St. Mary’s too much for Tigers

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Thomas Lawrence

STOCK­TON — St. Mary’s safety Nick Hug­gins missed the vast ma­jor­ity of his se­nior foot­ball sea­son with a wrist in­jury.

But he re­mained a cru­cial part of the Rams — al­most ex­clu­sively in self­less ways.

“He was at prac­tice ev­ery day help­ing, do­ing wa­ter, help­ing the scout team,” St. Mary’s coach Tony Franks said. “Just amaz­ing giv­ing of him­self be­ing hurt. A lot of kids would’ve just drifted off.”

A now healthy Hug­gins made his sea­son de­but Fri­day night, and took part in St. Mary’s first shutout of 2019 — a 59-0 rout of Tokay on home­com­ing night at San­guinetti Field.

“It’s amaz­ing just com­ing back to be able to fight with my team­mates again. It’s been a year,” Hug­gins said. “…The first few plays I was a lit­tle gassed, but then even­tu­ally it got eas­ier.”

It’s the Rams’ third con­sec­u­tive shutout against the Tigers (2-7, 1-3 Tri-City Ath­letic League) and their 18th con­sec­u­tive win in the se­ries. St. Mary’s has won all 29 TCAL games since the league re­aligned prior to the 2014 sea­son.

Lin­coln, a 77-7 win­ner over West, hosts St. Mary’s in a win­ner take-all ri­valry game for the out­right TCAL ti­tle next week.

On Fri­day, the Rams (5-4, 4-0) led 14-0 af­ter a quar­ter and 38-0 at half.

Here are five first-half plays that pro­pelled St. Mary’s and buried Tokay:

• St. Mary’s, up 7-0, faced a 4th down and 12 in Tokay ter­ri­tory early in the first quar­ter. Se­nior quar­ter­back Noah May fired a per­fect pass to a wide-open Nick Mur­ray for a 35-yard strike and a twotouch­down lead.

• On the sec­ond play of the en­su­ing se­ries, 1,000-yard rusher and Tokay ju­nior Joseph Filip­pini broke loose down the mid­dle of the field. In­cred­i­bly, Mur­ray chased him down for a touch­down-sav­ing (and even­tu­ally, a shutout-sav­ing) tackle.

“Nick gives his heart out ev­ery­day,” Rams se­nior Eli­jah Wood said. “I was glad he caught him; it kept the goose egg on the board.”

• Three plays af­ter Mur­ray’s mo­ment, Rams de­fen­sive tackle Liam White (6-foot-1, 280 pounds) read a screen pass per­fectly and jumped up for an in­ter­cep­tion. “He made an amaz­ing (read) on the screen and I was just hyped for him. Shout out to Liam,” Hug­gins said.

• On the first play of the Rams’ en­su­ing pos­ses­sion, tail­back Tyrei Wash­ing­ton zigzagged down the right side­line and out­lasted the Tigers for a 79-yard touch­down run. Wash­ing­ton fin­ished with six car­ries for 128 yards and two TDs — all in the first half.

• The Tigers were driv­ing in Rams ter­ri­tory again near the end of the first half be­fore St. Mary’s Max Ras­con nabbed an in­ter­cep­tion to main­tain the shutout. May took a knee and the Rams went into half­time com­fort­ably.

May sur­passed the 2,000 pass­ing yards mark for the sea­son, go­ing 8 of 12 for 252 yards and three touch­downs. Those TD strikes were the 35-yarder to Mur­ray, 62 yards to

Michael Chavez and 15 yards to Maika Heck.

Ja­dyn Mar­shall added a 59yard punt re­turn touch­down — his pre­vi­ous punt re­turn was a touch­down, too, but was negated by a block in the back penalty. Backup quar­ter­back Daw­son Perry added a 1-yard TD on a quar­ter­back keep and Max Gu­lart had a 19-yard TD run in the sec­ond half.

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