Friendswood rallies over No. 1 George Ranch 38-35

FRIENDSWOOD — Through the years, Friendswood has hosted several teams that entered Henry Winston Stadium with a top area-ranking only to leave with a loss. The same was true this past Friday when No. 1 Class 5A area-ranked George Ranch showed up for Friendswood's 2014 home opener.

Friendswood opened up the season with a 24-0 shutout of former district rival Texas City. Head coach Robert Koopmann has a strong team this year and they flexed their muscles against the Stingarees.

However, George Ranch, who was 13-1 last season and advanced to the Class 4A Region III finals was a much more experienced and talented team who got their first win of the season 35-17 over Pearland Dawson.

Because Koopmann was a part of the Friendswood coaching staff when those former top-ranked teams came to Friendswood, he and his coaching staff know how to prepare for those big games.

It looked like George Ranch would easily take the game as they jumped out to an early 13-0 lead in the first quarter.

But Friendswood's defense found their groove for the rest of the first half to shut out the Longhorns while the offense began to get untracked.

The Mustangs closed the gap in the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Tyler Page scored on a 7-yard run with 3:49 left before intermission. Blake King booted the PAT to make the score 13-7.

Friendswood took the lead on their first possession of the second half when Page once again found paydirt on a 20-yard scoring dash. King hit the extra point to make the score 14-13.

Once again it was King with 5:59 left in the third period who added his third score of the game on a 1-yard keeper to extend the lead to 21-13.

It took only 20 seconds for George Ranch to tie up the game as QB Timon Nolan hit a 57-yard bomb to Marcellas Baker. Darius Anderson scored on the two-point conversion to knot up the contest at 21-21 with 5:39 remaining in the third.

Friendswood moved the ball to the George Ranch 10, but were forced to settle for a 24-yard Blake King field goal to go up 24-21 with 2:16 left in the third.

The Longhorns took the lead again when Anderson scored on a 10-yard run giving George Ranch a 28-24 advantage.

After Friendswood couldn't answer on offense, the defense made a statement when King recovered a fumble for a 1-yard touchdown giving the Mustangs a 31-28 lead in the ping-pong match.

It appeared that whoever had the ball last would pull out the game as George Ranch responded with a 52-yard scoring jaunt by Xavian Marks for yet another lead change giving the Longhorns a 35-31 lead with only 1:56 left in the game.

As Friendswood fans have seen throughout the years, that is still plenty of time for the Mustangs.

Friendswood got the ball on their own 18. The Mustangs used an array of plays including a pitch back to Sam Longbotham who competed a 37-yard option pass to the Longhorn 20.

The game came down to fourth-and-6 from the 10-yard line. Page took the snap, rolled left, avoided a George Ranch defender, and then fired a laser to Tyrick Ramirez for the 10-yard game-winning touchdown with :36 seconds showing on the clock giving Friendswood the come-from-behind 38-35 victory.

George Ranch (1-1) suffers their first loss of the season while Friendswood moves to 2-0.

Friendswood totaled 399 total yards with 190 yards rushing by Longbotham on 26 carries and one pass completion for 37 yards. Page had102 yards on the ground on 29 totes and three scores while hitting 5-of-9 passing for 52 yards.

Joey Crespo had four catches for 76 yards while Ramirez had one catch for 10 yards and the game-winning TD.

Friendswood will travel to face the Kingwood Mustangs on Friday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m.

Kingwood is winless on the season with an 0-2 mark after suffering losses to Katy (31-0) and Klein Collins (48-21).