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VALENCIA — Ryan Staub was making every throw.
The quick slant on a rope. He’d zip the ball out in the flat. He showed off the arm strength, too, beautiful spirals 40 yards downfield with the flick of his wrist. It was all on display in first half as he tallied 267 yards through the air.
He had more to show in the second half, but this time it was with his legs.
On West Ranch’s first possession of the third quarter, Staub faked a handoff and ran for 73 yards. When he finally got taken down at the Saugus 10-yard line, he popped up and celebrated by pointing down the field with a first down gesture.
Saugus had no answer for anything the Colorado-bound quarterback did Friday night.
Staub went on to throw for 358 yards, five touchdowns and ran for 99 yards to anchor West Ranch’s 43-6 victory over Saugus to stay unbeaten in the Foothill League, and take one step closer to winning the program’s first-ever league title.
“It’s a great win, but the job’s not done,” Staub said.
West Ranch (6-0, 2-0 Foothill) is likely to need a win over Valencia on October 7 to put itself in the driver’s seat for the league crown. But for now, celebrating the big win over Saugus after losing to the Centurions 40-8 last year, will suffice.
Saugus (4-2, 1-1) had a huge banner with “12-01-03” branded across it, which is Staub’s birthday. He’ll turn 19 in December. The Saugus student section was chanting ‘Super Senior’ during the game.
That made it personal for Staub.
“It’s been personal since last year’s game,” Staub said. “But, yes, [the birthday banner] made it even more personal.”
Saugus’ only significant touchdown came in the opening quarter when quarterback TJ Cataldi hit AJ Goodman for a 90-yard score. But there was a feeling the play was an anomaly. Staub responded with a long touchdown pass of his own, a 72-yarder to Chaz Hilst to give the Wildcats a 15-6 lead late in the first quarter.
“Our defense has been great,” West Ranch coach Chris Varner said. “We were a little worried about that one big play, but once we shut those kinds of plays down, we knew we were good.”
Staub stepped up into the pocket and found a wide open Isaac Ellis to make it 23-6 with 4:05 left in the second quarter before his 73-yard run in the third quarter set up Ty Deperno for a 10-yard touchdown run to make it 29-6.
Ryan Staub steps up into the pocket and finds a wide open to Isaac Ellis with the flick of his wrist. West Ranch leads Saugus 23-6 (2-pt conversion is good). 4:05, 2Q. Staub has three TD passes in the opening half. pic.twitter.com/G54cvYy6Qo
— Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) September 24, 2022
He later connected with Maverick Diaz for a 41-yard touchdown to put the game away from good.
“Everything about tonight made the win sweeter,” said Staub, who is now up to 26 touchdown passes on the year with no interceptions.
Staub threw to five different receivers Friday night, although Hilst was Staub’s go-to target connecting for three of his five total touchdown throws. Hilst finished with 123 yards receiving on the night. Ellis had 92.
Running back Luke Deperno (Ty’s brother) added balance to the offense with 91 yards rushing.
West Ranch will play at Hart next week. Saugus will have a bye before facing Hart on October 7.