By DR. DAVID DAVIS
It has been several years since a team held the Pearland Oilers scoreless in a game. Without offering an excuse, the Pearland team that took the field against the Class 5A No. 1 area-ranked Manvel Mavericks was not on the same level of competition due to a bevy of injuries that has hit the Oiler camp particularly at key offensive positions.
Entering the season, Pearland head coach Tony Heath was looking forward to seeing what Texas A&M commit quarterback Connor Blumrick had to offer for his senior season.
Also, senior running back Davier Pinkston was going to be a key piece in the offensive arsenal along with junior RB Evan Burgess who proved that he was a talented ball carrier last season as a sophomore.
But Heath is fully aware that things can change in a matter of one play and that is exactly what happened in the season opener when Blumrick suffered a season-ending injury on the third play of the game in a 28-24 win over the Clear Springs Chargers.
Pinkston suffered an injury and hasn’t seen the field in three games.
Entering the non-district Manvel contest, back-up senior QB Jacob Whitehead was ailing and Heath ended up starting sophomore QB Austin Landry along with sophomore RB Jaelin Benefield and Burgess.
“The bottom line is that they just dominated us, defensively,” Pearland head coach Tony Heath said. “Compliments to (Manvel). They just beat us physically tonight.
“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board,” Heath said. “We’re not used to losing very often around here so there’s a lot we can learn from it.
“We’ve got to heal up, but we can’t use (injuries) as an excuse.”
Despite the multiple injuries, the Pearland defense actually kept the Oilers in the game throughout the first half.
Pearland opened up the game with a gift touchdown after fumbling the opening kickoff and giving the ball to Manvel on the Oiler 17. It took only three plays for Manvel to cross the goal line as Caleb Jolivette scored on a 9-yard run. Luis Moreno booted the PAT giving the Mavs a 7-0 lead with 10:52 left in the first quarter.
Manvel added a 22-yard Moreno field goal at the 2:10 mark of the first period for a 10-0 lead which stood for the first half.
“It’s very frustrating – the kids are frustrated,” Heath said. “No. 1, we have to do a better job as coaches, regardless of the situation, where we can make positive yards.
“That starts with me and getting our staff right and our team right. The defense kept us in the ballgame, but we started off with a special teams turnover.
“Against a team like Manvel, you can’t do that.”
The talent and speed of the Mavericks finally wore down the Pearland defense as the Oilers offense was almost non-existent gaining a total of only 129 yards while the Mavs posted 499 total yards.
Manvel scored three times in the third quarter on a 54-yard pass from QB Matthew Goodson to Keylon Stokes; a 42-yard run by Jolivette, and a 21-yard scamper by Deneric Prince for a 29-0 lead entering the final frame.
With 1:05 left in the game, Manvel scored their final points on a 27-yard run by Walter Brown making the final score 36-0.
“Our defense is really good, and they’re getting better and better all the time,” Manvel coach Kirk Martin said. “We’ve got great team speed. I couldn’t be prouder of a bunch than that one right there.
“They really got after it.”
Manvel utilized two quarterbacks as Kason Martin was 11-of-20 for 119 yards while Goodson was 6-of-6 for 87 yards and one TD.
“It was good to get the offense untracked (after halftime),” Coach Martin said. “We’ve been a big-play offense and we really drove the ball.”
Jolivette had six carries for 72 yards and two scores; Prince had eight totes for 79 yards and one TD; Sam Smith had 10 carries for 51 yards and Walter Brown had five carries for 41 yards.
Stokes had 10 grabs for 135 yards and one score and Jalen Preston had two catches for 43 yards.
Pearland’s Whitehead entered the game after Landry suffered a first-half injury. He was 6-of-14 for 11 yards while Landry was 3-of-6 for 14 yards.
Benefield had 36 yards on 14 carries while Daniel Petty had three catches for 14 yards.
Manvel has an open date this week while the Oilers will travel to Memorial Stadium in Pasadena to face the Pasadena Memorial Mavericks on Friday, Sept. 16 at 7:00 p.m.