Oilers show fire in 56-28 dismantling of Cinco Ranch
The Pearland football team went from a strong opening showing to having to rally in a Week 2 defense battle against Memorial.
The explosive plays were back in a big way Saturday at Legacy Stadium.
The Oilers achieved their highest scoring output in almost a calendar year with a 56-28 victory against Cinco Ranch.
Junior J.D. Head was stellar, completing 18 of 30 passes for 337 yards and six touchdowns without an interception.
The defense played a key part, forcing four turnovers in a stretch of five possessions in the middle of the game. Johnny Tamayo recovered a fumble and made an interception on consecutive third-quarter drives to help the Oilers pull away.
Pearland trailed by double digits at halftime against Memorial last week before rallying for a 21-17 victory. The Oilers initially trailed against Cinco Ranch but scored the next three touchdowns.
“That’s a very good football team,” Pearland coach Ricky Tullos said. “I was proud of our kids tonight. We didn’t play as well as last week’s first half, but we had a good second half.
“I felt like last week we didn’t handle adversity really well. Tonight they hit us right in the face right from the start and our kids understood and knew what to do and how to handle adversity, then bouncing back and executing the rest of the game.”
The teams traded scores during the first half until Pearland broke ahead with two momentous plays.
Benefield broke a tie at 21 in a flash, sprinting through for a 60-yard touchdown with 3:49 remaining. It was the first play from scrimmage after a Cinco Ranch touchdown.
Pearland’s Kellen Linton ended a Cougars drive with an interception, though Cinco Ranch got the ball back when Luke Long recovered a fumble.
The Cougars gave back the ball and their scoring opportunity on the very next play, as Devin Linton made an interception in the backfield and raced to set up a touchdown catch by Austin Landry with 19 seconds left.
The 35-21 halftime lead was enough to keep Cinco Ranch from rallying.
The Cougars opened the game with a 63-yard catch by Justin Hull and an 11-yard touchdown run by Cam Harper. Pearland answered twice with long passes as Head found Will Hiers for 58 yards and Clayton Broeder for 47 and a 14-7 lead.
“He’s a phenomenal football player and I’m very proud of his leadership and all the things,” Tullos said. “Offensively as a whole, from the O-line protecting to our running back, running a little gimpy tonight, just a valiant effort by the whole football team.”
The latter drive included a controversial call as Cinco Ranch’s leading tackler was ejected for what was determined to be targeting as Head slid to finish an 11-yard scramble.
Pearland added a Benefield touchdown early in the second quarter before Cinco Ranch answered. Brannon King’s 55-yard catch set up Harper’s second touchdown. The Cougars tied the game with 4:07 left in the half on a 5-yard reverse by Hull.
But the Oilers took over from there, as Head found Landry for a 44-yard touchdown out of halftime and converted Tamayo’s second turnover into a 40-yard scoring strike to Jaden Piece for a 49-21 lead.
Pearland takes an undefeated record into what should be another competitive District 23-6A season. The Oilers open league play Sept. 28 after a bye week, hosting Alief Taylor.
“We’ve got to continue to work to get better,” Tullos said. “We focus on ourselves a lot. We don’t talk about our opponent too much. But it’s a very tough district, very good opponents. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”