It all starts up front.
The Nederland defensive line has been a big part of the team’s success this season. Junior defensive end Koby Couron has helped that process go even smoother, starting for his second season with the varsity.
Couron was at his best last week in Nederland’s 21-14 overtimE victory over Houston Stratford. The 6-foot-2, 225 pounder made 11 tackles, including two for a loss, with two sacks and a forced fumble.
“He’s such a steady performer,” Nederland head coach Larry Neumann said. “Production out of a player like (Couron) doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet. Against Stratford, his performance was out of character in the best of ways. He had some opportunities and capitalized on them.”
One of Couron’s favorite moments this season came against Stratford, when one of his hits on Spartan quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe forced the QB from the game.
“I guess it was when I put out the quarterback last game,” Couron said. “It wasn’t a sack, but he just turned. It was a hurry. I don’t know what I did, but I did something to his hand. He didn’t come back.”
The junior doesn’t have flashy statistics this season, partly because of the role he plays on the line. As the strongside defensive end, he’s usually trying to take on two or three blockers and free up other players to make plays.
“His position dictates an unselfishness,” Neumann said. “He has to take out blockers against the run for us to be successful. But, at the same time, if we’re giving up our defensive end for just one blocker, we’re going to be in trouble. He’s got a great attitude and really accepted his role in the defense.”
Not many teams have the kind of size Nederland does at DE. Senior Corbin Carr, who plays on the weak side, is 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds. Couron’s size gives the coaching staff the ability to mix and match the two, maximizing both player’s impact.
“It all starts with (defensive line) coach (Reed) Lowrance,” Couron said. “He’s done a great job coaching us. We can probably play everyone’s position if someone goes down.”
Things haven’t been easy this season for Couron, who suffered a separated shoulder against Port Neches-Groves. The junior has been dealing with pain since, but has done a great job of playing through the injury.
“Courageous is the word I’d use to describe it,” Neumann said. “Every player has a different pain tolerance and threshold to play, which is entirely subjective from case to case. We talk all the time about not just playing through injuries, but not coming back until they can be productive playing through the injury.
“He has been very productive over the last few games, even though I know that shoulder has been painful for him. Our training staff has also done a great job helping him through it.”
Part of that help has come from the Nederland training staff who have rigged up a support for the shoulder that helps dampen the impact his shoulder takes .
“I don’t really think about it in the games,” Couron said. “But, the day after I come to treatment and I’m pretty sore. Coach Lowrance was telling me I wasn’t using my hands as well (when I came back). The training staff built a bump for my shoulder, so when it gets hit, I can’t feel it. It absorbs the hit all around the bump. It works really good.”
For now, Couron is focused on finishing this season strong, but he’s also taking some of the lessons from seniors like Carr and filing them away for next season.
“Corbin Carr is a very good leader,” Couron said. “He’s taught me a lot of stuff this season. Right now, we’re focused on the playoffs and hoping to get another win and keep playing.”
BULLDOG BITES: Couron is the son of Kevin and Barbara Couron. … With the victory over Stratford, Nederland HAS won 11 games for the first time since 2001. If they can beat Pearland Dawson, the Bulldogs will have the most single-season wins since 1957, when Nederland went 14-0 under Emmett McKenzie and won the Class 3A state title with a 20-7 victory over Sweetwater…. Though both teams need to win this week, there is a chance Nederland could get its second rematch of the postseason, this time against Vidor. It was a 22-19 victory over Vidor to begin district play that kicked off Nederland’s current nine-game winning streak. … The Bulldogs have allowed just 11.3 points per game in their last three. For the season, Nederland’s defense is giving up just 15.1 points per game. … With school out this week, Nederland’s practice schedule has been a little different than usual. The team plans on practicing on Thanksgiving Day in the morning at Bulldog Stadium.
It all starts up front.
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