Pearland turns out the lights on Manvel


PEARLAND — With only 17 seconds left in the game and the Pearland offense driving toward a possible game-winning field goal and the game tie with Manvel at 24-24, the unthinkable happened.

The stadium lights at Alvin Memorial Stadium all of a sudden went out and it took only seconds for hundreds of cell phone lights to come on. Only two lights on the visitor's side were still lit up above the Pearland fans, but the main lights were dark.

It took between 15-20 minutes for the lights to come back on so the game could resume, but there was no word as to what happened to cause the power failure.

Both teams got back on the field to bring the game to a conclusion.

It was not hard – I just told them to sit down, relax and take a deep breath,” Pearland head coach Tony Heath said. “If you’re worrying about everything you’re fixing to do, then you’ll overthink it.

“I felt really confident and really calm when (Cody) Bernstein came up to me and said ‘Put the ball in the middle. I can make it from here.’

“When your kicker does that, and when he has that confidence in his eyes…he wasn’t just hoping to make it, he knew he could make it.”

Pearland ran one play to place the ball at the Manvel 20 with only two seconds remaining in regulation.

The Oilers lined up for a 37-yard field goal attempt, and with ice water in his veins, Cody Bernstein calmly drilled the ball through the uprights giving Pearland the 27-24 district win.

On the line with the kick was a perfect 10-0 season and the District 22-6A championship.

With no time showing on the game clock, the Pearland coaches, players, and fans erupted in celebration for the come-from-behind win and turning out the lights on Manvel.

Teammates picked up Bernstein and carried him off the field in celebration.

The game-winning field goal was only the second lead for the Oilers in the game as they scored first after getting an interception on Manvel's first possession.

Sophomore running back Evan Burgess scored on a 2-yard dive with 10:10 left in the first quarter.

The score was set up by an interception as Pearland senior defensive back Kordell Caldwell intercepted Manvel QB D'Eriq King on Manvel’s first possession.

Caldwell returned the ball 32 yards to the Manvel 16. Burgess then ran for 14 yards to the two yard line before bulling his way for the final two yards to give Pearland a 7-0 lead.

The Mavericks ran off 10 points on a 1-yard keeper by King with 8:24 left in the opening period to tie up the game at 7-7 and then the Mavs got a 26-yard field goal off the leg of Enis Sefa for a 10-7 lead with 1:08 still left in the first.

With 7:11 remaining in the second quarter the Mavs scored again on a 4-yard run by RB D'Vaughn Pennamon to stretch the lead to 17-7.

Pearland managed to get some momentum heading into halftime after Oiler linebackers Zane Gonzales and Dylan Roach combined to hit Pennamon who fumbled at the Oiler 36 yard line.

On second down, Blumrick scrambled to his right and completed a 52-yard bomb to WR Brady Basso to the Mavericks 12-yard line with time winding down.

Bernstein then stepped on to the field and kicked his first field goal, this one a 29-yarder, as time expired in the first half, pulling Pearland within 17-10.

“That gave us life going into halftime,” Heath said.

The two teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter as Manvel increased their lead to 24-10 with 5:44 left on a King to Hunter Hagdorn 7-yard touchdown pass.

The Pearland strategy changed in the second half as Heath directed his troops to go back to their trademark smash-mouth football.

The Oiler offense, sensing a tiring Manvel defense, decided to run the ball right down Manvel’s throat.

The direct approach worked as Pearland got only three possessions in the second half, but they worked it to perfection and the Mavs couldn't do anything about it.

The first possession went 13 plays for 76 yards with a 3-yard scoring run by Cody Williams to cut the margin to 24-17.

The next possession resulted in a 13-play, 77-yard scoring drive capped off by a 2-yard run by QB Connor Blumrick to tie up the game 24-24 with 6:00 minutes left in the game.

That setup the final drama of the contest when Manvel got the ball following the kickoff at their own 20.

The explosive offense of Manvel put the pressure on Pearland's defense to try to pull out the win.

With over a little two minutes left in the game, the Mavs were at the Pearland five yard line. On third down, King swept left, but the aggressive Pearland defense zeroed in on the elusive signal-caller stopping him at the 2-yard line.

Facing fourth down with only chip shot to take the lead, Manvel head coach Kirk Martin decided to roll the dice instead of opting for an almost certain three-points on their side and forcing Pearland in a must-score situation.

Maverick running back D’Vaughn Pennamon got the call around right end on a sweep and was headed for a touchdown when he was dislodged from the ball, which went bouncing out of the back of the end zone.

A shocked Manvel crowd stood in disbelief as Martin ran down the field to plead his case asking the official if Pennamon had crossed the goal line.

But the play wasn't even close as the ball came loose upon impact at the Manvel two before going out of the end zone.

Not only did that cost Manvel points, but it gave Pearland new life at its 20 yard line and all they could do on the Manvel side was to watch to see if the Oilers could pull out a win in the jaws of defeat.

The Oilers set up shop at their 20 with 2:11 left needing a field goal to win and to avoid overtime.

Blumrick ran for four yards on first down before completing a key third-and-six pass to Burgess on a screen play. The sophomore running back hauled it in and found his way to the Oiler 31 for seven yards and a first down.

An incomplete pass on first down didn’t stop Pearland as Blumrick scrambled to his left for 13 yards and a first down at the Pearland 44.

Blumrick then fired a pass to Basso for 14 yards to the Manvel 42-yard line with 31 seconds left.

From there, Blumrick fired a laser to junior wideout Daniel Petty, who turned upfield and stretched the ball to the 25.

Blumrick then spiked the ball with 17 seconds left to stop the clock…and that’s when the stadium went dark with the power outage.

And as they say, the rest is history. Pearland 27 Manvel 24.

Offensively, the two teams were close on offensive totals with Pearland winning the yardage game 393-345.

Blumrick was 14-of-23 passing for 199 yards with one INT.

Davier Pinkston had 94 yards on 18 carries while Basso caught three passes for 74 yards and Williams had four grabs for 34 yards.

Defensively, Dylan Roach led the Oilers with seven unassisted and four assisted tackles while Caldwell had an interception. LB Zane Gonzales had four unassisted tackles and a fumble recovery.

King was 16-of-25 passing for 136 yards, one TD and one INT, and he led the team on the ground with 125 yards on 16 totes and one score.

Reggie Hemphill had three catches for 29 yards. Hunter Hagdorn had three grabs for 42 yards and one score and Keylon Stokes had five catches for 35 yards.

Pearland finishes 10-0 and wins the District 22-6A title while Manvel falls to 8-2 overall. The two teams will not see each other again this season as they are in two different playoff divisions.

The real season begins on Friday, November 13 when the Oilers will host the Beaumont West Brook Bruins (6-4) at 7:00 p.m. at The Rig in the Class 6A Region III Division I bracket. Beaumont finished in fourth place in District 21-6A.

Manvel will move on in the Class 6A Region III Division II bracket to host the Channelview Falcons (7-3) on Friday, November 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the Alvin Memorial Stadium. Channelview finished in third place in District 21-6A.