It had been a long time coming but the Saugus High School football team was finally able to pull out a victory on the road last Thursday night against the Whittier Tech Wildcats. The Sachems fell behind early then scored three consecutive touchdowns before holding on in the final quarter for a tight 21-20 triumph.
In recent weeks, the Sachems had played noticeably better and were more competitive. They committed several costly turnovers that led to a loss at home to Greater Lawrence Tech the week before. It was a game that could have been won if not for the mistakes.
Saugus had also averaged 20 points a game over the previous four weeks – a marked improvement from the less-than-a-touchdown per game average it had managed over the first five weeks of the season. Against Whittier, Saugus fell behind 6-0 in the first period but responded with 14 points in the second quarter to take a 14-6 lead at the half.
Quarterback Cam Preston pushed one in from one yard out for the first TD. He then found receiver Isaiah Rodriguez on a 54-yard scoring strike for the second touchdown. Kicker Connor Bloom made good on both PAT attempts.
The advantage increased to 21-6 in the third quarter when Preston once again hooked up with Rodriguez on a scoring pass from 13 yards away. Bloom knocked through the PAT kick and the lead appeared to be a safe one,
However, Saugus has experienced a few heartbreaking defeats over the last two years – namely two excruciating late-game losses to Salem and Greater Lawrence last season. Whittier scored the first of two touchdowns in the fourth quarter but an unsuccessful two-point try turned out to be the difference in the contest.
The Wildcats would tally one more TD and add the two-point conversion to climb within one at 21-20. Fortunately, the Sachems were able to hold on and notch the long-awaited W. Saugus improved to 1-9 overall with the victory, and will turn its sights to the annual Thanksgiving Day game against the Peabody Tanners.
The Turkey Day contest will be held at Christie Serino Jr. Stadium (scheduled 10 a.m. kickoff). The Tanners have rolled to a 9-1 record this season, with their lone loss coming against Bishop Feehan in the state playoff tournament.