1A Six-Man Division I: Sterling City Eagles (14-0) vs. May Tigers (13-1)

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1A Six-Man Division I: Sterling City Eagles (14-0) vs. May Tigers (13-1) 2 p.m. Wednesday

Last Year: Blum 58-52 McLean

Tale of the Tape: If the showdown between these two teams earlier this year, in which Sterling City edged May 44-40, is any indication of how this game will go, it should be a good one. Sterling City is making its second state title game appearance and will be looking to earn its first ever state title victory after it was defeated by Richland Springs 46-0 back in its first appearance in 2010. The Eagle offense has been prolific this year, averaging nearly 61 points per game and winning seven of its fourteen games by mercy rule. May is returning to the state title game for the first time in six years and is seeking its first state title since 1977. It was defeated in 2013 and 2014 by Crowell in the state final, but this year, it has the offense to keep up with Sterling City. The Tigers are averaging 60 points per game and put up 92 points against Blum in the state semifinal. With two talented offenses, this game could very well turn into a track meet.

Players to Watch: In this one, Sterling City will go as Cross Knittel goes. The senior running back has rushed for 762 yards and 13 touchdowns, while adding 345 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns in Sterling City’s four playoff games. When the Eagles do go through the air, Chance Ferguson is the man that the Tigers will have to keep an eye on. Ferguson is coming off a big game in the semifinal victory over Borden County, where he caught five passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Ferguson has also been the Eagles’ leading tackler during the playoffs, while junior Damian Calderon will be a player the Tigers have to be weary of in the secondary as he had two interceptions last time out for the Eagles.

Fortunately for May, it has a talented star running back of its own to do battle with Knittel and the Eagle offense. Junior Kaden Halk has rushed for 639 yards and twelve touchdowns in just the past two games, and it was his 25-yard run in overtime against Blum that ended up being what sent the Tigers to this title game. Halk has plenty of help around him too. “We really have 3 starting running backs even though only 2 can start. Against Leakey, Isidro Salinas was injured which allowed Kaden more carries and against Blum, Isidro was still limited and the other starter, Rory Bustamante, was injured, so again, more carries for Kaden. He rose to the challenge and stepped up in a big way. We have an excellent offensive line and a very good blocking quarterback,” May head coach Craig Steele said. “As for Kaden himself, he has always had good speed, but he has improved as this year has gone on with his patience as a runner and his vision. I think all these things have contributed to a perfect storm for Kaden and he is playing his best football right now.” Bustamante has rushed for 413 yards in the playoffs and also threw for 64 yards on four passes in the win over Blum too, but he did leave that game and did not return due to that aforementioned injury.  Junior Blake Harrell can also sling the ball around if needed, he was five-for-five for 72 yards against Jonesboro in the second round, and Salinas is also likely to be in the backfield mix. He led the team with 95 yards rushing against Irion County in the first round and also scored a touchdown against Blum last time out.

Read here about May’s thrilling semifinal victory over Blum: 1A Six-Man: May Outlasts Blum in Overtime Shootout | Texas HS Football

All in all, the Tigers have plenty of offensive weapons to keep up with Knittel and the Eagles. After only four points separated these two back in September, all signs point to another close contest. It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if this one comes down to which one of Knittel and Halk has the bigger game for their respective teams.

 

Who will win? Sterling City Eagles vs. May Tigers

  • Sterling City (50%, 3 Votes)
  • May (50%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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