Penalty flag signals beginning of the end for Saltillo

SALTILLO – Greg May has been in coaching long enough to know that penalties, even those that are costly, are part of the game.
However, it didn’t make the pass interference call against his Saltillo Tigers late in the fourth quarter of Friday’s Division 1-5A game with Indianola Gentry any easier to stomach.
The call eventually led to the Rams’ go-ahead touchdown in their 15-12 victory over the Tigers.
“That’s part of the game … part of the game you don’t like,” May said as his mud-caked players undressed in a quiet locker room. “I hated that it came down to that penalty at that part of the game.”
The penalty, which came on a fourth-and-16 pass from the Tigers’ 25-yard line, put the ball at the Saltillo 12. Three plays later, with 26 seconds remaining, running back Tevin Attaway gave Gentry its winning TD with his 4-yard run.
Saltillo had taken the lead, 12-7, with 6:07 remaining on a 1-yard run by Cameron Robinson. The Tigers started their brief drive at the Gentry 10 following a fumble recovery.
Robinson set up his score with a 9-yard scamper on a stretch play.
“It was just a stretch play to the weak side,” he said. “Our offensive line played their best game.”
May was also pleased with the overall play of his offense on the damp, muddy field.
“Our offense stepped it up when they needed to,” he said. “They really got it going and gave us an opportunity to win.”
Gentry scored the game’s first points when linebacker Ken Tucker intercepted a Jon Michael Parker pass and raced 55 yards to the end zone with 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
Saltillo cut the Rams’ lead to 7-6 with 9:10 left when Pregon Staples picked up a fumble by Gentry quarterback Adonis Tiney and ran 58 yards for the 6-pointer.
The Tigers’ extra point attempt was wide right.
The muddy field conditions affected both teams. In all, 14 fumbles were recorded. The Rams had nine of the bobbles and lost three.
“It was tough, but we’ve been practicing in this the last two weeks,” Saltillo’s Robinson said.
Saltillo’s record slipped to 3-4 overall and to 0-3 in the division. The Tigers host New Hope next week and West Point the following week.
Gentry improved to 4-3 overall and to 1-2 in the division.

Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal