In many ways, running back Austin May is the forgotten man in Campbell’s pass-happy offense.
But McKinley might never forget him after the Sabers beat the Tigers 40-13 at Campbell in the OIA Red quarterfinals on Friday night.
May, the fifth-leading rusher in the seven-team OIA Red West, was overshadowed all season by quarterback Isaac Hurd and his fleet bunch of receivers despite his 330 yards and 5.8 per carry. Whenever Campbell needed a yard or two, Hurd would go with a safe shovel pass to one of his slots breaking back across the line or tuck the ball and handle the yardage himself, racking up 243 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
May was scoreless in the regular season, but he must have been saving them up for the playoffs. The 5-foot-9, 168-pound junior carried Campbell in the first half of a tough game, offsetting McKinley linebackers Mathias Tuitele-Iafeta — who played almost every snap as both the quarterback and the middle linebacker — and Kiaipono Kini spying on Hurd and not giving him any room to run.
While the electric Hurd was held to 37 yards on seven carries initially, May covered 90 yards in his first seven touches. He opened the game with a tough 6-yard run up the middle and added three more to convert a second-and-two and took an option pitch 17 yards on his third carry. The drive stalled when Hurd missed passes to Kainoa Perry, but May let the Sabers know that if everything breaks down, he is a sure thing to gain positive yardage.
And then some.
May scored Campbell’s first touchdown when he slipped through the line and split the linebackers for a 44-yard score, a rare hiccup for McKinley’s ironmen on defense. May went 15 yards on his next carry but didn’t touch the ball for 10 plays while Hurd drove the Sabers to the McKinley 4-yard line.
Then Hurd looked his way again, scrambling left and entertaining the thought of lowering his shoulder and taking it to the stripe himself but opting to let May take the punishment. Hurd flicked the ball forward to May, who was straddling the goal line in heavy traffic, and the tough running back converted for a 14-0 lead.
May only received one more carry the rest of the night and finished with 90 yards on eight carries, denying the dynamic runner his first 100-yard game. He has finished with more than 90 yards three times for the Sabers.
May and the Sabers next play a Farrington squad that held Kapolei’s Triston Pebria under 75 yards.