By Dom Nicastro
The Saugus High School football lost its second straight contest last week, 55-20, to Salem on the road. It was Saugus’ first Northeastern Conference Lynch Division game and put the Sachems at 3-2 heading into another league matchup at Gloucester on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. It’s the third of three straight road games.
Saugus again for the second straight game played without Braden Faiella, center and middle linebacker, and Cody Munafo, fullback and middle linebacker. Their availability for Thursday night against the Fishermen was day-to-day as of press time. The Sachems had some defensive players because of those injuries move around and also had some greener defenders going up against Salem, the 5-0 team who is still the No. 1 ranked team in Division 6.
Saugus is No. 18 in Division 5, three spots ahead of Gloucester. The top 16 teams in each division make the postseason.
“We’re both kind of like just on the outside looking in,” Saugus coach Steve Cummings said of his Sachems and the Fishermen. “So this is a big game for both programs. It’s like a playoff game. Because if you win this one, you’re probably going to be in [the top 16] in the next ranking. And if you lose this one, you’re going to fall further away. So this is important. It’s a big game, and this is one that we have to go get.”
Saugus had trouble with Corey Grimes, the Salem quarterback, who had five touchdown passes. Gloucester runs a spread offense, and the Sachems will be looking to tighten things up.
“That Salem offense is an absolute wagon right now,” Cummings said. “They like to run a ton of plays, but they didn’t need to because that kid is the most accurate deep ball passer I’ve ever seen. We are still gonna have guys that are a little bit green to the position on defense, but we’ve got to make sure that we do enough in practice to just kind of get their feet under them.”
Cummings said it’s a matter of shoring up all three phases of the game. On offense, the good news is sophomore quarterback Jordan Rodriguez, who was thrust into action last week against Swampscott after Cam Preston went down for the season, showed marked improvement against Salem. He had a touchdown run and a touchdown pass to his brother, Isaiah Rodriguez.
“Jordan was lightyears ahead of where he was the week before,” Cummings said. “I mean, he was like 15 for 20 through the air for about 200 yards and a touchdown pass and touchdown run. We started ourselves in a pretty early hole. But he played amazing. Just taking the coaching, making his reads, getting the ball out on time and doing little things. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do this Thursday.”
Gloucester is coming off two big losses. The Fishermen fell to Salem, 40-6, and Winthrop, 35-0, on the road. They are unbeaten at home – Somerville, Weston and St. Bernard’s Central Catholic.
“The coach does a really nice job mixing up their offense,” Cummings said. “They transitioned out of the Wing-T that they were famous for. He’s got a more of a spread approach. And he just always seems to have you running backs that get downhill … and fit that offense really well. So we’re gonna have to play big boy football Thursday night and stop the run because that’s what they do. They run the ball. They do it really well. They always have, and that’s what we’re gonna have to be prepared for.”
1 2 3 4 T
Saugus 0 8 6 6 20
Salem 21 34 0 0 55
Salem: Quinn Rocco Ryan 83-yard kickoff return (kick failed).
Salem: Shane Field 31-yard pass from Corey Grimes (Corey Grimes kick).
Salem: Quinn Rocco Ryan 58-yard pass from Corey Grimes (Corey Grimes pass from Devante Ozuna).
Salem: Pat Connaster 51-yard pass from Corey Grimes (Corey Grimes kick).
Salem: Quinn Rocco Ryan 61-yard pass from Corey Grimes (Corey Grimes kick).
Salem: Quinn Rocco Ryan 66-yard pass from Corey Grimes (Corey Grimes kick).
Saugus Tommy DeSimone 87-yard kickoff return (Ameen Taboubi pass from Jordan Rodriguez).
Salem: Devante Ozuna 3-yard run (kick failed).
Salem: Quinn Rocco Ryan 28-yard fumble return (Corey Grimes kick).
Saugus: Jordan Rodriguez 2-yard run (pass failed).
Saugus: Isaiah Rodriguez 15-yard pass from Jordan Rodriguez (pass failed).