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From history to square one

League champion Saugus starts second season versus Righetti

Posted: November 20, 2008 9:58 p.m.
Updated: November 21, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Saugus football has already made history.

With their win over Canyon Nov. 14, the Centurions clinched their first-ever outright league title.

But the celebration has subsided as the team shifted focus to the first round of CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

Saugus (7-3) will face Righetti of Santa Maria (6-4) at 7:30 p.m. tonight at College of the Canyons.

"They are big and physical and they put a lot of pressure on the offense," said Saugus head coach Jason Bornn. "We just have to do what we do on offense and be patient."

Righetti finished third in the Pac-7 League behind Atascadero and Paso Robles. The team lost 16-0 to Hart in an earlier season contest.

"At this time of year there's a reason why these teams are in the playoffs," Bornn said. "They're going to be good and we have to play the way we know how to play and not get frustrated if things don't go our way."

This is only the second playoff appearance the Warriors have made under head coach Gary Wilson. The last time Righetti was in the playoffs was in 2004 when the team lost in the first round to Rio Mesa.

"We're trying to build a program and we're getting better," Wilson said. "We play everybody pretty well, we just fall short."

The Warriors had an early setback this season when starting quarterback Justin Level went down with a knee injury.

Junior T.J. Jordan stepped in for the Warriors' offense and has completed 101-of-194 passes for 1,259 yards this season to go along with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.

But he's also averaging 5.1 yards per rush.

"We've had to readjust but hopefully we have it together," Wilson said.

According to Wilson, the team's strength lies in the defense.

Righetti is allowing 18.6 points per game.

Behind safety Matt Miller and lineman Carlos Faumaina, the Warriors defense will have a tough task stopping Saugus' formidable offense.

On the other side of the ball, Righetti is led by running back Javon Davis who has racked up 1,361 yards on 261 carries this season.

Wilson said the progress of the offensive line has allowed Davis to become a significant playmaker.

"Javon runs the ball well and since we've found the right kids to play on the offensive line, it's really helped him out," he said.

Bornn said he'll look to standout defensive players Mario Lara and Adrian Cruz to attack Righetti's offense.

"They are the catalysts on the defense," Bornn said. "They have to be able to get off the blocks, make tackles and make the plays."

The story has been the same all season for the Centurions - get the ball in the hands of quarterback Desi Rodriguez and running back Ryan Zirbel. They have been at the forefront of the Saugus offense all season long.

Wilson, of course, knows this.

"They're quality guys," said Righetti head coach Gary Wilson. "We have to stop those two kids. They are the heart and soul of that team."






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