Believe it or not, The Pearland Oiler football program has not always been a juggernaut.
There was a time, when Pearland went years without winning a single game! Hard to imagine, right? Tony Heath and his regime showed up on campus in the Spring of 1997 and they brought with them something that the football program knew little about; a winning culture. Before The Rig was The Rig, and long before The Oilers would share a stadium with powerhouse Dawson, it was simply an auxiliary field. A field where sub-varsity football games took place during the week and small aluminum stands held the handful of parents in attendance.
Tony Heath was taking over a program that for decades was the homecoming rival of nearly every opponent. The 1997 season started off slow and typical for Pearland, but exciting things were on the horizon as Coach Heath called up freshman running back, Anthony Evans. Anthony was the younger brother of former Oiler standouts Shone Evans and Dwayne Evans and football ran deep in his blood!
It was mid-October and The Oilers were still winless, when Pearland hosted Pasadena and Evans rushed for 178 yards with 3 touchdowns as Pearland won 24-13 ending a 23 game losing streak. Being the only freshman to play on varsity, Anthony garnered the nickname “Pup” from the upper classmen.
Pup went on to lead Pearland to its first playoff appearance in years, despite finishing 2-8 on the season. The next three seasons would create the beginning of one of the greatest turnarounds in Texas high school football history. Pup rushed for over 6,000 yards in his career at Pearland, scored 66 touchdowns and was twice awarded All-State honors. In 2002, the season after Pup graduated, the little auxiliary field at Pearland High School became a 9200 seat stadium known as, The Rig. Evans success in the backfield was the beginning of a system implemented by the great football minds of coaches Tony Heath and Eric Wells. Their philosophy, along with the talented Evans paved the way for a legacy of dynamic running backs to carry the ball for the Oilers, including Brandon Roberson, Fozzy Whittaker, Casey Carrier and Dustin Garrison.
Evans went on to play at the University of Houston and helped get that program turned around under Head Coach Art Briles. Pup’s college career was hampered with a calf injury, but he still managed to end up with the 6th most rushing yards in U of H history with 2115 yards.
Pup graduated from The University of Houston with a degree in Communications and was a graduate assistant coach under Head Coach Kevin Sumlin before coaching at Texas City High School and Clear Falls High School.
He is currently the Offensive Coordinator at Dobie High School under Head Coach Mike Norman where he continues to exhibit his football talents.
He and his wife Heather have 3 daughters and reside in Santa Fe, Tx.
Anthony is the inaugural member of the PearlandSports.Com Hall of Champions.
Story By: Justin Hart
Photo Credit : The Evans Family