By Dom Nicastro
The Saugus High School football team had a case of “too little too late” in its 28-16 loss to Wilmington last week in consolation-round action.
The Sachems fell behind, 28-0, and, despite scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter, just ran out of time and gas.
“In the first half, we made some stops,” Saugus coach Steve Cummings said. “We were kind of back and forth. We gave up a big touchdown throw toward the end the half. We had a good drive going in the second quarter, but it ended with a turnover. If we can get in there, maybe it’s a 7-7 game and maybe it’s a different game. But they gave us different fronts, made it really difficult for us to run the ball like we’ve been doing over the past couple weeks and they did a really nice job and had a nice game plan and it kind of took us a while to figure out where we could be successful. And it was too little too late in terms of being able to make up a four-touchdown difference that we had to dig ourselves out of.”
Saugus made some key stops on defense early but just couldn’t capitalize on the offensive end.
“Obviously we had opportunities, but we just couldn’t do it,” Cummings said. “We made a big stop on a fourth down early in the game. And we just couldn’t capitalize on it. It just little things like that. It was a frustrating night, but overall, we were so close on certain things.”
Tommy DeSimone had a 14-yard touchdown run, and Ameen Taboubi hauled in a conversion pass from Jordan Rodriguez. DeSimone added a 5-yard TD run, with Ryan Shea punching in the two-point conversion on a run.
DeSimone has put together a fine season, one of the best offensive seasons for Saugus in recent memory. He has rushed for 1,073 yards and has scored 13 touchdowns.
“Those 13 touchdowns on the year have to put them near the top for a single season,” Cummings said. “He’s had a tremendous year, and he’s just the kind of kid that he just does everything. He’s just one of those guys. A college is going to be really happy that he decided to go there next year, because he’s complete football player.”
Saugus now turns its attention to Thanksgiving. The team will take on Peabody on the road on Turkey Day (10 a.m.)
Saugus is currently on an eight-game Thanksgiving Day losing streak in the all-time series, which now stands in Peabody’s favor at 46-26 (48-28 overall). The Thanksgiving series started in 1947. It ended in 2006, and then resumed in 2009 after Saugus took on Chelsea for two years.
Peabody was the No. 4 seed in Division 2 this season with an 8-0 regular season. The Tanners beat Arlington, 34-0, in the opening round and then lost to Barnstable, 13-9 in the quarterfinals. They come into Thanksgiving Day with a 9-1 record. Saugus is 5-5 and hoping to secure a winning season with a victory.
“They’re one of the top teams in Division 2, so we always look at it as an opportunity to play really good football team,” Cummings said. “And you know, if you go in there on Thanksgiving and you can pull that one out, and it really makes your year.”
Wilmington 28, Saugus 16
Wilmington: Nick Iascone 12-yard run (Hunter Sands kick)
Christian Febbo 32-yard pass from Michael Lawler (Hunter Sands kick)