SAUGUS — The bad news started before the opening kick for Georgetown yesterday.
According to head coach Paul Sobelowski, star quarterback Niko Edwards will be out for the remainder of the season after suffering an ACL injury against Bishop Fenwick last Saturday. Then earlier in the week, the leading receiver in Division 3A, Colby Ingraham, suffered an injury that forced him on the sidelines and the Royals were also missing stud outside linebacker Matt Prescott.
It all added up to a tough afternoon against Division 2 Saugus, which beat the Royals, 35-14, in a sunny afternoon affair at Saugus’ Pierce FIeld.
The injuries forced the Royals into scramble mode. With entirely new look after the injuries to Edwards and Ingraham, Sobelowski and his staff inserted a new offense — the double wing — in an attempt to use the updated roster to its strength.
Early on, it seemed to be working.
Georgetown moved the chains, chugging down field on a 12-play, 80-yard drive to open the game, taking 7:06 off the clock.
“We wanted to pound the ball and get behind our big guys,” Sobelowski said. “We knew there would be times where it looked good and times where it looked back. We can’t be made at these kids. They’re fighting and working hard. I keep going back to my first year here and these games were over at halftime. Now, we were down 14-8 and despite all the adversity these kids were facing we were in it and they were fighting. It’s a tough group of young kids.”
Not bad for a first timer: Senior receiver Tom Zargaj moved behind the line of scrimmage for the first time in his career, rushing for 141 yards on 11 carries, including a 64-yard touchdown. Quarterback Jackson Fritz found tight end Pat Bjork in the endzone for the other score, which capped off a stellar opening drive.
Trouble on D: Defensively, the Royals had a tough time finding an answer for Saugus fullback Nick Benoit, who lined up as more of a tailback throughout the game. Benoit torched the Georgetown defense for 213 yards on 14 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown.
“We’re not tackling well,” Sobelowski said. “We have some young kids out there, a big group of sophomores, and they’re staring across the field at guys with full beards. Defense is all about experience and the weight room. The more experienced we get there and the stronger we get, the more guys are willing to sacrifice themselves for a tackle. That will come.”
Shining star in the pipeline: Georgetown sophomore Cooper Martens rushed for just three yards on one carry, while also acting as Georgetown’s return man in the kicking game, gaining 48 yards on three returns.
Sobelowski spoke glowingly of Martens, and believes he could be a special player.
“Cooper Martens will be one of the best players to ever come out of Georgetown,” he said. “But right now he’s 15 years old and we’re throwing him to the wolves as a sophomore. That being said, this experience now will pay off in the future.”