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No. 5 May Tigers accomplish three goals in shutout of Santa Anna

Mike Lee
Special to the Brownwood Bulletin
May's Rory Bustamante surveys Gorman's defense during a game in 2019.

By MIKE LEE

MAY – Veteran May Tigers’ head football coach Craig Steele accomplished three goals Friday night, which were:

(1) win the District 13-1A Division I game against the Santa Anna Mountaineers,

(2) win it by halftime so his players wouldn’t have to sit through a long homecoming halftime, then try to play again on a cool evening, and

(3) get all 14 of his varsity football players involved in the game.

Steele checked all three boxes as May, ranked No. 5 in Class 1A DI by sixmanfootball.com, beat Santa Anna 51-0 in a game stopped at halftime by six-man’s 45-point mercy rule. Nine May players carried the football during the first half -- many of them only once and none more than three times.

Keith Cross, who wears No. 77 and normally plays in the line, carried the ball for the first time this season on Friday, finishing with a game-leading 63 yards on three carries including a 20-yard touchdown. Lane McGinn, who also doesn’t play running back, got his second, third and fourth carries of the season and finished with 22 yards.

Seven May players scored touchdowns -- Chris Flenniken on a 37-yard pass from Rory Bustamante, Isidro Salinas on a 32-yard run, Kaden Halk on a 28-yard run, Aaron McGinn on a 31-yard run, Bustamante on a 52-yard run, Cross on a 20-yard run, and Korbin Bass on a 29-yard run.

And all of that scoring avalanche came in the first half -- a half in which the Tigers rushed for 278 yards, averaged 16.4 yards per carry, and finished with 315 total yards.

“It was very important to get everyone involved,” said Steele, 138-55 in his 17th season as May’s head coach. “Especially when you’re playing half a game, everyone needs to get some good conditioning. You can’t duplicate game conditioning in practice. We worked a lot of players in and out to give everybody some work.”

Salinas, Halk, Bustamante and Aaron McGinn only carried once, but all four scored on their one rushing attempt. May, in fact, scored touchdowns on its first three offensive plays. The Tigers had five TDs in their first eight plays against the overmatched Mountaineers.

On the Tigers’ first offensive snap, Bustamante passed to Flenniken, who turned the reception into a 37-yard touchdown on May’s only pass attempt of the game.

Not to be outdone, May’s defense also posted some eye-opening statistics Friday. The Tigers’ defense limited Santa Anna to no first downs, minus-42 yards rushing on 14 carries and minus-25 total yards. Ten of the Mountaineers’ 14 rushing attempts ended in lost yardage.

The Mountaineers longest gain of the game was a 17-yard pass from Jaxson Diggs to Silas Lara in the final two minutes of the second quarter. But it came on third-and-33 after Santa Anna had been penalized for delay and holding.

“We’ve got some kids that like to hit an play physical defense -- and that’s usually a good combination,” said Steele, whose Tigers posted their fourth shutout this season on Friday. “We pride ourselves on our defense. Coach Chad Dail does a great job with the defense.”

The Tigers, whose only loss was a four-point setback by No. 2-ranked Sterling City, improved to 7-1 and set up District 13-1A DI showdown next week with Baird, a second-year six-man program.

Santa Anna, which has only two seniors on its roster, fell to 5-3 overall and 0-2 in district.

“Santa Anna is going to be good. They only have two seniors, and they have a good junior high team,” Steele said. “They’ll be good in two years.”

But this season is about May and its nine seniors who are on a mission after losing three playoff games over the last three years by a combined 20 points.

“They’re a locked-in group right now,” Steele said of his seniors -- Salinas, Flenniken, Bass, Bustamante, Cross, Jayce Blankenship, Lane McGinn, Ethan Self and Hayden King. “We still have a couple more district games to get through, but these seniors have big aspirations. They’re working hard for the future.”

May 51, Santa Anna 0

Score by Quarters:

Santa Anna   0   0  x  x — 00

May              30 21  x  x — 51

First Quarter

M — Chris Flenniken 37 pass from Rory Bustamante (Bustamante kick), 8:13

M — Isidro Salinas 32 run (kick failed), 8:03

M — Kaden Halk 28 run (Bustamante kick), 5:29

M — Aaron McGinn 31 run (Bustamante kick), 1:47

Second Quarter

M — Bustamante 52 run (kick failed), 9:28

M — Keith Cross 20 run (Bustamante kick), 4:36

M — Korbin Bass 29 run (Flenniken pass from Bustamante), 2:42

                            SA                 May

First Downs         0                     9

Rushes-Yards 14-(-)42         17-278

Passing Yards     17                 37

Total Yards         (-)25             315

Comp-Att-Int     1-8-1            1-1-0

Punts                5-34                0-0

Fumbles-Lost    0-0                0-0

Penalties-Yards 4-27            2-15

Individual Statistics

RUSHING: Santa Anna – Silas Lara 1-1, Devan Ray 1-(-)3, Johnny Graves 2-(-)11, Jaxson Diggs 10-(-)29. May – Keith Cross 3-63, Rory Bustamante 1-52, Korbin Bass 2-40, Isidro Salinas 1-32, Aaron McGinn 1-31, Kaden Halk 1-28, Lane McGinn 3-22, Damian Salinas 2-12, Blake Harrell 1-1, Team 2-(-)3.

PASSING: Santa Anna – Diggs 1-8-1 for 17. May – Bustamante 1-1-0 for 37.

RECEIVING: Santa Anna – Silas Lara 1-17. May – Chris Flenniken 1-37.

RECORDS: May is 7-1, 2-0 in District 13-1A DI. Santa Anna is 5-3, 0-2