For most of four quarters, the Pearland offense sputtered while the defense kept the Oilers in the game against the Dickinson Gators who led 7-0 at the end of three periods.
Pearland head coach Tony Heath knew that the season was winding down and the chances were getting less and less.
It appeared that Pearland was going to fall 7-0 until one of those big plays came out of nowhere.
With only 2:54 remaining in the game, Pearland scored their first points of the game thanks to the Oilers special teams.
Pearland tied up the contest when Justin Guy-Robinson flew in from the right side of the Oiler defense, and blocked a Dickinson punt.
The ball came off the Dickinson punter’s foot on Guy-Robinson’s block, bounced once on the ground and right into his hands where he sped 37 yards to the end zone to a shocked Dickinson crowd.
Cody Bernstein’s PAT tied up the game which eventually went into overtime.
Dickinson scored their only touchdown of the game on a pass from QB Dalen Baines to RB Jordan Myers. Myers caught the short pass, broke a couple of tackles, ran over a couple of Pearland defenders to find the end zone for a 7-0 Dickinson lead with 4:20 left in the first quarter.
The touchdown was set up by a Pearland turnover.
Back and forth the teams would go with the defenses maintaining control throughout the battle until the blocked punt by Pearland.
Both coaches met in the middle of the field to determine who would win the toss.
Heath won the toss and elected to go on defense to see what the Gators would do on offense.
Dickinson got the ball on the 25 to start the first overtime and Pearland was able to shut them down for no score.
The Oilers got the ball on the 25 needing only a field goal to win the game. They were already within reach of Bernstein’s range as he proved with a game-winning field goal against Manvel.
The winning field goal got even better when Cody Williams carried the ball to the Gator 18-yard line on first down.
However, the Oiler offense then suffered two pre-snap penalties which moved the ball back to the 28 yard line.
Facing second-and 13, the next two Pearland running plays netted zero yards.
Bernstein took the field on fourth down to attempt a 45-yard field goal to win the game, but it fell short, leading to the second OT.
Pearland got the ball first in the second overtime and promptly scored their first offensive touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run by Davier Pinkston. Bernstein booted the PAT and the Oilers had a 14-7 lead.
Dickinson answered with a 5-yard scoring run by Myers to tie up the game at 14-14.
The Gators took only three plays caped off by a 9-yard touchdown run from Myers to begin the third OT for a 20-14 advantage.
After two overtimes, both teams are forced to go for a two-point conversion if the game goes to a third overtime.
The Gators came up empty when Myers was stuffed on a sweep, leaving Dickinson with a six-point lead.
Pearland took their turn and it took 10 plays to score from 25 yards out, plus the drive was aided by two offsides penalties on Dickinson with Pearland at the one-yard line, facing fourth-and-goal.
Eventually, Pinkston found a hole in the Gator line to tie the score at 20.
With the game on the line, Pearland had a second chance to pull out the miracle win. This time, the play never had a chance to get in the end zone when the sweep right was smothered at the 3-yard line leaving the game still tied at 20-20.
The fourth overtime saw the Oilers settle for a 34-yard field goal and a 23-20 lead.
The outcome of the game was placed in the hands of a tired Pearland defense.
This time, the Gators went to their clutch running back Myers.
Facing 3rd and 17, Baines dropped back, danced around until he spotted Myers across the middle of the field. Myers got hit, bounced off the Pearland defender, and used his big frame to power his way across the goal line for the 26-23 winning score.
“You had two great defenses playing today,” Heath said. “It came down to a third-down play, and they made one more play than we did.
“Put that one on me. I made some bonehead calls today. But congratulations to Dickinson – they’re a good football team. At the end, we got beat. We didn’t lose it.
“Like us, they have quality kids playing. It was a one-play difference.”
Pearland finished with only 253 total yards and 14 first downs while Dickinson had 287 yards and 14 first downs in the defensive struggle.
QB Connor Blumrick finished with 13-of-24 passing for 82 yards and two INTs.
Pinkston had 33 carries for 147 yards and two TDs.
Cody Williams had five catches for 37 yards.
The loss ends the season for the Oilers at 11-1 while Dickinson improves to 11-1 and will move on to face Lamar on Saturday at NRG Stadium in the Region III semifinals.