Friendswood edges Dawson 49-42 in OT

NRG Stadium — A year ago, Friendswood and Dawson went head-to-head in the second round of the post-season and the Eagles pulled out a 28-26 win to end the season for the Mustangs.

What a difference a year makes, plus Friendswood quarterback Tyler Page was missing from last year's contest due to an injury.

The two teams are no strangers to one another as they competed in District 24-4A for four years prior to the re-alignment in 2012.

“That’s how a Dawson-Friendswood game is supposed to be,” Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann said. “If we played the next week, it would be the same thing, and if we played the week after that, same thing. We’ll probably hook up again in round two next year.”

It looked like the Eagles would prevail as they jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead when Drake Rainer snagged a 13-yard scoring pass from quarterback Zach Smith at the 7:06 mark and Niko Thomas hauled another aerial for a touchdown from Smith covering 24-yards with 3:30 showing on the clock. Marek Biczynski booted both PATs.

But the Eagles knew that Page was going to enter the fray with some exciting runs and he did just that when he scored on a 5-yard run with 8:29 left in the second quarter.

Dawson countered at the 5:56 mark when RB Saevion Johnson rambled 28-yards for a score through the middle of the Friendswood defense. Johnson broke several tackles with the determined run to put the Eagles back on top 21-7.

With 2:01 left before intermission, Page once again drove the Mustangs to score, this time on a shifty 16-yard keeper to close the gap to 21-14.

The Eagles were finished as they took less than a minute to score before halftime as Kaleb White hauled in a 26-yard scoring pass from Smith giving the Eagles a two-score lead 28-14 at the break.

Friendswood proved that two scores weren't enough to keep them out of the game as the Mustangs scored the first two touchdowns of the second half on a 28-yard scoring sweep around right end by Nick Dehoyos with 10:59 left in the third quarter and then Page connected with Friske on a 25-yard TD pass with 4:25 showing in the period.

However, the PAT missed the mark, leaving Dawson with a 28-27 lead.

The Eagles then responded with a 68-yard scoring drive with a Smith-to-Brailon Mouton hook-up of 43 yards as the key play.

Johnson would score the second of his three touchdowns on a 2-yard plunge as Dawson built a 35-27 lead with 9:30 showing.

Friendswood then scored on its next possession, moving 53 yards in six plays with Page picking up the bulk of that yardage.

He ran four times for 24 yards before hitting Barnes on a 25-yard screen pass for a touchdown to pull the Mustangs to within 35-33.

Page, then rolled to his left and fired a laser to Tyrick Ramirez for the game-tying two-point conversion 35-35 with 7:25 left in the game.

Dawson marched 80 yards in 13 plays with Johnson carrying six times on the drive for 53 yards. Johnson bulled his way across the goal line from four yards out with 3:26 left as the Eagles regained the lead at 42-35.

As the Mustangs have learned all season, they are never out of the game as long as Page has a hand on the offense.

The Mustangs got the pooch kick from Dawson at their own 44 yard line with 3:21 showing on the clock.

Page quickly electrified the crowd as he zipped and zagged for 41 yards to the Dawson 15.

Friendswood scored when Page swept right, followed a lead blocker and easily moved across the goal line with 37 seconds left in regulation making the score 42-42 following the PAT off the leg of Cody Williamson, his fourth of the game.

But it wouldn't be his last.

With Williamson’s PAT, the game was deadlocked at 42-42.

Dawson ran out the clock to send the battle into overtime.

After Dawson head coach Eric Wells won the toss, the Eagles elected to go on defense first to see what Friendswood would do on offense.

Friendswood was immediately assessed a 10-yard penalty on the first play for holding placing the ball on the 35.

However, Page promptly hit Mason Barnes for a 15-yard completion to the Dawson 20, and a facemask penalty by Dawson added 10 more yards to the 10.

After a two-yard run by Page, he swept left end and found the pylon for what proved to be the game-winning TD covering 8-yards as Williamson hit the all-important PAT giving the Mustangs their first lead of the game 49-42.

Now the game was put on the back of the Friendswood defense.

The Mustangs’ defense forced a four-and-out on Dawson’s ensuing possession, with a sack by defensive lineman Ty Shelby on Dawson quarterback Zach Smith sealing the victory.

Friendswood avenges the 28-26 loss suffered at the hands of Dawson last year and ends their streak of six straight years of advancing to the third round of the post-season.

"The things we preach every day are effort and body language. Everything else is contagious off of that,” Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann said. “These kids, they fight, and they’re too young to give up.”

Friendswood’s defense made significant halftime adjustments against Dawson’s passing attack, as Smith was 13-for-14 for 191 yards and three TDs in the first half, but was held to seven of 13 passing for 119 yards and one TD in the second half.

“They were playing with a different look than we’ve seen all year,” Koopmann said. “So, really, we just simplified.”

Page finished with 38 carries for 203 yards and four TDs rushing, and was seven-for-12 passing for 139 yards and two TDs.

Friske had four catches for 77 yards and one score. Barnes had eight carries for 26 yards and two catches for 39 yards and one TD. Ramirez had two grabs for 36 yards and a two-point conversion.

Smith finished hitting 20-of-30 for 256 yards and three TDs.

Johnson had 32 carries for 170 yards and three scores.

Brailon Mouton had seven catches for 109 yards. Rainer had four grabs for 36 yards and one TD. White had four receptions for 71 yards and one score. Thomas had one catch for 24 yards and one TD.

Friendswood (8-4) will take on defending 6A Region III Div. II champion Katy (12-0) in the third round of the Class 6A Region III Div. II playoffs back at NRG Stadium on Friday, Nov. 27 at 12:00 noon. The Tigers beat 2014 6A Div. I state-finalist Cy-Ranch 59-20.