The Port Arthur News
Coach Larry Neumann and his Bulldogs will get the revenge game Nederland has wanted ever since last year’s Class 4A Regional Finals.
First, the Bulldogs took down Kingwood Park 28-7 Saturday with a suffocating defense that limited the Panthers to 124 yards and seven first downs.
Now Nederland will face Georgetown in the Area Round next weekend. Georgetown eliminated Nederland last year in the Regional Finals, 38-6. The two teams are slated to play at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bowers Stadium on the campus of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville.
“You always want to play the team who beat you last,” Nederland running back Kendrick Hopkins said. “We remember last year real well.”
The Bulldogs were monsters on defense again Saturday against the Panthers. Kingwood Park rushed for 82 yards and passed for 42. Kingwood Park’s dual-threat quarterback Jaylon Henderson was held to 69 yards on 24 carries. He entered the game with 967 rushing yards.
Once again Colton Kimler seemed to be everywhere in the secondary. He had two interceptions Saturday to up his total to six interceptions in the last two games. Kimler had four interceptions in the Bulldogs final District 20-4A game against Beaumont Central.
“We have been here before,” Kimler said. “We know what it takes to get to this round. We don’t look ahead or look past any opponent. Kingwood Park was a very physical team. They played hard to the last snap. I give them a lot of credit.”
Neumann was once again impressed with his All-State safety.
“Colton is a ball hog,” Neumann said. “He understands routes and being a receiver he has an insight to what players might try to do against him on defense. It is not an accident Colton is starting to put on a show.”
Kingwood Park’s offense was no match for a Nederland defense that showcased a line which powered past the Panthers offensive line. Caleb Malveaux, DeShawn Washington, Beau Stewart and Connor Hughes spent a lot of time in the Panthers backfield.
“That is the same stuff we have been doing all year long,” Neumann said. “Those guys are really playing at a high level right now.”
Sage Seay had an interception and a sack for the Bulldogs.
While the defense was bullying the Panthers, the Bulldogs offense was slow to get moving in the first half.
Nederland finished with only 207 yards, with 62 on the ground and 145 in the air.
Preston White was 13-for-19 for 145 yards. Seay had four receptions for 50 yards while Kimler had four catches for 47 yards.
Hopkins was held in check by a very physical Panthers defense, managing a season-low 27 yards on 15 carries. He did score the Bulldogs first two touchdowns, on runs of two and nine yards in the second quarter, but was sidelined for several plays due to a reoccurring ankle injury.
Neumann said the most impressive park of Hopkins career has been the fact the runner has played with a variety of injuries.
“Not many people know that about him,” Neumann said. “He plays hurt or a little banged up and has had an excellent career in the process.”
Hopkins is expected to be ready to go against Georgetown.
Austin Krautz made it 21-0 on the Bulldogs first possession of the second half off a 30-yard touchdown scamper.
The two teams traded punts before Seay was able to come away with his interception.
Nederland was set up on its 5-yard line and Neumann decided to throw a wrinkle in the offensive plans.
White dropped back to pass but instead of Seay and Kimler in the end zone running to get open, it was Malveaux and Washington.
White threw a pass just over Malveaux’s helmet and Washington, with his 6-foot, 3-inch and 285-pound frame, had to outleap defenders to come down with the touchdown reception.
“We work on that play but in practice we throw the ball a little higher so that DeShawn doesn’t have to outjump defenders,” Neumann said. “It worked for six though today.”
Kingwood Park finally got on the board with 2:15 left in the game as backup quarterback Zach Prucell hit Joey Chapman for a 13-yard touchdown.
NEDERLAND 28, KINGWOOD PARK 7
KP 0 0 0 7 — 7
NED 0 14 14 0 — 28
NED: Kendrick Hopkins 2 run. Tanner Noel kick.
NED: Hopkins 9 run. Noel kick.
NED: Austin Krautz 30 run. Noel kick.
NED: DeShawn Washington 5 pass from Preston White. Noel kick.
KP: Joey Chapman 13 pass from Zach Prucell. Caleb Lewallen kick.
First downs 7 13
Rushes-yards 31-82 38-62
Passing 42 145
Total 124 207
Comp-Att-Int 5-14-3 13-19-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 5-35 3-30
Punts-avg. 6-42.3 7-36.4
Rushing: KP: Jaylon Henderson 24-69, Carveon Bluiett 3-14, Matthew Reyna 4-(-1). NED: Austin Krautz 2-30, Kendrick Hopkins 15-27, Jordan Noel 6-17, Brandon Dial 3-8, Bret Smith 1-5, Caleb Malveaux 1-2, Marcus Barton 6-0, Preston White 4-(-27).
Passing: KP: Zach Purcell 2-3-0 27, Henderson 3-11-3 15. NED: White 13-19-0 145.
Receiving: KP: Joey Chapman 2-9, Reyna 1-14, Zach Lively 1-11, Carveon Bluiett 1-8. NED: Sage Seay 4-50, Colton Kimler 4-47, Barton 2-26, Hopkins 1-9, Krautz 1-8, DeShawn Washington 1-5.