McDowell, Morkovsky lead Pearland past Alief Hastings 44-27

DEPENDABLE KICKER - Pearland senior kicker Jackson Stagg puts up a 32-yard field goal for three-points vs Alief Hastings. Stagg went 5-for-6 on point-after attempts as well. His eight-point total for the night moved him into first place all-time on the Oiler kicker scoring list with a career total of 177 points scored. Stagg will get a chance to add to his total in Round One of the playoffs vs Dickinson on Friday, November 10 at Sam Vitanza Stadium. [Photo by Lloyd Hendricks]

Pearland entered the final game of the regular season needing a win to finish in a three-way tie for the District 23-6A crown. The Oilers knocked off the Alief Hastings Bears 44-27 to finish the 2023 football campaign with an 8-2 mark and 6-1 in the league standings with Dawson and Shadow Creek.

The game also saw junior running back LaDamion McDowell break the single-game scoring record with five touchdowns (3 rushing, 2 receiving). Multiple players had scored four TDs in a single game in Pearland’s rich history, but McDowell has now placed his name on top of the number of TDs in a single game with five.

The speedster had his best game in a Pearland jersey as he rushed for 242 yards on 21 carries and three TDs while grabbing three passes for 112 yards and two more scores. McDowell finished the game with 354 total yards and five scores.

However, McDowell wasn’t the only star of the game as senior QB Cole Morkovsky put up saw eye-popping numbers as well as he was 17-of-25 passing for 266 yards and three touchdowns.

All total, the Oilers had 524 total yards while limiting the Bears to 283 total yards (234 rushing, 49 passing) and four TDs,

It was a shaky start for the Oilers at the beginning of the game as the Bears were 2-7 entering the district contest and out of the playoff picture so they had everything to gain and nothing to lose. And that’s the way they began the game.

Hastings jumped out to an early 14-0 lead as they scored on back-to-back possessions with two 1-yard scoring runs with 8:40 left in the first quarter and then at the 5:21 mark of the first period.

But Pearland answered on the next possession as McDowell got loose on an 80-yard scoring jaunt with 4:57 left in the first quarter to close the gap to 14-7 following the PAT by Jackson Stagg.

With :25 seconds left in the opening frame; Stagg hit a 32-yard field goal to pull within 14-10.

Hastings would stretch the lead in the middle of the second quarter with a 53-yard scoring dash with 5:29 left before intermission to make the score 21-10.

But the Oilers would rally before halftime as Morkovsky hit McDowell on a 64-yard scoring pass to make the score 21-16 following the missed extra point.

With :34 left before intermission, Morkovsky tossed a 2-yard pass to junior tight end Logan Johnson to give the Oilers a 23-21 lead at halftime.

The second half was totally different as the Oilers re-grouped to outscore the home team 21-6 in the second half.

Morkovsky threw a 38-yard scoring strike to McDowell in the third quarter to make the score 31-21 with 3:37 left in the period.

Early in the fourth quarter, McDowell got loose on a 69-yard scoring dash at the 7:16 mark and then sealed the game with an 18-yard scoring run with 2:05 left in the game to make the final score 44-27.

Hastings did score on an 11-yard run with 3:26 left in the fourth which still left them short of the Oilers to finish 2-8 on the season.

Pearland (8-2) will travel to Sam Vitanza Stadium in Dickinson to face the Dickinson Gators (9-1) on Friday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m.