Most football teams in Texas would love to have eight wins and go two rounds deep in the state playoffs. That’s what Pearland did last year, but the Oilers aren’t like most teams.
Pearland has made a habit of reloading and making a playoff run two rounds or farther. Last year’s 8-4 season could be seen as un-Pearland- like, but the four looses were nothing to sneeze at.
There was a non-district loss to eventual state quarterfinalist Manvel. The Oilers lost by five points to District 23-6A champ Alief Taylor (19-14) and got nudged by Dawson, 34-32.
After squeaking by Clear Springs in the bi-district round, 20-17, Pearland fell to eventual state semifinalist Atascocita. The four losses by Pearland are the most in a season since an 8-4 campaign in 2000, and the Oilers have made the playoffs every year this millennium.
OT Chase Prestage, C Joey Williams, DT Jordan Crawford
Prestage and Williams helped anchor a prolific offensive line and Crawford was a unanimous first-team all-district selection.
RB Jaelin Benefield, OG Sincere Haynesworth, LB Deantoine Carter
Benefield earned co-Offensive Newcomer of the Year in 2306A as a sophomore after running for 700 yards while splitting time in the backfield.
Haynesworth was part of an experienced offensive line though he was just a sophomore. Carter was an all-district pick as a junior and Johnny Tamayo (6-0, 175) will only be a junior returning in the defensive backfield.
Talent seems to grow on trees in Pearland, and Oilers coach Tony Heath knows just how to pick them and mix it up for a perfect, successful recipe.
Pearland will have the right blend of youth, experience and talent to go along with Heath’s wisdom and a penchant for just winning ball games — how’s 130 victories since the 2005 season sound?
The Oilers get a pair of tune-up games in Clear Springs and Pasadena Memorial before a revenge trip to Manvel. District 23-6A begins the following week at Alief Elsik before getting Taylor and Dawson over the next three-game stretch.
And if history is any indicator, 2017 could be special, and here’s why: The last three times Pearland only won eight games in a season, the Oilers followed it with a trip at least to the state semifinals — twice to the state championship game.
• After going 8-4 in 2000, Pearland went 13-1 the following year and lost to San Antonio Taft in the state semifinals.
• The 2009 team went 8-3, and the 2010 team went 16-0 with a state championship win over a vaunted Euless Trinity squad.
• The 2012 team went 8-3, and the 2013 team went all the way to the state final, losing to Allen and ending up with a 14-2 record (the only regular season loss to Manvel).
In other words, look out for Pearland in 2017.
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