Pinkston, Whitehead lead Oilers past Deer Park

PEARLAND — Before Pearland met Deer Park in the opening round of the playoffs, one would have thought that sophomore running back Davier Pinkston and sophomore quarterback Jacob Whitehead would play like deer in headlights.

After all, Pinkston was elevated from junior varsity to varsity a few weeks ago due to the Oilers losing senior running backs JaColbie Butler and Chase Foster to injuries. And to top it off, Whitehead found out he was going to be the starter after senior QB Jake Blumrick was declared ineligible due to a concussion suffered late in the Manvel game.

All districts in the Houston area have a five-day period to clear a player from a concussion. Pearland's district has a seven-day clearance so Blumrick had to watch, but will be able to play when the Oilers face the Dickinson Gators (11-0) on Friday, November 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Abshier Stadium in Deer Park.

Pinkston played like a veteran and Whitehead was a rock star as the two led the Pearland offense with precision and excitement. Both will be playing for the Oilers for two more years and you can only imagine what they will do. Pearland fans got a taste against Deer Park as the pair brought the Oiler fans to their feet on more than one occasion.

Both teams struggled to get things going in the opening quarter.

The Oilers got on the board first with a 10-play, 51-yard drive capped off with a 2-yard keeper by Whitehead. The PAT missed and Pearland had a 6-0 lead at the 6:01 mark of the first quarter.

Deer Park answered with a long drive of their own. The Deer scored on a 32-yard pass from Cameron Thompson to Logan Berryhill who was able to beat the Pearland defensive back down the right sideline.

However, the Deer Park kicker hit the right upright and ball bounced back on the field leaving the game tied at 6-6.

That would be all the scoring until Whitehead scored again with only :40 seconds left in the first half on a 1-yard sneak. Nicholas Keller booted the PAT and the Oilers took a 13-6 lead into the dressing room.

The game continued to be tight until Pearland was able to put together another drive that featured Pinkston and Whitehead moving the ball down the field.

With 3:50 left in the third, Pinkston scored on a 5-yard run giving the Oilers some breathing room at 20-6.

The Pearland defense forced a Deer Park punt which pinned the Oilers deep on their own four-yard line.

That's when Pinkston was called on to run a sweep to the right. However, the Deer Park defense shifted to that side and the young speedster quickly stopped, darted to his left, and found a huge opening around the left side of the defense. Streaking down the sideline, he picked up two huge blocks from Ryan Diaz and Cody Williams that set him free for a crowd-pleasing 96-yard scoring jaunt to make the score 27-6 with 1:56 left in the third quarter.

"I had a run like that when I was in junior high, but not in high school," Pinkston said. "Not even when I was on JV did I have that."

"He's growing up and it's nice to see." said Pearland head coach Tony Heath. "Pearland has a reputation of having some good running backs coming through town. He started off on JV and we knew he could be something special. I think the game has slowed down enough for him now to be successful."

Deer Park finally got on the scoreboard late in the fourth when Berryhill out muscled one of Pearland's defensive backs for an 11-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 27-12 after another failed PAT.

The Oilers put the finishing touches on the game with two late scores.

Pearland recovered the onside kick and quickly scored on a 19-yard pass from Whitehead to Williams making the score 34-12.

The Oilers then recovered a fumble by the Deer deep in their own territory. Eric Boudreaux ran through the Deer defense for a 17-yard scoring ramble to post the 41-12 final score.

Pinkston was the game's leading ball carrier as he rushed for 200 yards on 25 carries and two scores. He had 203 yards against Manvel the week before.

Whitehead was 8-of-10 passing for 124 yards and one score and he also rushed for 106 yards on 18 totes and two more TDs.

"It was a great team effort," Heath said. "We had a new quarterback (Jacob Whitehead) step up tonight. Jake (Blumrick) was out this week, so Jacob stepped up and his success was due to the team rallying around him.

"They knew they had to play a good game in order for him to have success. So it comes back to a team effort."

Diaz had one catch for 50 yards and Williams had five grabs for 67 yards and one score.