SAUGUS – Shadowed by state high school football powers Canyon, Hart and Valencia, Saugus hasn’t won a playoff game since 1996. But as far as the Centurions and their passionate young coach Jason Bornn are concerned, the game has more important elements than wins and losses. The players meet on a weekly basis for special character- building sessions. Instead of discussing trivial matters such as blocking, tackling and scoring touchdowns, the group explores topics such as morality, accountability and spirituality. “It’s not just about football and winning titles, it’s about life lessons,” said lineman Ramsen Golpashin, a 315-pound team leader who’s more proud of his 4.0 grade-point average than his ability to knock over opposing players. “The game of football resembles the ups and downs of life.” On Wednesday, the players met with their 35-year-old coach to talk about fellowship and the fact they have the option to discuss with the coach why players might be cut from the team – and if they should be allowed back. Bornn received a wake-up call after last season when a fellow coach met him at a clinic and asked Bornn what his vision was for Saugus football. “All I could think of saying was winning a league championship and a CIF title,” Bornn said. “That’s when I kind of stopped and said to myself: `Why I am really doing this?’ I almost quit.” Instead, Bornn said he began searching for a deeper meaning and more important purpose to being a football coach. Such introspection brought Bornn back to his own days as a high school football player, when his coach, Mike Plaisance at Village Christian High of Sun Valley, developed into a parental figure for Bornn, who grew up with an absent father and endured more than his share of trouble as a teenager. “For me, it was Mike Plaisance. Now I might want to develop the same kind of relationships with my own players,” Bornn said. “That’s why we’ve dedicated the off-season to character education, and you can already see the difference. It’s like night and day compared to last year’s team.” Bornn’s plan is to teach the team the core value of putting others ahead of themselves. “You’ve got to think beyond your own needs, and you’ve got to show it in your actions,” Bornn said. “Is it always going to be a perfect situation? Of course not, no one’s perfect, but we want to cut down on issues off the field. I think for the first time I can finally go to sleep with peace of mind, knowing I’ve done everything I could. Before, I couldn’t say that.” In the past, whenever Bornn heard about a player being caught for stealing or cheating on a test, he said he couldn’t help but take some responsibility. “That’s because I didn’t do enough to educate them,” Bornn said. “Now we talk about all of those things like drinking and premarital sex and just about making the right choices. So now when the kids do something they shouldn’t be doing, they know the consequences. Now it’s on them.” [email protected] (661) 257-5218160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“I’m not saying I’m going to do something about it for sure, but I’m willing to listen,” Bornn told the group. They also talked about nutrition, leadership and other matters that didn’t have much to do with X’s and O’s but were vital subjects to develop the boys not just as players but as people. “The lesson today was fellowship, and it’s important because we need to work together on the field and not yell at each other,” receiver Kyle Monson said. “We’re more of a team this year, more together and with more leaders.” The previous week, the topic was responsibility. “When Coach Bornn said I have to be responsible, I take it seriously because that means I have to take care of something,” Golpashin said.
Character counts for these athletes
Last Updated on: December 27th, 2019 at 3:12 pm, by