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The Sault Sabercats turned on the offensive jets and powered their way to a franchise home opening win Saturday afternoon before about 250 fans at Rocky DiPietro Field.
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The Sault Sabercats turned on the offensive jets and powered their way to a franchise home opening win Saturday afternoon before about 250 fans at Rocky DiPietro Field.

Led offensively by the defense, which scored three touchdowns, Josh Gauthier in the backfield and the arm of quarterback Travis McLean, the Sabercats beat up the Guelph Bears 51-32 in Ontario Varsity Football League action.

After Guelph took an early 7-0 lead, the Sabercats reeled off 39 consecutive points. Gauthier, who ran for 129 yards on 20 carries, scored the first two touchdowns on runs of 12 and one yard.

Linebacker Adam Ross returned an interception 22 yards for the next major before Jon Day hauled in a McLean pass for a 58 yard touchdown.

Then, linebacker Sean Pratt returned an interception 24 yards for a score and defensive lineman Gary Knox completed the run with a fumble recovery in the end zone after a big Joel Aro hit forced the fumble.

Guelph pulled to within 15 points at 39-24 after a drop in the Sabercat intensity but the locals quickly replied with a five yard touchdown pass to tight end Tony Boniferro and Day's second touchdown on a 38 yard pass.

Mark Palombi, who was ejected for a facemask infraction during a fight and will likely be suspended for next week's contest, rushed for 57 yards on eight carries while Jeff Ianni gained 25 yards on six carries.

McLean was 11 for 17 passing for 276 yards and three touchdowns. Day caught five passes for 172 yards while Kyle Gauthier caught three balls for 93 yards.

Defensively, Eric Vallee made six tackles while Quintino Dilabio made 5.5 and Sean Pratt five. Joel Aro also turned in a solid game with three tackles and a sack while Mike Palombi recorded three sacks.

Fumble recoveries were made by Ross, Pratt and Knox.

The lone offensive weapon for Guelph, receiver Axel Heap, caught eight passes for 258 yards, close to 100 per cent of their total offense.

The Sabercats are back home again next Saturday against Hamilton. Game time is 1 p.m. at Rocky DiPietro Field.