By Jonathan Andrade
For The Signal
Not long after the opening whistle, it became apparent it was going to be a long night for the Saugus High football team.
A fumbled kickoff return gave host Simi Valley prime field position on the Centurions’ 23-yard line. The Pioneers scored three plays later and never let up en route to a 56-0 blowout Friday night.
“We keep fighting and trying to do the best we can with everything that’s been going on this year,” head coach Jason Bornn said, noting injuries have plagued the Centurions this fall.
The drubbing dragged on throughout the night as the Saugus offense — led by sophomore quarterback Jake Nuttall in the opening half — failed to gain a single first down all night.
Has a Bornn-led offense ever been stymied like this in his 21 years at the helm?
“Not that I recall, no,” he said.
The Centurions’ nightmare first half included four three-and-outs, an interception and a blocked punt. Simi Valley started all but one first-half possession in the Saugus half of the field. By the time the horn sounded for halftime, Simi Valley had racked up a 49-point lead.
The Centurions — late to take the field in the second half — wouldn’t call it quits until the clock read zeros.
“You have to keep your head up and keep going,” said senior defensive tackle Wyatt Hawk of his team’s relentless effort throughout the night.
Saugus fared well against the pass but simply couldn’t stop the run, specifically Simi Valley junior running back Brice Hawkins, who at one point in the game scored on four consecutive carries of 3, 35, 28 and 7 yards.
Saugus’ defense finally forced its first punt on Simi Valley’s first second-half possession, but the offense went three-and-out and Simi Valley tacked on another touchdown the next possession.
A running clock in the second half helped expedite the inevitable.
The Centurions will need to put this loss behind them quickly as their Foothill League opener looms. Saugus plays host to Valencia next Friday.
Hawk and the Centurions are keeping a positive mindset.
“You can always build from a bad game,” he said. “Every single one of us can build to be a better football player.
“It’s obviously going to be a hard-fought season, but you have to keep going. You can’t give up. You can’t quit.”
Bornn said coaches and players will review the film thoroughly to try to make necessary adjustments for league play.
“You’re either green and growing or ripe and dying,” Bornn said. “We’re going to grow.”
If the team can get healthy, Bornn is certain his team can compete.
When asked which players specifically could help Saugus, Bornn responded: “You don’t have enough paper to write them all.”