MAY— The May Tigers made quick work of the Lingleville Thursday night with the Tigers shutting out the Cardinals 56-0 en route to a District 14-A Division I championship — the program’s third league title in a row.
The Tigers mercy-ruled the Cardinals at halftime in a one-way clobbering and now await the lose of Friday’s District 13-A Division I championship game between Robert Lee and Eden.
“We did what we needed to do and came out of it relatively injury free,” May head coach Craig Steele said. “… I was happy with our performance tonight. Now, we’re looking forward to finding out who our opponent is and getting ready for them next week.”
Against the hapless Cardinals, the Tigers (7-3, 3-0) seemed unstoppable with running back Daniel Salinas picking up a 25-yard touchdown on the fourth play of the opening drive. Minutes later freshman Blake Harrell found the end zone, then Salinas found hit pay dirt again, this time on an 18-yard carry to taking the score to 20-0 halfway through the first quarter.
“We’re finally starting to click and become one right when we’re supposed to — in time for the playoffs,” Salinas said. “We’re three-peat district champions and that’s exciting. It’s exciting to know one guy can jump in and do just as well as any other guy.”
As May’s offense pummeled Lingleville, mostly on the ground, its defense forced the Cardinals to isolate themselves with short dump passes after pressure from defensive linemen Gage Keckler and Jaden Baker. The Tigers held Lingleville to under 50 yards total offense by the end of the first quarter and did not let up in the second quarter, even after the second and third stringers relieved the starters.
“We worked as one team and we’re a great unit with a strong bond that helps push us through. We also have a really key defensive player in Gage Keckler. He helps us out a lot.” Salinas said.
Salinas found the end zone again, this time through the air after finding Harrell on an 18-yard pass. Following another three-and-out by the defense, Salinas then found Keckler on a 27-yard fly route. Following an interception by Harrell, Isidro Salinas took the score to 44-0 after cutting up the middle of the field on a 48-yard carry. Steele then pulled his starters, opting for the second and third string who continued the onslaught with touchdowns from River Freeland and Keckler. Keckler capped off the game after running in a blocked punt.
Despite ending the season with a district championship and riding a three-game winning streak, Steele said now is not the time to celebrate. They Tigers will have to save that for later and regardless of whether they face Robert Lee or Eden, they have a challenge ahead of them next Friday.
“Either team we play is a very good offensive team,” Steele said. “They spread the ball out, they throw the ball a lot and they’re good at it. Both teams have had some struggles on defensively, and hopefully that is something we can exploit, but we will definitely have our work cut out for us.”