One team that has been under the football radar this season is the 12-0 Dickinson Gators.
Most thought that Pearland was the favorite to win the Class 6A Region III Div. I playoff contest, but the Gators, who won the District 24-6A title with a 7-0 mark, felt like they could compete against the state-ranked Oilers.
“We knew that our defense was going to be good. We weren’t sure about our offense,” Dickinson head coach John Snelson said. “My coaching staff and our kids have done a tremendous job. I am the luckiest head coach in the area, I promise you.”
The game plan for the Gators was to take out the Pearland ground attack and force senior quarterback Jake Blumrick to put the ball in the air.
Blumrick hit 25-of-31 passing for 237 yards and two touchdowns, but the Oilers finished with only 16 yards on the ground.
Pearland had more than that overall, but the Dickinson sacked Blumrick several times which took yardage of the rushing statistics. Dickinson took control of the game early as quarterback Cameron Martin proved to be one of Pearland’s nemesis.
Martin completed 13-of-18 passing for 237 yards, ran the ball 15 times for 47 yards and piled up a total of four touchdowns to help lead the Gators to the 35-21 win.
“Cameron Martin played lights out,” Snelson said. “Pearland did a great job of taking our running game away. The offensive line did an excellent job of protecting him. Cameron was very accurate and he hung in there and did what he needed to do.”
Martin got the scoring started in the first quarter when he plunged into the end zone from one-yard out on a quarterback keeper for a 7-0 lead.
The Oilers didn’t answer until there was 7:11 left in the second period when Cody Williams caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Blumrick to knot up the game 7-7.
The Gators answered with a 25-yard scoring toss from Martin to Blake Carlisle who slipped down the middle of the Pearland defense for an easy touchdown to give Dickinson a 14-7 advantage at intermission.
Dickinson got the ball to start the second half and hammered out an 11-play, 82-yard drive that was capped off with a Brad Woodard five-yard touchdown run. Woodard would finish the night with 17 carries for 68 yards, the lone score and one catch for 11 yards.
With 3:56 left in the third and trailing 21-7, Pearland wasn’t going to go away easily.
Blumrich hit tight end Ryan Deshotel for a 14-yard scoring pass to close the gap to 21-13 after the PAT hit the upright and bounced away.
Dickinson started its next drive at its 5-yard line and two plays later, Pearland’s Jar’re Hudson came up with the game’s first turnover when he picked off a pass at the Gator 36 yard line.
Pearland drove in for the game-tying score at the end of the third quarter. Blumrick hit Williams on three straight passes and then found Deshotel for a 17-yard gain to the Dickinson four-yard line.
Sophomore running back Davier Pinkston pulled the Oilers within 21-19 on a 4-yard run as time expired in the third quarter.
Pinkston then found running room on a stretch play to the right and then cut back into the end zone on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 21-21.
With the game tied at the start of the fourth quarter, it appeared that Pearland had finally got the momentum on their side.
However, the Gators sprung back to life with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Martin to Jordan Myers, who was all alone behind the Oilers’ safeties. That score put Dickinson up 28-21 with about nine minutes to play.
After an impressive showing from the reliable Gators’ defense, Pearland was forced to punt, but mishandled the snap, giving Dickinson the ball at the Oilers’ 26-yard line with just under six minutes to play.
Dickinson worked the clock and ultimately slammed the door with Martin’s final touchdown on a 1-yard touchdown run with only 2:37 left in the game.
“I thought we could run the ball, but we were unable to get the running game going,” Pearland head coach Tony Heath said. “I thought our quarterback and receivers did a great job, but for us to have success, we have to find ways to run the ball. But give Dickinson credit. They’re undefeated for a reason. They’re a good, physical football team and very quick. If the Oilers have any trait, they’ll battle to the end. We take losses hard.”
The win sends the Gators (12-0) through to the regional quarterfinals where they will meet Houston Cypress-Fairbanks (9-3) next Saturday at Rice Stadium. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Pearland closes out at 10-2 and this is the 15th consecutive year that the Oilers have been in the post-season.