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Oilers learn through adversity in comeback against Memorial

September 10, 2018 GMT

While an imposing Cinco Ranch football team waits in the wings this Saturday, Pearland head football coach Ricky Tullos is directing his attention elsewhere.

Primarily to his first obligation - the Oilers.

Pearland had to rally with two fourth-quarter touchdowns this past Friday to erase a 17-6 deficit and claim a 21-17 victory over Spring Branch Memorial.

Those two late scores made an otherwise frustrating night for the Oilers more acceptable when the final buzzer sounded.

“We were not ready to play from the start,” Tullos said. “I feel I didn’t do a good job of getting our kids ready to go.

“You can talk about the holiday, but everybody is going through the same thing. We were coming off a big win the week before, and we realize it’s important to keep the kids humble week-in and week-out. It was a good learning experience for our team as we prepare for district play.”

Torrance Burgess’s 24-yard touchdown run was the only score Pearland managed in the first half, after which Memorial owned its 17-6 lead.

While Pearland’s defense rose to the occasion in the second half, the Oiler offense didn’t find the end zone again until a little more than 10 minutes remained in the game. That’s when quarterback J.D. Head connected with wide receiver Clayton Broeder on a 56-yard touchdown pass.

With six minutes remaining, Head fired a 6-yard quick slant pass to Austin Landry when for what proved to be the game-winning score.

“We didn’t make any adjustments (after halftime),” Tullos said. “We came out, settled down and took care of ourselves.

“It’s not who our opponent is. We focus on ourselves and doing our job. When we do that, we have a chance to be successful.”

Tullos didn’t cite a lack of energy from the Oilers, either.

“I thought our effort was great,” he said. “We just didn’t execute, had a couple of turnovers and missed assignments on defense.

“Effort was not a question. We just broke down in a couple of areas. Hats off to Memorial. They did a great job of controlling the clock and being physical.

“They put us behind early and took the momentum. I’m very proud of our kids showing poise and composure, and eventually we executed at a high level.”

Despite some struggles, Tullos said the Oilers showed improvement from week one.

“No doubt - that’s why you play the game,” the first-year Pearland boss said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t play as sharp, but from a character standpoint, the only way you learn is going through adversity.

“That happened at a good time in the season. It’s something we can learn from and teach our kids how to handle those situations.”

Cinco Ranch dropped a 50-48 decision to Jersey Village this past Friday to fall to 1-1. While the Cougars pose another serious challenge Saturday in Katy, Tullos said his foremost concern is on the home front.

“They’re a good football team, but right now it’s about us,” Tullos said. “Not that we’re not going to focus on Cinco, but we have to control ourselves first and do our job.

“Playing on Saturday…I do like it. It worked out good for us because we’re open the next week. We’ve got the typical bumps and bruises, but all in all, we’re pretty healthy.”

tdunnam@hcnonline.com