Second half surge gives Pearland 21-14 win

PEARLAND — The game between Pearland and Alief Hastings was a tale of two halves. Hastings won the first half 14-0 as the Oilers spent the first 24 minutes of the game trying to find themselves.

Nothing seemed to work for Pearland as they struggled to move the ball into Hastings territory and to even get a first down.

The Oilers spent the majority of the first half on their own side of the 50 while Hastings was moving the ball in Pearland territory.

With 4:06 remaining in the opening period, Hastings put together a drive that resulted in a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Javon Williams to wide receiver Austin Ogunmakin giving the Bears a 7-0 lead.

Both teams continued to battle in the first half with Pearland depending on their defense to keep them in the game.

But the first half backbreaker came at the 1:13 mark just before intermission when Williams rolled right from his own 32 and found a wide-open Joseph Manjack standing on the Pearland 30 with no one around him. Manjack caught the pass and strolled into the end zone giving the Bears a 14-0 at halftime.

"I couldn't believe we left the receiver so wide open," said Pearland head coach James Farmer. "We really just blew the coverage on that play."

Hastings won the first two quarters and Pearland had to regroup at intermission if they were going to remain undefeated in district action.

A different Pearland team came out in the second half as they knew their backs were up against the wall.

" We looked sloppy on both sides of the ball. Everything we messed up on…we work on those things all the time. But kids are kids," Farmer said. "We talked to them at halftime. We said 'we're going to score and stop them, score and stop them, and score and stop them again and win the game."

After Pearland took the second half kickoff that resulted in a pass interception by Hastings at the Bears 39, the Oilers defense stiffened to make a fourth down stop at the Hastings 49.

With 6:15 left in the third quarter, Pearland's offense woke up as junior running back Jaelin Benefield found a hole in the middle of the Hastings defense and raced 74-yards for a crowd-pleasing touchdown to narrow the gap to 14-7 with 5:13 left in the third.

The Oilers forced Hastings to a three-and-out to get the ball back at their own 21.

It took only five plays for Pearland to find the pay station again as quarterback Layne Roblyer hit Clayton Broeder on a 28-yard scoring slant to tie up the game at 14-14 with 2:25 left in the third quarter.

The big play of the drive came when Evan Burgess got loose on a 56-yard jaunt from his own 21 to the Hastings 23.

Both teams traded punts in the final period before the Oilers took possession at the Hastings 46 with 7:49 left in the game.

It took only two plays for the Oilers to take the lead as Benefield got loose again, this time on a 44-yard scoring jaunt giving Pearland a 21-14 advantage which turned out to be the winning score for the Oilers.

The Oilers outgained the Bears 385 total yards to 304 with a 15 to 12 edge in first downs.

Benefield led all rushers with 164 yards on 19 carries and two TDs on runs of 74 and 44 yards.

Burgess had 99 yards on 12 totes.

Roblyer was 7-of-11 passing for 61 yards and one TD and one INT. Austin Landry was 3-of-9 for 44 yards.

Broeder led the receivers with two catches for 52 yards and one score. Brett White had four grabs for 24 yards. Cinsai Pinkston had three catches for 22 yards.

The Oilers (4-1, 3-0) will face cross-town cousin Dawson (4-1, 2-0) on Friday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m. at The Rig in the annual PearBowl which is sponsored by Bayway Chevrolet.

There will be fireworks by Skywonder Pyrotechnics and the Bayway Chevrolet Parachute Team will bring in the American Flag, Texas Flag, and the Game Ball before kickoff.