Oilers a pre-season pick to defend 23-6A crown


PEARLAND — In 2018, Pearland had a perfect ending to the regular season as new head coach Ricky Tullos saw his gridiron warriors capture the District 23-6A championship and close out the regular season with a perfect 10-0 mark.

However, the playoffs brought an unexpected end to the season as the Oilers faced the Dickinson Gators in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Region III Div. I playoffs.

Pearland and Dickinson previously hooked up in the playoffs in 2014 and 2015 in the area round and the Gators won both games 35-21 and 26-23 (4OT). This time the Gators faced the Oilers in the opening round, but the result was still the same as Dickinson dominated Pearland for a 49-21 win to end the Oilers season after posting the perfect 10-0 regular season mark.

It is hard to be disappointed with a 10-1 season record the first year of a new coaching era, but the early playoff exit was surprising.

As the Oilers prepare for the 2019 season, Tullos has some exceptional returning weapons, plus some new moveins that should make Pearland a dangerous threat to capture the league title for the second straight year while making a deeper playoff run.

Returning as the 23-6A “Offensive Player of the Year” is Pearland senior quarterback J.D. Head who transferred to Pearland from Oklahoma last summer. Head was immediately accepted by the coaches and his teammates and the signal-caller proved to be everything and more as expected in helping the Oilers achieve success.

Head was 170-of-277 passing for 2,468 yards that included 25 touchdowns and six interceptions while gaining 165 yards rushing on 35 carries and one score. The field general set three new PHS passing records previously held by former Pearland All-State quarterback Trey Anderson who led the Oilers to a 5A Division I state title in 2010. Head now owns the records for most passing yards in a single-game (357), single-game touchdown passes (6), and most touchdown passes in a season (26).

Pearland's top returning ball carrier will be junior running back Torrance Burgess (5-9, 165, 4.5) who had 559 yards rushing on 76 carries for four touchdowns. Burgess averaged 7.4 yards per carry.

The top returning receivers are Jaden Piece (38 catches, 589 yards [15.9 yds per catch], 9 TDs), and Clayton Broeder (23 catches, 383 yards [16.7 yds per catch], 5 TDs).

One weapon that Tullos will also depend on is junior placekicker Caleb Mendez who proved to be a valuable asset last season. With more experience, hard work, and proving he has a stronger leg, the Oilers will have someone who can step up in the clutch to pull out a win when called on.

Pearland returns five offensive and three defensive starters to go with 42 lettermen.

One player to watch includes junior RB Brandon Campbell (5-10, 195) who arrived in Pearland in the spring. Campbell has over a dozen DI offers on the table now even though he hasn't carried the football for the Oilers. His potential will make him and Burgess a deadly one-two punch on the ground attack while opening the air waves for Head and his receivers. Campbell is also a lethal receiver out of the backfield.

Other players to watch include: TE Trevor Firmin, OL Trey Maeker, OL Gannon McKinney, WR/DB Dylan Dixon, and TE Tanner Tullos.

On defense, top players include LB Anton Simieou (5-10, 190, 4.7), DB Kele Linton (5-10, 180, 4.5), and DB Brenden Stokes (6-1, 190).

It should be an exciting year again for the Oilers as they will be favored to run the table during the regular season with the goal of being better prepared when they enter the post-season against some stiff competition.

Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Jaden Piece
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Torrence Burgess
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Kele Linton
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
J. D. Head
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Brenden Stokes
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Clayton Broeder
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Tanner Tullos
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Trevor Firmin
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Anton Simieou
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Trey Maeker
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Gannon McKinney
Highslide JS
Click to enlarge.
Caleb Mendez