The Dawson-Pearland Bowl was everything that people had predicted and more. The Rig was sold out by Wednesday before the game was to be played on Friday. It was the largest ever crowd since The Rig was built in 2001. The crowd of over 10,000 certainly got their monies worth.
As one fan said, “It is a shame that someone had to lose this game. Both teams certainly played their hearts out.”
While Pearland was a slim favorite to win, the Dawson Eagles proved they had the heart and passion to challenge one of the top teams in the state. And if there hadn’t been some miscues by the Dawson special teams, the Eagles were actually positioned to win the game.
“We had a turnover, got two field goals blocked on bad exchanges and we had a touchdown called back,” Dawson head coach Eric Wells said. “It was a couple of things here and there. But our team went against one of the top teams in 6A in the state and played their butt off.”
That was the difference in a game that really wasn’t decided until Pearland quarterback Jake Blumrick powered his way behind the Oilers big offensive line for the game-winning touchdown with :47 seconds left showing on the new Memorial Hermann scoreboard. Nicholas Keller booted the extra point making the final score 15-6 giving Pearland the traveling trophy sponsored by Strickland Chevrolet of Pearland.
With the score 8-6 in favor of Pearland, the Eagles had the ball late in the fourth quarter when they fumbled the ball which was recovered by the Oilers at the Eagle 28-yard line with less than four minutes to play.
Dawson had an earlier opportunity to take a 9-8 lead at the six-and-a-half minute mark on a 33-yard field goal. But a bobbled snap allowed Pearland’s Brycen Drenon to block the attempt giving Pearland the ball.
On the other hand, Pearland can be credited with a lot of hustle to create those pivotal turnovers that allowed them to hang on to the lead and baseball-like score.
For two teams that were averaging well over 40 points per game, not many figured that it would be a defensive battle.
Both coaches echoed their thoughts before the game that the outcome could be determined by who made the fewest mistakes.
It appeared that the Oilers would take an early lead on their first possession when they lined up for a 45-yard field goal attempt by Keller. However, the ball hit the crossbar and bounced back on to the playing field ending the nine-play drive.
Pearland got the first points of the game on Dawson’s first miscue when a punt snap sailed over Dawson punter/quarterback Vance Galloway’s head and out of the end zone giving Pearland a 2-0 lead with 1:11 left in the opening quarter.
Dawson managed to get a 3-2 lead when Tyler Day’s 37-yard field goal clear the uprights with 7:20 left before intermission. QB Vance Galloway brought the crowd to their feet when he found Brailon Mouton for a 59-yard pass completion setting up the field goal.
Pearland responded by moving the ball 85-yards in 10-plays to claim an 8-3 lead just 3:51 before halftime.
Blumrick hit Cody Williams for a pair of pass receptions covering 27 yards. Jonathan Sam snagged one pass for 14 yards and running back JaColbie Butler broke loose for a 26-yarder.
Ryan Diaz took a reverse handoff and skirted left end for a 10-yard scoring run. The two-point conversion was stopped by the Dawson defense and the Oilers had an 8-3 lead.
Dawson was able to get a 26-yard field goal by Day as time expired in the first half for an 8-6 score.
That’s the way the score stood throughout the second half as both teams stood toe-to-toe as if it were a heavy-weight championship fight. A jab here, an upper cut there.
But the fumble with less than four minutes to play led to the final knock out punch giving Pearland the hard-fought 15-6 victory.
Dawson won the yardage war out-gaining the Oilers 367-to-268.
Pearland running back JaColbie Butler was the game’s leading ball carrier with 111 yards on 19 carries, but he was out for most of the second half with an ankle injury.
Galloway won the aerial attack for Dawson hitting 8-of-15 for 158 yards, but he also went out early in the second half due to an injury.
Blumrick was 13-of-23 passing for only 83 yards while he gained 42 yards on 11 carries including the game-winning 1-yard sneak for a TD.
Dawson’s two-headed running backs were impressive as Saevion Johnson had 10 carries for 79 yards and Brett Winnegan had 53-yards on 14 totes. Galloway had 30 yards on 10 carries.
Mouton was the leading receiver with five grabs for 67 yards. Taje Williams had one catch for 60 yards. Drake Rainer (2-14), Cameron Wilson (2-23), and CJ Simmons (1-39) also had key grabs.
The Oilers were led by Williams who had four catches for 42 yards. Diaz had five catches for six yards. Sam had two grabs for 19 yards. Daniel Petty had one catch for seven yards. Petty also had an interception to secure the win for the Oilers.
“It’s very important here in Pearland that we remain a unit,” said Pearland coach Tony Heath, who addressed both teams and had them break out with “one team” in unison. “You’re stronger in strengths and in Pearland ISD we’re still one community. Me and (Dawson) coach (Eric) Wells have been here from the start – since 1997 together – and when it divided up. These kids played junior high together and coaches have coached together.
You’re going to compete against your brother, but that doesn’t mean you don’t love him, that doesn’t mean you can’t pray together and that doesn’t mean you can’t be a family.”
Pearland (6-0, 4-0) will travel to face Alvin (3-2, 2-1) at Memorial Stadium on Friday, October 10 at 7:00 p.m.
Dawson (4-2, 3-1) will host No. 1 area-ranked Manvel (5-0, 3-0) on Friday, October 10 at The Rig at 7:00 p.m. in another big game for the Eagles.