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Saugus Veers Off Course, Falls to Santa Barbara

Football: Centurions can't handle Dons' rushing attack and blow halftime lead in 44-35 loss.

September 13, 1997|DAVE DESMOND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SANTA CLARITA — Don't have that Foothill League championship trophy engraved just yet.

Saugus High, picked by many coaches to unseat six-time league champion Hart, was instead picked apart by a team recovering from a 2-8 season.

Santa Barbara rolled up 502 yards in a 44-35 victory over the Centurions on Friday night at College of the Canyons, spoiling the debut of Saugus Coach Ron Hilton.

The Centurions led, 28-13, at the half, but Nick Dominelli, the Dons' backup quarterback, rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns, engineering a veer offense first-year Coach Ben Hallock used to claim five Southern Section titles as offensive coordinator at Carpinteria High.

Travis Ivey completed 21 of 44 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns for Saugus, but Santa Barbara intercepted three of his passes.

Brandon Hartwell, a transfer from rival Canyon High, gained 108 yards in 11 carries and scored on two touchdown runs of five yards and a 46-yard pass play from Ivey.

Santa Barbara took control with a 20-0 third quarter.

Ruben Velez gained 57 of his 69 yards in the second half for the Dons, and scored two touchdowns. Tyrone Bowers added 89 yards in seven carries, including a 58-yard scoring run.

Matt Lane of Saugus had eight catches for 132 yards and a touchdown, and David Van Duzee added five receptions for 61 yards and a score.

It took the Centurions only four plays to score for the first-year coach.

Hartwell and Ivey combined on their 46-yard play and Saugus led, 7-0, less than 1 1/2 minutes into the game.

Hartwell touched the ball only five times in the first half, and scored three touchdowns.

Hartwell staked the Centurions to a 21-7 lead before Dominelli kept the ball on a veer option play and took off 85 yards for the touchdown.

Dominelli, who replaced starting quarterback Mario Ruiz, changed the game with his speed.

The elusive sophomore gained 117 yards in his first three carries before he was sacked for a 15-yard loss on the final play of the half.

Ivey connected with David Van Duzee for a seven-yard scoring play with 40 seconds left in the second quarter to give Saugus its halftime cushion.

But a different Santa Barbara squad came out for the second half.

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