By, Daniel Rios
West Ranch has been on a tear this season.
It’s no secret that this team, led by Senior Ryan Staub wants to win West Ranch’s first-ever Foothill League title. They have a +235-point differential on the season. Clearly having no trouble thus far.
The Wildcats (6-0, 2-0) despite putting up 60 points on teams like St. Francis. Their biggest win this season was on Friday beating Saugus (4-2, 1-1) 43-6. But this was more than just a regular game for them.
“Every game is a big game, but this one had a little more on it,” Staub said. “Last year. I mean they got the best of us and it looked a lot different this year”.
Saugus won their matchup with West ranch last year 42-8, on their way to winning a second league title.
Clearly, Staub remembered and made sure that would not happen again. The Senior quarterback threw for 364 yards on 21-37 passing and five touchdowns while adding 99 yards rushing on only two carries. For the season he has 26 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. His mindset going onto the field is pretty simple.
“Score as many points as possible. That’s what we’ve done, and that’s what we’ll continue to do,” Staub said.
That they did, on the Wildcats’ first drive they scored within the first four minutes of the game. Staub found his favorite target of the night, Chaz Hilst, on a 15-yard touchdown pass. They would miss the extra point but still lead with a score of 6-0.
Saugus would then punt the ball back to West ranch, and they drove down the field again. Two chunk passes from Staub to Hilst for 13 and 14 yards would get them right down the field. But the drive stalled and the Wildcats would settle for a 27-yard Field Goal that would put them up 9-0 with 5 minutes remaining in the first.
Saugus knew they had to answer and they did. TJ Cataldi had 183 yards passing on 10-23 passing and one touchdown for the night and a chunk of that was found on a 90-yard bomb to wideout AJ Goodman. Goodman had another solid night after putting up 139 receiving yards in the win against Valencia, he came right back and had 145 receiving yards on 5 catches against West Ranch.
After missing the extra point Saugus was down 9-6 with just under 4 minutes remaining.
Not even 2 minutes later Shaub and Hilst answered with a 72-yard bomb of their own. Hilst had a successful night overall with 10 receptions for 150 yards and three touchdown catches. That gives him a season total of 12 touchdown receptions.
“He’s one of the best receivers in Southern California. That’s it,” Staub said.
The Wildcats missed another extra point but still led 15-6 with 2:50 left in the first quarter.
Things settled down for a bit after an explosive start. But eventually, Staub found wideout Isaac Ellis for a 26-yard touchdown late in the second quarter, and after two missed extra points West Ranch attempted a two-point conversion. They succeeded with Staub finding Ellis again putting up the Wildcats 23-6.
Saugus got the ball to open the second half but it was pretty much the same. Deohn Turner fumbled the ball on their opening drive and the Wildcats recovered at their 17-yard line.
Staub was finding a lot of success in the air but this drive decided to do it on the ground. He had a 73-yard rush that led to an easy 10-yard rushing touchdown by Senior runningback Ty Deperno to put up West Ranch 29-6 after another missed extra point.
In the fourth quarter, it was all West Ranch again. In the first play of the fourth Staub found wideout Maverick Diaz for a 41-yard touchdown pass. Extending the Wildcats’ lead to 36-6.
But Staub was not done. He had a 26-yard rush 5 minutes later to set up a 10-yard Hilst touchdown catch to seal the deal for the Wildcats to put them up 43-6 with 7:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore running back Luke DePerno contributed a lot to the win. He had 15 carries for 114 yards which made the night even harder for Saugus as it seemed they couldn’t stop the air or ground game.
With a dominating win, West Ranch head coach Chris Varner wants his team to stay focused.
“Now we’re thinking about Hart. Then Valencia. Then Golden Valley. Then Castaic. We’re thinking one game at a time,” Varner said. “Our goal is to win the Foothill league and that’s been the goal since last season. But we still got more work to do”
Now for Saugus, they move onto a bye week. Their next opponent will be Hart on October 7th as an away game.
For the Wildcats they look to continue their domination as they travel to play Hart next week.