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Road Warriors stun

Alemany travels to COC and edges Centurions

Posted: September 26, 2008 10:45 p.m.
Updated: November 28, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Saugus running back Ryan Zirbel rushes through the Alemany defense in the second quarter Friday night at College of the Canyons. Saugus running back Ryan Zirbel rushes through the Alemany defense in the second quarter Friday night at College of the Canyons.
Saugus running back Ryan Zirbel rushes through the Alemany defense in the second quarter Friday night at College of the Canyons.

Offense was abundant in the first quarter of Saugus' matchup with Alemany, but a lackluster second half and controversy proved to be just what the Warriors needed on Friday night.

With the 27-20 victory, Alemany (3-0) avenged last year's blowout loss at home to the Centurions behind the stellar play of junior running back Malcolm Marable who finished with 231 yards on 34 carries and three touchdowns.

Marable's strong play outshined Saugus' quarterback Desi Rodriguez who rushed for 152 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. The 6-0, 190 senior also had a 26-yard touchdown scramble called back due to holding which would have given the Centurions the lead late in the game.

"We play like we practice," Rodriguez said, noting that he didn't feel like they had prepared well enough during the week.

Saugus (2-1) and Alemany scored four combined touchdowns in the first quarter, but both teams stayed on the ground in the second half, between them throwing eight passes after the first frame.

However, controversy came late in the game when on third down, Warriors junior quarterback David Metcalf released the ball just before getting drilled for a would-be safety as the ball landed shy of his receiver.

The officials called pass interference, moving the ball from the 4-yard line to the 19 and appeared to give Alemany new life. Two plays later, Marable broke loose for a 77-yard sprint up the left side, taking the lead for good.

"I think we were the underdog so we just came out and played our best," Marable said. "Everyone thought we were going to lose."

On homecoming night, the loss was visibly difficult for Saugus to take.

"Disappointed," Saugus head coach Jason Bornn said. "Frustrated. I thought we practiced well enough come out and compete in this game and put one in the win column."

The loss may have stung more given the Centurion's early success.

In the first quarter, Alemany cashed in on a fumble by Centurion running back Ryan Zirbel.

Marable took the ball in for a 1-yard touchdown, the Warriors' second attempt to punch the ball in from the five following a 38-yard bomb from an off-balance Metcalf throwing across the field to wide receiver Nick Cook.

It took Rodriguez and the Saugus offense just one minute to respond when the senior quarterback ran the ball in on a 16-yard keeper.

The Warriors countered with a 10-yard strike from Metcalf to receiver Anthony Espinosa.

Saugus again responded, 12 seconds later, when Rodriguez took the snap himself and did not stop until he reached the end zone, 68 yards later - the first play of the possession.

When the first period ended, the quarterback comparison yielded two completely different styles. Rodriguez tallied 104 rushing yards and two TDs on the ground, while Metcalf was 6-for-7 for 126 passing yards and one passing score.

When the Centurion's defense came up with an interception, Saugus literally put the ball into Zirbel's hands, calling his name every play of the nine-play drive, culminating with a 1-yard touchdown and taking the lead, 20-13.

The Warriors tied the game at 20 just before the half when Marable juked left, juked right and turned on the jets for a 33-yard touchdown sprint.

The third quarter appeared as though the two teams had exchanged playbooks.

The Warriors ran Marable 11 of 13 plays and took 8:53 off the clock to start the second half. Saugus attempted to balance out the offense, but finished with nothing to show for it.

When asked what the key to Alemany's success was, Bornn was quick in his response.

"Our inability to execute our offense and stop them on defense. I don't think it was anything we did. I think it was us. It's always us and that's just the way it is. If we don't do what we do then it costs us."

Next week Saugus travels to Notre Dame and try to put Friday night's loss behind them.

"We'll go back and look at the film, see what we did incorrectly, see where we can improve and apply that to Notre Dame next week," Bornn added.


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