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Looking Back at the 2008-2009 Foothill League Season
August, 2009 - Issue #58
At this time last year, the Saugus High football team had never finished on top, Golden Valley's boys basketball team had never finished anywhere but the bottom and Saugus' girls cross country team was barely even a mega dynasty with just two straight state titles. Things have changed.

It started with a perennially not-so-good football team becoming a good one. Led by a running back and quarterback who would be considered big only if standing on each other's shoulders, Saugus finally won its first league football championship.

Winning after years of being kicked around was memorable. So was the performance by Saugus' quarterback in getting the job done.

In a showdown against also-unbeaten Valencia at Valencia to determine the champion, Desi Rodriguez took the Saugus program on his back, running for 141 yards, passing for 123 yards and scoring three touchdowns. Not bad considering it was only the first half.

Then there were the teams whose league titles weren't as significant. Winning was nothing new for the Saugus girls cross country team. The Centurions were second best in the entire country and three-peated as the state's Division II champions.

It wasn't even a close race. Led by sophomore Kaylin Mahoney, the Division II individual champion, Saugus had three runners in the top 10, five in the top 20 and seven runners finish in the top 27. Saugus' boys cross country team was also a league champion.

A pair of Valencia teams, meanwhile, added two impressive legacies of their own. For the seventh year in a row, the girls who play tennis and volleyball for Valencia High were better at it than anybody else in the valley, both of the Vikings teams adding to their league championship streaks. The tennis team reached the Division III finals for the fourth season in a row, again, for the fourth season in a row, settling for second place.

Hart's girls golf team was equally impressive. Led by freshman Kendall Dusenberry, the Foothill League's Most Valuable Player, a young Indians team broke scoring records en route to a repeat Foothill championship.

New champions became more fashionable during the winter. Remember when Golden Valley seemed destined for the bottom? The school had never before won a league title in any sport. The boys basketball team seemed unlikely to be the ones to do something about the situation, having finished winless and in last place one season ago, but the Grizzlies pulled off the turnaround.

Saugus' girls basketball team and Canyon's boys soccer team also won league titles.

The Centurions girls soccer team didn't. Third-place in the league standings behind co-champions Valencia and Canyon, Saugus did have a happy ending, however. The Centurions put together an improbable championship run of their own during the postseason, capturing the Division I crown. It was the only SCV team to win a CIF championship.

There were, however, plenty of more success stories produced during the spring. West Ranch's boys golf team, which the year before won the first league championship in the school's history, won another one. Valencia's baseball and boys tennis teams also added to their school's league championship tallies, with strong years of their own.

Valencia's softball and boys volleyball teams - the squads with the longest league winning streaks on campus - were not supposed to be joining those teams this year. But they too were champions.

The softball team, despite losing its National Player of the Year pitcher, tied Hart for a ninth consecutive league crown. The volleyball team, despite losing every one of its starters, still found a way to extend its run of dominance to a ninth straight year as well.

That's nothing, though, compared to the Hart swim program's streaks.
The league champion Hart boys extended their league winning streak to 67 meets, while the girls team won its 28th consecutive Foothill title. Led by Jordan Danny, the Division II 100-yard champion in the breaststroke, the Hart girls were second best in their division.

The swimmers weren't the only fast ones. Track and field had its own champions. Saugus, which swept the league boys and girls team championships, produced two of them in Mahoney, the Southern Section Division II 3,200 meter champion and Daniel Swarbrick, who won the discus title and then finished fourth in the state in the event.

Valencia High's Aly Drake found a way to do even better. A standout on the Vikings soccer team and future college player, Drake wasn't an 800-meter runner a summer ago.

Now she's the state champion, a standout in a year that was filled with them.
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