Strake Jesuit upends Dawson, 55-32

Liam Smith ’20

Pearland’s Dawson High School, the favorite to win the district championship in football this year, lost heavily to Strake Jesuit Friday, September 28, 55-32. With this victory, the Fighting Crusaders cruised to a 4-0 start under first-year head coach Klay Kubiak.

Dawson led their pregame with swagger; with occasional chants, the team acted like a veteran who had earned his stripes. No wonder they were favorites to win the district.

However, the Fighting Crusaders struck fast with Dylan Campbell’s 60 yard touchdown rush, beating out two safeties. Dawson’s first drive ended with an interception by Jack Pittenger. After a graceful 45 yard completion to a wide open Caleb Crawford, Strake Jesuit ended their drive with a satisfying 1-yard TD gut punch.

Dawson came back with a swift 8 point retaliation, but it was Nathaniel Beal’s 40 yard touchdown catch that really spelled out the game. Hansen dropped back (whenever he does, it’s a dime for either 10+ yards or a touchdown) off play-action, and he found Beal gliding down the field. He connected his 6’5’’ target with ease, and Beal overpowered the shorter and leaner cornerback for the score.

Yes, overpower seems the appropriate term for Jesuit, which plays offense with impressive physicality. Their scheme has yielded 30 carries a game split by a two-headed monster in the backfield. One play, the opposing defense has to run from side to side hoping to contain Michael Wiley. The next play, Strake bulldozes through with big Dylan Campbell. And just when you think you want to throw your whole defense at these two, you get burned by a rolling out Michael Hansen as he lobs another 40 yard dime to either megatron Nathaniel Beal, or goliath Thomas Gordon at tight end.

Meanwhile, our defense had two interceptions in the first half (the other owned by Christian Gordon). They’re swift and disruptive with their turnovers.

They are also well coordinated under Coach Fikac, who commented, “The first and second half were night and day. After that bye week, we just needed to get back to the speed and physicality of the game. Dawson was a really good team; we had to match and overcome their physical nature throughout the game. But our main strength that game was how we played as a unit. There wasn’t a lot of pressure on just a few guys to make plays because everyone pitched in and had each other’s backs.”

With every school in our district running a spread offense, the main element to look for in coming games is how our defense pressures the quarterback. With only three defensive linemen, the Crusaders will adjust what reinforcements they send from the linebacking and defensive backing corps respectively. More pressure on the quarterback will in turn help the pass coverage and add a sense of balance to the defense.