Friendswood rolls past Dawson 35-14

FRIENDSWOOD — Many thought that the loss of sophomore quarterback Christian Lee to a broken collar bone was going to hinder the playoff run of the Friendswood Mustangs.

All it did was see a young freshman signal-caller by the name of Luke Grden emerge out of the pack to lead the 'Stangs to two consecutive victories with the last coming against a highly talented Dawson Eagles team in the first round of the Class 6A Region III Div. II playoffs.

"You know he never blinked an eye all week," Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann said. "He's shown confidence since that fourth quarter against Springs. In practice he's taken control of things, and, man, he made some nice throws. I keep telling myself, 'he's 14 years old.'"

I might be important to know his name might shed some information on who this kid really is.

"Luke' in the Hebrew can be translated "giving light" while the name in Greek means "beloved physician."

In other words, Luke Grden has become the healing light that the Mustangs need at this moment in their season.

Friendswood wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as the yound field general led them on a 68-yard drive that was capped off by a 2-yard run by Calvin Whittaker with 5:42 left in the opening opening period for a 7-0 lead.

Running back Mason Barnes was the workhorse of the drive to set up the short run by Whittaker. Barnes finished the game with 29 carries for 114 yards.

Grden took the leadership role in the second scoring drive when he hit on a beautiful 35-yard connection to Ben Redding (seven receptions, 143 yards) and then had a nifty 13-yard QB scramble followed by a perfectly thrown 8-yard fade pass to Austin Alvarez for a touchdown and 14-0 lead at the 5:28 mark of the second quarter.

Down 14-0, Dawson finally found their offense as quarterback Patrick Kramer (21-for-35, 303 yards) hit Khalil Jones for 63 yards. Kramer then handed the ball off to Caleb Eaton who scored on a 15-yard run to cut the margin to 14-7 after the PAT by Claire Jeffress with 4:51 left before halftime.

At the end of the first half -- it appeared that the Eagles would tie up the game, however Colton Halata stepped in front of a Dawson receiver at the Friendswood 26, picked off the pass, and raced untouched for a Friendswood touchdown with :23 second left before intermission giving the Mustangs a 14-point swing and a 21-7 lead.

Dawson scored first in the second half when Eaton scored on a 2-yard plunge to cut the margin to 21-14, but that is as close as it would get.

Mustangs scored once in the third on an 18-yard pass to Barnes from Grden and the game-clincher in the fourth quarter with 10:26 left in the game when Grden sent a beauty to Ben Redding for a 41-yard touchdown pass making the final score 35-14.

Redding made a one-handed unbelievable catch for the score.

Friendswood will now advance to the 6A Region II Div. II area round to face the Summer Creek Bulldogs on Friday, Nov. 24 at 12:00 noon at NRG Stadium. The Mustangs beat the Bulldogs in a non-district contest earlier in the season 27-19.