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Dawson grinds out win over rival Pearland

Houston Chronicle logo Houston Chronicle 10/17/2020 Jason McDaniel

PEARLAND – Dawson coach Mike Allison could not have been more proud of his players after their hard-fought 17-6 victory over rival Pearland on Friday at Pearland Stadium, and that’s exactly what he told them, too – via Facetime over offensive coordinator Ryan Silvertooth’s upheld phone.

Allison was a late scratch out of caution due to possible exposure to COVID-19.

“I’m so excited for these kids, with everything they’ve been through, all the uncertainty, and the offseason getting cut short,” Silvertooth said. “I’m so proud of the way these kids have worked. Their resiliency, the adversity and they know how to bounce back from it – it’s a true family.”

Losing their head coach, and defensive line coach Mike Garcia, before one of the biggest games of the year was only the latest adversity the Eagles (4-0, 2-0), ranked No. 14 in the area 6A media poll, have overcome. The Dawson-Pearland game originally was scheduled for Nov. 20 but moved up after two Alvin ISD schools were forced to postpone games last week because of the coronavirus.

The Eagles also played Friday without starting quarterback James Kramer (leg), who was injured last week against Hastings, forcing sophomore Collin Johnson to make the first start of his career.

None of that mattered in the second half.

After doing very little in the first half, the Eagles took control with an eight-play, 80-yard drive to start the third quarter, with running back Ja’Den Stewart providing the go-ahead score on a 1-yard run. They sealed it with a 2-yard TD run by Blake Smith on fourth and goal with 2:37 left in the game.

Stewart ended up with 102 yards on 23 rushes.

“(The offensive line) came over and told me at halftime, ‘Coach, just keep running it, keep running it and we’re going to bust one open,’” Silvertooth said. “So we kept pounding it, kept pounding it and found a way to get in the end zone.”

Meanwhile, Dawson’s defense held No. 12 Pearland (3-1, 1-1) to 48 yards after halftime, and 189 for the game, thanks to relentless pressure on QB Jake Sock that produced four sacks, including two by Cameron Whitfield. “Our defense played their tails off all night long,” Silvertooth said.

The win was Dawson’s second straight over Pearland and fourth in five years.

“We always talk about the next game is our biggest game, but we’re going to celebrate this one tonight.”

Defense reigned in the first half.

The Eagles led 3-0 after Carter Brown’s 46-yard field goal in the first quarter but managed only 80 yards and four first downs by halftime – with Johnson throwing three interceptions. But the Oilers turned only one of those takeaways into a touchdown, and then Jonah Ledet blocked the extra-point attempt, keeping it 6-3 at halftime.

Defensive back Kelekolio Linton supplied the first pick on Dawson’s opening possession, but the Oilers took over at their 3 and quickly punted. DB Deveon Moses’ interception in the second quarter led to a touchdown, but the Oilers still had to go 95 yards, with Sock hitting William Foster for a 46-yard score.

The senior wide receiver beat Dawson DBs Blake Smith and Jaden Carrethers-Kyles down the left sideline and hauled in Sock’s long pass in stride for the touchdown.

Izael Jones snared the third pick but time ran out before Pearland could take advantage.

Sock was errant on his first four pass attempts before his first completion in the second quarter. The Oilers converted a fake punt in the quarter, with Linton picking up the first down on a 6-yard run, but they also flubbed a punt attempt after a low snap forced Garrett Coiner to fall on the ball for a 16-yard loss.

Johnson came back with two key completions on Dawson’s second-half scoring drives. He finished with 55 yards on 6-of-10 passing.

Dawson amassed 193 yards and 12 first downs.

“I probably didn’t put him in the best of situations in the first half but all-in-all he played well,” Silvertooth said. “At halftime, he was down a little bit, but after talking to him, he had all the confidence in the world, his teammates picked him up, and he made a clutch throw in the third quarter on that touchdown drive.”

Jason McDaniel is a freelance writer.

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