PORT ARTHUR — Most of the Nederland defenders were victimized by Payton’s running style, including Pryor, who saw Payton run through one of his tackles in the second quarter. To counter Payton, Nederland resorted to sheer numbers.
If one Bulldog couldn’t bring him down, they sent two or three to do the job.
“We’re going to work on tackling and all that, but we’re in Week 13,” Neumann said. “I think we can tackle, we just ran into a really good runner tonight. If anything, it’ll make us concentrate on locking up a little bit better at this point in the season.”
Payton finished the game with 127 rushing yards on 22 carries, but had just one more run of 10 yards or more (5) than he did rushes for negative yardage (4). Also, the Bulldogs were able to hold him to one or fewer yards on nine carries.
If not for a 53-yard scamper on the first play of a drive in the third quarter, Payton may not have crossed the 100-yard mark for the game.
It was also another in a strong run of performances for the Nederland defense against top running backs. This season, Nederland has faced five backs who had at least 1,000 yards rushing. The Bulldogs held four of the five under their season average and all but LC-M’s Alex Sezer under 120 yards.
In their first game of the season, the Bulldogs held Crosby’s Austin Walter to just 58 yards. He would rush for an average of 178 yards per game in his next nine contests. Against District 20-4A’s leading rusher Montana Quirante, Nederland held him to just 113 yards. Quirante averaged 175 yards in his other nine games.
Beaumont Ozen’s Jakobi Jones was also held in check, gaining just 55 yards while he averaged 110 yards in his other nine games. The only back to really gash Nederland this year has been Texas A&M commit Sezer, who gained 178 yards on 27 carries. Sezer only averaged 124 yards in his other nine games.