Sau­gus hopes to use mo­men­tum against Villa Park

The Signal - - Front page - By Dan Lovi Sig­nal Staff Writer

The Sau­gus foot­ball team is com­ing off its most thrilling win of the sea­son this past Fri­day – a dra­matic last-sec­ond 38-35 vic­tory at home against last sea­son’s Divi­sion 6 cham­pi­ons Bishop Diego.

Of course, the fact that it was a play­off game raised the in­ten­sity to a new level, but the way the game was won on a 43-yard field goal by kicker Colton Dolder as time ex­pired, stirred up all kinds of feel­ings for the Cen­tu­ri­ons.

It also brought the al­ready tight-knit Cents even closer to­gether.

“The win last week was def­i­nitely emo­tional,” said se­nior wide­out James Sumpter. “We have re­ally seen how we as a team can come to­gether and win ball games. We are a close group of guys and I def­i­nitely be­lieve how close we are as a team will ul­ti­mately help us to­mor­row night.”

Sau­gus (8-3) must come to­gether once again tonight as it will have its hands full tak­ing on un­de­feated Villa Park in the sec­ond round of the CIF-South­ern Sec­tion Divi­sion 4 play­offs.

Villa Park (11-0) is com­ing off a 34-12 win against Yu­caipa in its open­ing play­off game.

The Spar­tans dom­i­nated the Crestview League this year, much like they’ve done for the past decade.

They’ve won their league for nine straight years and haven’t lost a league game since 2013.

De­fense has been the Spar­tans’ strong­est as­set this sea­son, as they’ve al­lowed only 83 points in 10 games this year (one win was by for­feit), an aver­age of 8.3 points per game.

While Sumpter ac­knowl­edged that Villa Park’s de­fense can present prob­lems, he be­lieves the run­ning game, led by Reid Huse­man, will help open up the pass­ing game for quar­ter­back Cole Gal­lagher to find his mul­ti­tude of re­ceivers.

“I def­i­nitely be­lieve Reid (Huse­man) will be able to run all night. His abil­ity to break down de­fenses phys­i­cally can help us in the pass­ing game,” he said. “We have so many weapons on our of­fense I don’t think they can stop ev­ery­one. Also, Cole (Gal­lagher) has been very good at get­ting the ball to all of our re­ceivers all sea­son.”

On of­fense, Villa Park is led by ju­nior run­ning back An­thony Hakai who has rushed for 843 yards and 14 touch­downs on 176 car­ries.

Se­nior quar­ter­back Paul Piferi has thrown for 2,607 yards, 22 touch­downs and six in­ter­cep­tions.

If Sau­gus can win the turnover bat­tle and con­tinue to use its bal­anced at­tack, Sumpter be­lieves his team will have a great shot at keep­ing the play­off run alive.

“We have to work for each other and just limit our mis­takes. If we do that I think we will have an­other op­por­tu­nity to play next week,” he said.

File pho­tos

(Above) Ryan Ca­ma­cho (2) of West Ranch evades Hart de­fender Freddy Al­varenga (72) on Oct. 19. (Be­low) Sau­gus’ Matthew Ballentine pulls away from a Bishop Diego de­fender on Nov. 2.

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