As someone said, “It is a shame that one of these two teams had to lose.”
Dawson and Friendswood have played one another eight times and the 4-4 record shows just how close the games have been.
Friendswood has the edge during the regular season when the two teams shared the same district since 2008 with a 4-2 mark.
However, Dawson is 2-0 in the playoffs against the Mustangs. The Eagles eliminated the Mustangs 28-11 in 2009 for the Class 4A Region III Div. I crown while earning a trip to the 4A Div. I state semifinals.
The Eagles have made the playoffs every year since 2009 and they have reached the third round for the past six years. They will now face powerhouse and six time state champion Katy on Friday, November 28 at 1:00 p.m. at Rice Stadium.
The game between Dawson and Friendswood met everyone’s expectations as it was going to be a battle.
Dawson forced Friendswood to punt on their opening possession.
The Eagles then responded with a strong effort by scoring on their first drive of the game by moving 87 yards in 13 plays to opening up a 7-0 lead with 1:46 left in the first quarter.
The key play was a 41-yard pass from QB Vance Galloway to Drake Rainer to the Mustang 1-yard line. Two plays later, Brett Winnegan ran for the corner and stretched the ball over the goal line for the TD.
Friendswood responded with an 8-play, 73-yard drive which finished with Sam Longbotham’s 14-yard TD run for a 7-6 score.
But the Mustangs missed the PAT which would end up being a major factor at the end of the game to determine the outcome.
Dawson came back and answered that score with a touchdown on its next possession.
The Eagles scored on a 64-yard, 10-play drive.
Brailon Mouton caught a 23-yard pass for a first down at the Friendswood two, and Galloway plowed his way into the end zone for a 14-6 lead 7:36 before halftime.
That’s the way the first half would end.
Friendswood took the second half kickoff and got back in the game, marching 63 yards in 11 plays with Sean White running 29-yards for a touchdown with 7:38 showing for a 14-13 score.
Dawson quickly answered with a four-play, 60-yard drive. Winnegan had the key play in the drive which included a 24-yard run.
Galloway called his own number on an option as he found a huge hole and outraced the Friendswood defense to the end zone on a 30-yard run for a 21-13 Eagle lead with 5:52 left in the third period.
The missed PAT by Friendswood in the first half continued to loom large as the two teams traded scores.
At the 2:44 mark of the third quarter, Dawson’s Mouton would return a punt 80-yards for a touchdown, and with the extra point, the Eagles took a crushing 28-13 lead.
On the following possession by Friendswood, in what was a 15-play drive, the Mustangs squandered two chances to score, with two scores being called back due to penalties. The long drive ended in an interception thrown by QB Brandon Sargent, into the hands of Dawson’s Mykul Mitchell.
Friendswood went to work on another comeback, scoring on a Sargent to Eric Langston pass, capping a nine-play, 66-yard drive and cutting the lead to 28-20 with 5:16 remaining in the game.
The Mustangs know what it takes to make a late-game comeback and the defense limited the Eagles to another three-and-out to get the ball back with 3:29 left in the contest.
Sargent would strike again on an 18-yard pass to Joey Crespo, cutting the lead to 28-26, with only 49 seconds left in the game.
Needing a two-point conversion to tie the game, Friendswood attempted to tie it up on a trick play.
Sargent pitched back to WR Joey Crespo on a reverse who had the option to either run the ball or to flip a short pass to an open receiver. Unfortunately, Crespo slipped with his knee touching down at the 11-yard line leaving the Mustangs trailing by two points 28-26.
Friendswood attempted an on-side kick that was covered by Dawson who ran out the clock for the hard-fought victory.
The Mustangs were led by Longbotham, who totaled 35 carries for 163 yards and a touchdown. Sargent finished the day 15-for-24 passing for 173 yards and two touchdowns. White gained 106 yards on 13 carries and a TD. Crespo had five catches for 58 yards and one TD.
The Mustangs played well enough to win, out-gaining the Eagles 475 to 275.
But the Dawson defense came up huge in the second half including a goal line stand.
“Our defense played awesome,” Dawson head coach Eric Wells said. “We moved the ball when we had to. Friendswood just kept pounding away. We had run four plays in the second half, and I looked up and there were eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.”
Actually, Dawson only ran 14 plays in the second half while the defense and special teams were the difference.
The Eagles were led by Galloway, who had 99 yards through the air
and 55 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown. Winnegan had 18 carries for 71 yards
and two scores.