Centurions football team puts team manager in end zone on senior night
Not much has gone the way that Saugus High School football head coach Jason Bornn envisioned for his Centurions in the 2023 season.
Just ask team manager Peyton Marquez, a Saugus senior in his second year involved with the program.
“It hasn’t been the very best season, but we gave it our all and we would never give up,” Marquez said.
Despite an 0-9 start to the campaign with just one game left in the regular season, the Centurions still made sure to honor their seniors prior to last week’s game against the Canyon Cowboys. One of those was Marquez, a “football nut” as Bornn put it, who was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, leaving him confined to a wheelchair.
After the senior players were announced before the start of the game, the two teams lined up just over 10 yards out of one of the end zones at College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium. With Marquez, affectionately known as “Turbo” due to his zooming electric wheelchair, in the backfield, the ball was snapped and then handed off to Marquez, who wheeled his way for the touchdown before celebrating with a spike reminiscent of former NFL star Rob Gronkowski.
“I’ve been waiting this whole season to really do something, and I got in touch with the coach and I was like, ‘We need to make something happen on senior night,’” Marquez said. “So we made it happen.”
Marquez entered the field with the Saugus players giving him high-fives and fist bumps. The players erupted when he crossed into the end zone before circling around him to commemorate the moment with a team photo.
That’s just what Marquez means to this program, Bornn said.
“He’s one of them,” Bornn said. “I mean, they’ve all embraced them. They don’t treat him any different, any special than anybody else. I mean, they razz him, they high-five him. They treat him like he’s one of their own.”
Marquez, who said he grew up loving football due to his dad’s love of the game, joined the football program as a junior and quickly made a name for himself, according to Bornn. The players and coaching staff welcomed him.
Over a year later, Marquez is the team’s videographer at practices and is on the sidelines at every game.
“He came to us last year and wanted to just help out and participate in any way he could,” Bornn said. “Last year, he was basically a sideline cheerleader, motivator. And then this year, we gave him the responsibility of filming our practices. We have a drone and he’s the drone master. So he films all our practices and just helps out in any way he can.”
Marquez has just one more game to hone his skills before deciding on how he can best use them in his future. He is planning to attend UCLA and major in electrical engineering.
While there, Marquez hopes to land a role with the UCLA football program.
But while he’s still a Centurion, Marquez is going to relish the time he has left.
“I’ll miss it a lot, but the memories we made on this team are gonna last forever,” Marquez said.