By DR. DAVID DAVIS
When Dawson and Pearland began their rivalry three seasons ago, each game has been a nail-biter as the little brother tried to beat the big brother.
The first meeting saw Pearland pull out a 15-9 win in the final two minutes in 2014. Last year, Pearland, once again, had to rally to tie the game with less than a minute before the game went into overtime.tied 21-21.
After Pearland scored first and made the PAT to go up seven points, Dawson quickly scored to pull within 28-27 and just a PAT from sending the game to a second overtime.
But as fate would have it, the PAT clanked off the right upright leaving the Eagles in shock and the Oilers breathing another sigh of relief in celebration of the victory.
However, 2016 proved to be a different year and Dawson proved that the third time is a charm as they escaped with a 34-32 win as Pearland didn’t get the last minute breaks.
With less than five minutes to go and trailing 34-25, Pearland had an opportunity to get three points on the board with a 26-yard field goal attempt. The ball sailed to the right and Dawson took possession at their own 12-yard line.
Pearland’s defense forced a punt to get the ball back still alive.
The Oilers scored with 2:18 left in the game on an 18-yard slant pass from quarterback Jacob Whitehead to Daniel Petty, and the ensuing PAT pulled the Oilers within 34-32.
The missed field goal played a part as to the outcome of the game.
Pearland scored the game’s first touchdown when Whitehead scrambled for a 10-yard touchdown with 6:02 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles responded with a 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped off with a 1-yard dive by running back Darrius Smith. The PAT by Claire Jeffries tied up the game at 7-7.
With 11:09 remaining in the second period, Jacob Keller booted a 27-yard field goal giving the Oilers a 10-7 lead.
It didn’t take long for Dawson to go ahead, this time on a 22-yard run up the middle by Smith to give the Eagles the lead for good 14-10 at the 6:32 mark.
Dawson would build on the lead before intermission thanks to a 29-yard scoring dash by Lance Charles for a 20-10 advantage.
But the Oilers took advantage of a botched extra point resulted in Pearland’s Justin Guy-Robinson returning the errant PAT throw the length of the field for a 20-12 score which stood at the half.
The Eagles wasted little time increasing the lead to 27-12 when Dawson QB Zach Smith dropped back and found a wide-open Osby Mitchell streaking down the middle of the field. Mitchell caught the perfect throw and raced untouched to paydirt for a 34-12 lead with 7:50 remaining in the third.
But the Oilers were going away as Pearland scored two straight possessions.
Davier Pinkston played a key role in the drive as the Oilers scored on a 5-play, 75-yard drive with Pinkston scoring on an 8-yard scamper. He also had a key 21-yard gain in the drive to cut the lead to 27-19.
After Dawson went three plays and out, the Oilers started their next drive on their 48.
It only took five plays to score again as Whitehead hit Daniel Petty on a 25-yard strike make the score 27-25 with 3:16 left. The two-point conversion attempt to tie up the game was stopped by the Dawson defense.
With the Oilers breathing down their neck, Dawson needed a clutch drive which they got on their next possession.
In its first possession of the fourth quarter, Dawson put together its eventual game-winning drive with 11:11 showing.
The 11-play, 84-yard march featured a 25-yard run by Charles before Darrius Smith charged in from 17 yards with 7:31 left as the Eagle lead grew to 34-25.
But the game wasn’t over until Dawson secured the onside kick with two minutes left to go and Pearland had no timeouts to stop the clock.
Because of various mental mistakes in the third quarter, Pearland burned all three of its timeouts and couldn’t prevent Dawson from consuming all of the remaining time.
“It was very costly,” Oiler head coach Tony Heath said of the unavailable timeouts. “We’ve got two minutes left in the game, and I can’t use any timeouts.”
Zach Smith was 12-of-23 passing for 162 yards and one TD.
Darrius Smith finished the game with 154 yards rushing on 28 carries, pushing his season rushing total to 1,165 yards.
“He’s a phenomenal player (Smith) that runs hard,” Wells said. “He’s a great blocker, too, and an awesome kid. Zach played great, also, and put the ball on the money on some big third-down plays.
“Defensively, the guys are getting better. We had that one little hiccup against Summer Creek when we were still trying to piece it all together.”
Mitchell had six catches for 112 yards and one score.
Whitehead was 12-of-20 for 148 yards and one score while rushing for 31 yards on six carries and a TD.
Pinkston had 28 carries for 136 yards and one score.
Petty caught five passes for 82 yards while Triston Gibson had four grabs for 45 yards
Pearland has struggled for most of the season, particularly on offense, thanks to multiple injuries, but the Oilers really looked much stronger against the Eagles.
Heath says Pearland (5-3, 2-2) is still an improving football team.
“It was a typical Pearland-Dawson game,” he said. “Honestly, I thought our kids finally became a football team tonight.
“They battled really hard, we just missed opportunities. Dawson is a good football team, and they made big plays.
“But we’re still very much alive, and nothing has changed. We’ll get better and get ready for George Ranch.”
Dawson is tied with Alief Taylor for the district lead. The Eagles will travel to Crump Stadium to face the Alief Elsik Rams on Thursday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Pearland will host the George Ranch Longhorns on Friday, October 21 at The Rig at 7:00 p.m.