Pearland escapes Alief Taylor with district win

PEARLAND — There is an old saying, "It may not have been pretty, but a win is a win."

That could have well described the win that Pearland got over Alief Taylor as the Oilers survived being behind most of the game until a 20-point fourth quarter erased a 32-28 lead by the Lions through three periods.

The Oilers were behind 13-7 at the end of the opening period and 26-21 at halftime as Taylor, who were 3-7 last season and a pre-season sixth-place finish to begin the 2019 season, put Pearland behind the 8-ball for most of the game.

Taylor scored on a 40-yard field goal by Mr. All-Purpose Estaban Torres and a blocked punt for a 10-0 lead with 4:59 left in the opening quarter.

Pearland finally got on the scoreboard with 3:40 left in the first when QB J.D. Head hit Jeremiah Aaron on a crossing route that turned into a touchdown to close the margin to 10-7 following the PAT by Caleb Mendez.

But the Lions close out the first frame with a 30-yard field goal with :06 seconds left in the first period making the score 13-7.

Pearland responded with a seven-play, 72-yard touchdown drive with 9:34 left in the half. That drive culminated with a Brandon Campbell 3-yard run. A Mendez PAT gave the Oilers a 14-13 lead which didn't last that long.

The Lions returned the ensuing kickoff to the Oiler 34. A 25-yard pass quickly put the ball at the 17. Two plays later, Torres sprinted around right end for a 14-yard scoring scamper. The two-point conversion failed leaving the Lions with a 19-14 advantage.

The Oilers kept pace on their next possession moving the ball 68-yards in seven-plays capped off by an 8-yard Head to Jaden Piece scoring toss to reclaim the lead 21-19 with 6:14 left in the second period.

But Taylor wasn't going away as the Lions took only two plays as Torres hit Derrick Jones on a 66-yard scoring bomb with 5:24 left before halftime for a 26-21 lead.

That would be the way the first half would end.

Miscues continued to plaque the Oilers early in the second half as Pearland drove to the Taylor 24. Head dropped back to pass and was chased to near midfield where he fumbled the ball. In the scramble for the ball, Taylor’s Bryce Burkett picked it up at the Oiler 41 and raced untouched into the end zone for a 32-21 lead with 6:12 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion failed.

At that point in the game, Pearland woke up and realized the urgency of the hour -- especially with Taylor threatening to score on the Oilers 25.

The Oilers secured a momentum changer with an interception in the end zone by Ralpheal Marshall. From there, Pearland took control of the game.

Campbell scored on a 15-yard run to cut the lead to 32-28 with 4:34 left in the third quarter.

On the Oilers next possession, Piece snagged a 19-yard scoring pass from Head to give the Oilers a 34-32 lead with the missed PAT due to a bad snap.

Pearland then got an 80-yard scoring drive in 10 plays, with the big play being a 39-yard screen pass from Head to Campbell, who weaved his way to the end zone as Pearland’s lead swell to 41-32 with 3:54 left.

Taylor’s next possession also ended in an interception, this time by Oiler Brendan Stokes at the Lion 34 yard line.

Two plays later, Pearland junior running back Torrance Burgess burst up the middle 32-yards for a touchdown with 1:02 showing for a 48-32 advantage that stood as the final score.

“We broke down in every area, for sure,” Oiler head coach Ricky Tullos said. “Offensively, defensively, special teams.

“They got us with that fake punt early and got the momentum. Then we snap it over the punter’s head. We knew we were going to be in a dogfight. Taylor has a great football program, and coach (Brian) Randle does a fine job.

“We lost some big fumbles and we broke down in coverage on defense and special teams. Sometimes those things happen coming off a bye week and playing on a Thursday. We’re still not in the shape we need to be in.

“I’m proud of the kids for being resilient and the fact that they just kept plugging along.”

Head finished the game hitting 20-of-37 passing for 346 yards and three TDs.

Campbell had 69 yards on 16 carries for two touchdowns while Burgess had 13 totes for 66 yards and one score.

Campbell also had three grabs for 51 yards and one score while Aaron had six catches for 111 yards and one TD. Piece had four receptions for 66 yards and one score.

Pearland's defense held the Lions to 65 yards rushing while they collected 234 yards through the air.