George Ranch Longhorns (4-5) at Pearland Oilers (7-2)
Friday, Nov. 8 — 7 p.m. — Pearland Stadium
The table is set in District 23-6A. Barring a major upset on Friday, Dawson will be the district champion with Strake Jesuit, George Ranch and Pearland also making the playoffs.
The future playoff routes for all teams are also set. Dawson and Pearland will enter the Division I playoffs as the No. 1 and 2 seeds respectively while Strake Jesuit and George Ranch will do the same in that order in Division II.
The only thing left for George Ranch is a game of pride and momentum. The Longhorns face former head coach Ricky Tullos and the Pearland Oilers for the second time Friday in Pearland at Pearland Stadium.
“We want a chance to go 5-5 in the regular season,” George Ranch head coach Nick Cavallo said. “We want to be 5-2 in the district. We still need to be 1-0 this week to accomplish that.
“Our goals we set out before the year are still attainable. We need to focus on the things we need to do fundamentally, tackling and communicating.”
The 2018 district champions have picked up two losses during district play but coach Cavallo isn’t seeing a step back by the Oilers.
“They were a team that was hit by the injury bug early on,” Cavallo said. “They are back healthy. Everyone played last week. They are a very talented group and the two teams they lost to were very good football teams. They are still tough to match up with.”
The biggest challenge for George Ranch will be stopping the Pearland offense because the Oilers enter the contest with the No. 1 offense in District 23-6A. Pearland is averaging 495.6 yards per game with a near-even run-pass split: 55 percent of the Oilers’ offensive yards have come on the ground.
Senior quarterback JD Head leads the district with 1,441 passing yards and 14 touchdowns against one interception on 59 percent passing (85x142). Head’s top target is senior Jeremiah Aaron, who has 30 catches for 656 yards and six touchdowns.
Pearland’s top rushers are junior Torrance Burgess (95 carries, 859 yards, 12 TDs) and junior Brandon Campbell (86 carries, 672 yards, 8 TDs).
The formula for success will be the same for the Longhorns against Pearland: control the tempo on defense and bend but don’t break on defense.
George Ranch has to get sophomore running back Hymond Drinkard going early. Drinkard is fourth in the district in rushing with 694 yards.