Pearland holds on for win over Alief Taylor 35-28

PEARLAND — Pearland was a pre-season pick to win the District 23-6A title though that prediction really doesn't matter as all games are won on the field of competition and not in the arena of public opinion.

The Oilers fell to Alief Taylor last season 19-14, a team that went on to share the 23-6A title with the Dawson Eagles, which is another team that gave the Oilers their only league losses in 2016.

Picking up the second win in district play was important for the Oilers as they jumped out to a 35-14 lead and then held on for a 35-28 victory after junior quarterback Austin Landry went down at the end of the first half.

Landry is that one variable that a lot of teams don't have as his mobility helps open up the offense and compliments the other players that are around him.

It didn't take long for Alief Taylor to get on the scoreboard as they took the opening kickoff to the end zone in only three plays as junior quarterback Charlie McFarland found a wide open Brennan Eagles for a 74-yard scoring bomb with only 1:10 gone in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

But it didn't take that long for the Oilers as they got an outstanding kickoff return from senior Trenton Deshotel who almost returned it to the house as the kicker was the last player between him and the goal line.

The 50-yard return gave the Oilers great field position at the Taylor 30.

Two runs by Jaelin Benefield of 11 and 8 yards put the ball at the 11 and then Evan Burgess got the call for the touchdown. The PAT by Jacob Keller tied the game at 7-7 with 9:42 left in the first quarter.

Both teams traded punts and then the Oilers got the ball at their own 20 with 5:39 left in the opening period.

It only took five plays for Pearland to find the pay station as Benefield found a huge hole through the middle of the Taylor defense and raced 46-yards untouched for the score with 4:20 showing on the clock making the score 14-7.

After Pearland's defense forced a punt, the offense turned the ball over at the Oiler 20 and two plays later McFarland scored on an 11-yard run to knot up the game 14-14 with :23 seconds left in the opening stanza.

Once again, the Oilers got an outstanding kickoff return, this time from Malcolm Linton who returned the ball 50-yards to the Taylor 26.

It took only six plays for Landry to score on a 6-yard run that included a great fake that completely fooled the Lions defense which allowed the signal-caller to stroll into the end zone untouched making the score 21-14 with 10:58 left in the second quarter.

Pearland added another score with 3:13 left before intermission when back-up quarterback Layne Roblyer hit Evan Burgess on wheel route for a 27-yard touchdown for a 28-14 halftime lead.

Both teams traded punts to start the second half and then traded fumbles.

The Oilers turned their fumble recovery into a score as they began the drive at the Taylor 49. Six plays later, Benefield got loose again on a 16-yard scoring run to give the Oilers a 35-14 advantage with 3:34 left in the third quarter.

Taylor would go on a 14-0 scoring run to narrow the margin to 35-28 with their second score of the half coming with 4:43 left in the game and time to still tie up the contest.

However, Pearland's defense stepped up to shut down the Lions the rest of the way and with less than two minutes to go in the game, the Oilers came up with a big fourth down stop at the Taylor 40 and ran out the clock to get the 35-28 win.

Benefield finished the game as the leading rusher with 123 yards on 19 carries and two scores. Burgess had 103 yards on the ground on 13 totes and one score and three catches for 45 yards and another TD.

Landry was 2-for-5 passing for 20 yards and one INT while Roblyer was 8-of-18 for 83 yards and one TD and one INT.

Brett White caught five passes for 34 yards and Adam Tillman had three grabs for 24 yards.

Pearland will travel to Crump Stadium on Thursday, October 12 at 7:00 p.m. to face the Hastings Bears in another 23-6A match-up.