Tyler May’s one-word answer when asked what his goals were for Saturday’s North-South football game said it all.
Maybe no player on either roster covets a victory at Laidley Field more than May, who piled up gargantuan numbers for Roane County, but fell just short of reaching the sport’s biggest stages.
The Raiders fell as the No. 16 seed to No. 1 Bridgeport in the first round of last season’s playoffs and missed the postseason by one spot the year before, finishing 17th.
May played both running back and quarterback on the offensive side in Roane’s run-heavy attack and that could give him a bit more flexibility in a crowded backfield heading into Saturday.
“You get to come downhill a lot more when you catch it as a quarterback than you do getting the handoff out of the shotgun,” May said. “You had to call the play obviously so you were out of breath sometimes, but I kind of liked running quarterback more.”
May piled up 2,093 yards and 24 touchdowns a year ago, marking his second straight 2,000-yard rushing season after churning out 2,153 yards and 30 touchdowns as a junior.
That certainly put May in some rarefied air, but the statistics he piled up are a bit bittersweet.
“It means a lot to me, Roane County and coach [Paul] Burdette gave a lot to me,” May said. “I wish we’d have won a few more playoff games, but it was still real fun in my time there.”
Just how May will figure into the North’s plans on Saturday remains to be seen and playing time will be one of the biggest challenges for coach Chris Daugherty (Wheeling Park) and South coach Yogi Kinder (Mingo Central).
“We’re predominantly in a one-back system,” Daugherty said. “We’ve got three good backs. We could go into a two-back set, but we’re just going to rotate them and they have positions outside of the offense as well.”
Musselman’s Latrell Warr and Keyser’s Deavonta Johnson are two others that figure to get carries with Brooke’s Alex Edgell, Wheeling Park’s Zach Torbett and Scotty Meaige, Bridgeport’s Seth Friel and University’s Isaiah Utt are plenty capable of taking handoffs as well.
But bringing together the state’s most talented seniors is part of what makes North-South week so special and it has been an aspect that May has embraced and enjoyed so far.
“It has been a fun week,” May said. “Coach [Daugherty] has a fun offense and we all get to get in a little bit and run different stuff. It’s exciting. It’s a lot more zone stuff. It’s a zone offense. It’s 50/50 [run/pass] and we were mostly run where I came from.
“Everybody has gotten along well. Nobody is arguing, everybody is friends here and we’re having fun.”
May will attend WVU next year as a preferred walk-on and will head to Morgantown next week after wrapping up North-South priorities on Saturday.
“I just wanted to play somewhere Division I and see what I could do,” May said.
On Saturday, May will see if he can pick up a big prep win.