It certainly wasn’t the way Nederland head coach Larry Neumann and his Bulldogs wanted to see their season end. The tears and looks of disappointment were evident on many of the Bulldogs players, but although he was certainly disappointed, it was hard to tell by looking at the smile on Neumann’s face.
“They’re disappointed and they should be, but I couldn’t be more proud of the courage and determination of a group of young men,” said Neumann, after the Bulldogs were eliminated from the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs by Georgetown, 38-6. “So many players have given so much of themselves tonight and through the year to get to this point. They played hard and worked hard and this is the best team I’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Quarterback Jake Hubenak passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns and Brent Ellerbee passed for a third score Saturday as the Eagles, champions of District 17-4A, improved to 14-0 and earned the right to play the winner of the Corpus Christi Flour Bluff and Leander Rouse game.
For Nederland, quarterback Carson Raines completed 20 of 35 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted three times, including one that was returned 61-yards for a touchdown. The Bulldogs leading rusher, Kendrick Hopkins, was limited to 24 yards on eight carries.
Neumann refused to blame the turnovers.
“This is playoff football,” Neumann said. “These kids on both sides play hard and things like that are going to happen. That’s just the way it goes.”
The potent Eagles offense, which was held in check by the Dawg defense in the first half, found itself in the second half. Georgetown marched 90 yards on their first possession of the third quarter, aided by two personal foul penalties against Nederland. Hubenak connected with Noah Douglas on a six-yard touchdown pass that made it 24-0.
The next time Georgetown had the ball, it marched 75 yards to the end zone, with Tyler Moody scoring on a 38 yard run. Then, on Nederland’s first play after the kickoff, Raines was intercepted by Kolton Hoehn, who returned the ball 30 yards to the 13. Georgetown scored on the next play on a lateral to Ellerbee, who passed to Randy Knightner for a touchdown that made it 38-0 with 37 seconds left in the third quarter.
Nederland finally put a dent in the scoreboard with 1:37 left in the game after a 15-yard pass from Raines to Zach Taylor. The two point conversion failed and the score was 38-6.
“It hurts now, and that’s just the way it goes,” Neumann said. “But these kids have accomplished so much. Some young players got some experience and this will give us a great start for next year.”
The Big Ned defense held the potent Georgetown offense in check for the first quarter. Late in the quarter, Nederland was flagged for a facemask personal foul after a 17 yard run by Knightner that moved the ball to the Bulldog 13. But the defense forced three incomplete passes and Georgetown settled for a 31-yard field goal by Austin Stevens for a 3-0 lead three plays into the second quarter.
“That’s a fine football team over there,” Neumann said. “We knew that they’d be difficult to beat. They’re deep, disciplined and well-coached and we knew that it would be very difficult to contain them.”
Nederland had some momentum with a couple of first downs and moved into Eagle territory for the first time in the game. On second and 8 from the Georgetown 34, the Eagles’ Brandon Boone stepped in front of a Raines pass intended for Colton Kilmer and returned the interception 61 yards for a touchdown that increased the Georgetown lead to 10-0.
Georgetown followed up by marching 80 yards in nine plays, with Hubenak connecting on a ten-yard scoring strike to Knightner with 3:31 with 3:31 left in the half for a 17-0 Eagles’ lead.
Raines was sacked and fumbled on Nederland’s next possession and Georgetown had great field position at the Nederland 27. But Georgetown had a holding penalty and the Bulldog defense stiffened again and several Dogs combined on a sack for a loss of 8, and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs.
4A DIVISION 1 QUARTERFINALS
Georgetown 38, Nederland 6
Nederland 0 0 0 6 — 6
Georgetown 0 17 21 0 — 38
GTN – FG Austin Stevens 31, 11:48, 2nd
GTN – Brandon Boone 61 interception return (Stevens kick) 8:48, 2nd
GTN – Randy Knightner 10 pass from Jake Hubenak (Stevens kick) 3:31, 2nd.
GTN – Noah Douglas 6 pass from Hubenak (Stevens kick) 4:28, 3rd.
GTN – Tyler Moody 23 run (Stevens kick) 1:00, 3rd.
GTN – Knightner 13 pass from Brent Ellerbee (Steven kick) 0:37, 3rd.
Nederland – Zach Taylor 15 pass from Carson Raines (run failed) 1:37, 4th.
First downs 16 24
Rushes-yards 26-58 27-98
Passing yards 183 281
Total yards 241 379
Passes 20-35-3 25-46-2
Punts 7-36.6 4-28.8
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 7-84 8-90
Rushing — Nederland: Kendrick Hopkins 8-24, Carson Raines 10-(-19), Brandon Dial 4-22, Zach Taylor 3-15, Michael Shaw 1-16; Georgetown: Jake Hubenak 8-19, Tyler Moody 9-60, Austin Weston 3-1, Randy Knightner 2-17, Brent Ellerbee 1-4, Ryan Bedford 1-(-7), Mookie Walton 3-4.
Passing — Nederland: Carson Raines 20-35-3; Georgetown–Jake Hubenak 23-43-2, Brent Ellerbee 2-1-0, Randy Knightner 0-1-0, Trey Hicks 1-1-0.
Receiving — Nederland: Michael Shaw 7-46, Colton Kimler 5-75, Brandon Dial 2-16, Brandon Self 3-10, Tyler Spell 1-10, Zach Taylor 1-15, Beau Stewart 1-11; Georgetown – Austin Weston 7-58, Tyler Moody 2-40, Ryan Bedford 4-66, Noah Douglas 3-16, Randy Knightner 8-85, Matt Sanchez 1-15.