a couple points and we could see the momentum shift. You could see our players and those effort plays started just really getting the ball rolling for our guys.”
Saugus’ lead reached 9-4 early in the third quarter. Centurions junior Parker Teel got on the board with two goals, both coming from near midfield. Miguel Soria also added three goals for Saugus.
The Wildcats found some scores off a 3-0 run of their own but were never able to get back in striking distance in a do-or-die game for their league title hopes. The Saugus defense collapsed on the middle well but when the Cats did get shots off, goalies Matthew Hollenbaugh and Mason Teel were ready in between the posts to make a play.
“Hollenbaugh and Teel are both spectacular goalies, which is part of the reason I have no problem putting both of them in there,” Barbosa said. “And that wasn’t like a change of momentum or really any strategic strategy. We’ve got a junior and a senior that can play the game. So I’m happy to have both of them out there. They both made some big saves and I love the fact that we can get both of them in.”
Saugus has the chance to go undefeated in league for the second straight year and can reach that mark against Valencia.
“It’s our first three-peat as a program and I’m happy to be part of it,” Forrand said. “I put in my hard work, blood, sweat and tears into this team. We are looking dangerous and I can’t wait to look forward to the playoffs.”
West Ranch will look to lock up second place in league but Taylor was still proud of his team’s fight on Wednesday.
“I appreciated the effort and belief that we are never out of any game,” Taylor said. “When we are consistently dialed in we can be very explosive. It just didn’t go our way, but boy was it exciting to watch.”
Both teams return to action on Wednesday as West Ranch heads to Hart at 3 p.m. while Saugus returns home to host Valencia at 3:30 p.m.
“I have pretty high expectations for these boys,” Barbosa said. “Not to take anything from West Ranch but I came into this successful program and I knew they were capable of this. I think they started a little bit slow, that’s been an MO of our team and something that’s got to change. So even within a win, I think there’s stuff that our team needs to work on. But there were a lot of good things out here and the way they came back, that’s Saugus lacrosse.”