ARLINGTON – They were doubted from the very beginning.
No one is questioning the Pearland Oilers anymore.
In front of 43,321 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Pearland shocked the number one ranked Euless Trinity Trojans, 28-24, to win the Class 5A, Division 1 state championship at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Running back Dustin Garrison carried the ball 28 times, ran for 124 yards, scored 3 touchdowns and broke up a Euless Trinity pass in the final seconds that would have given the Trojans the victory.
"It’s just a great feeling to be out here, we’re number one everybody doubted us the whole year and to be state champions is just a blessing," said Garrison.
Coming into the game, defending champion Trinity was ranked number one in the nation on several polls and the Trojans started like as advertised. On their first drive, Tevin Williams leaped over a defender and galloped 55 yards to give Trinity a 7-0 lead.
After several three and outs, it looked like the Oilers would be over –matched.
But like they proved many times before, this group was not to be denied.
In the second quarter, Pearland scored 14 points, both touchdowns coming on Garrison runs, and the Oilers led 14-10 at the half.
The play of the game came in the third quarter. With just over 6 minutes left, Pearland made it seem like they were getting a play from the sideline. As they looked over, the whistle blew and center Derek Hoffpauir snapped the ball to quarterback Trey Anderson who found Samuel Ukwuachu for a 54-yard touchdown giving the Oilers a 21-10 lead.
It was a trick play they had in their playbook all season.
"We run it a couple of times in practice, but honestly I had no idea what to expect," said Anderson. "I saw him (Ukwuachu) one on one and I will take that any day."
Anderson was 17 of 23 for 202 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 4 times for 38 yards.
After Trinity cut the lead to 21-17, Pearland went on a long drive that ended in a Garrison 2-yard touchdown run to put the Oilers up 28-17.
Trinity got within four at 28-24 and got the ball back, but with seconds left in the game, Garrison tipped a pass intended for Trojan star Brandon Carter and the ball fell incomplete.
"It’s really special because I don’t think anyone expected Pearland to be here," said head coach Tony Heath. "We went undefeated, we’re not only state champions, but we’re perfect state champions and nobody can ever do better than a perfect 16-0."
"I picture all the hard work we put into this and to see it finally pay-off, it’s an unbelievable feeling," said Anderson.
This was the first ever appearance in the state football title game for the Oilers and their first state football championship.