Pearland overcomes slow start in district opener

PEARLAND — It took a little while for the Pearland Oilers to get untracked when facing Alief Elsik in the district opener for both teams.

Pearland took their opening possession from the Elsik 48 to the 16 before fumbling the ball to the Rams.

The Oiler defense forced a punt after only four plays and took over at their own 45.

Forced to punt after three plays, the ball was snapped over the punter's head on fourth down and Elsik got the ball at the Pearland 14.

Four plays later, Elsik boots a 24-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

The Oilers return the kickoff only to fumble the ball back to Elsik at their own 35.

The Rams couldn't get past the Oilers defense and were forced to attempt a 42-yard field goal when the Pearland fortunes began to turn around as Mitchell Johnson blocked the attempt giving the Oilers the ball at their own 41.

An eight-play drive stalled at the Elsik 30 as a fourth-down pass attempt fell incomplete giving the ball back to the Rams.

The Rams lost 20 yards because of an aggressive Pearland defense. Facing fourth-and-28 from their own 9, the center snapped the ball over the punter's head and out of the end zone giving the Oilers a safety to make the score 3-2 with 11:52 left in the second quarter.

Both teams traded punts and then the Oilers got the ball back at the 8:01 mark of the second period at their own 30.

Three minutes later, Pearland finally got into the pay station on a 6-yard scoring run by quarterback Jacob Whitehead to give the Oilers an 8-3 advantage.

That would begin a scoring streak before intermission as Elsik fumbled on their next possession and Johnson was again at the right place at the right time scooping up the ball and rambling 7-yards for a Pearland touchdown making the score 15-3 with 4:55 left before halftime.

After three-and-out by the Rams, Pearland got the ball back at their own 25 with 3:03 left before intermission.

The Oilers drove the ball to the Ram 9-yard line and kicker Jacob Keller did the rest with a 26-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in the first half giving Pearland an 18-3 lead.

It was all Pearland in the second half as the Oilers scored on another safety when Elsik snapped the ball over the punter's head for a second time to give Pearland another safety and a 20-3 lead.

The Oilers got the kickoff and took only four-plays to go 54-yards capped off by a 24-yard scoring pass from Whitehead to Triston Gibson to up the lead to 27-3 with 9:38 left in the third quarter.

With 8:51 left in the fourth quarter, Pearland got a 27-yard field goal from Keller to make the score 30-3 and then with 6:37 left in the game, Whitehead added one more score on a 1-yard keeper for a 37-3 lead.

Elsik finally scored late in the game to post the 37-9 final score.

Pearland finished with 393 total yards on offense as Whitehead led the way with 89 yards rushing on 14 carries and two TDs and was also 6-of-10 passing for 68 yards and another TD.

Jaelin Benefield had 83 yards on 20 totes while David Wilson added 41 yards on five carries.

Brendan Buckley also had a good game at quarterback hitting 11-of-18 for 105 yards.

Gibson was the top receiver with nine catches for 101 yards and one score.

Pearland improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in district. The Oilers will travel to Crump Stadium on Friday, Sept. 30 to face Alief Taylor at 7:00 p.m.