By DR. DAVID DAVIS
What a difference a week made for the Pearland Oilers as they romped past the Pasadena Memorial Mavericks 37-20 in their final non-district contest of the 2016 football season.
Last week’s 36-0 loss to Manvel and only 129 total yards wasn’t a reflection of a Pearland team.
Head coach Tony Heath said last week, “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board. 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.”
The Oilers needed this win to improve to 3-1 on the season and to get some positive momentum as District 23-6A action begins this coming Friday, September 23 when Pearland will host the Alief Elsik Rams at The Rig at 7:00 p.m. The Rams are 1-3 overall so far this year.
Pasadena Memorial got on the scoreboard first with a 36-yard Bubba Baxa field goal at the 8:50 mark of the opening quarter.
But Pearland got a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown with 5:26 left in the first frame to move ahead 7-0 after Jacob Keller booted the PAT.
With 1:30 left in the first, Pearland quarterback Brendan Buckley hit Triston Gibson on a 60-yard scoring bomb to give the Oilers a 14-3 advantage.
The teams went back and forth for most of the second quarter until the Pearland defense got a safety with 3:33 left before halftime to increase the lead to 16-3.
The Oilers got the ball following the safety and scored five-plays later to complete a 60-yard drive.
Sophomore running back Jaelin Benefield found a hole up the middle of the Memorial defense and raced 18-yards for the score to make the score 23-3 with 2:08 left before intermission.
Memorial was able to scramble for one more score before the half as Baxa connected on a 49-yard field goal to make the score 23-6.
Both teams scored in each of the final two quarters as Pearland got a 38-yard scoring pass from Buckley to Benefield covering 38-yards in the third and Stone Croasdaile scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth giving the Oilers 37 points.
Memorial scored once in the third on a 5-yard scoring toss from Landon Cunningham to Ryan Ragone and the Mavericks scored on a 2-yard plunge with no time on the clock to end the game with the final score 37-20.
Pearland rolled up 440 total yards with 245 on the ground and 195 through the air.
Buckley is the fourth signal-caller in four games for the Oilers as the injury bug has been unkind to the players at that position. The senior QB was 13-of-19 for 195 yards and two TDs. He also had 21 yards rushing on seven carries.
“We handled adversity again,” Heath said. “We started our fourth quarterback in four weeks and I thought he came out and did a tremendous job. I’m really proud of him. He was going to play receiver for us.
He’s a true team player and that’s what this game is all about. It teaches kids about adversity and when your number is called, make the most of it.”
Junior Evan Burgess had 14 carries for 98 yards while Benefield had 80 yards on seven totes with one score and five catches for 80 yards. Croasdaile had six carries for 46 yards and one score. Gibson had four catches for 68 yards and one TD.