BEAUMONT — Being in the playoffs can mean that very good teams go home too early, and that sometimes the toughest matchup a team has before the regional finals will be in bidistrict.
At least the Nederland Bulldogs will get to renew a great rivalry with Dayton in the Class 4A Division I bidistrict round today. Otherwise, a very good team that could play for a while will be going home disappointed from Lamar University’s Provost-Umphrey Stadium.
This 18th meeting between Nederland and Dayton, in a series that stretches back to 1930, is arguably the best first-round matchup in all of 4A. The No. 5 ranked Bulldogs lead the series 11-6 and have won all three bidistrict meetings with the No. 15 Broncos. The teams first met in the playoffs in 1942 when the Bulldogs won 25-13, after beating Dayton 14-0 in the regular season that year.
Nederland also won 31-0 in 1997 in bidistrict play and beat Dayton 49-14 in bidistrict play in 2004. The 35 point margin of victory in 2004 matched the biggest all-time in the series for Nederland, but Dayton owns both the most points scored and the biggest margin of victory, having beaten Nederland 66-0 in 1930 and 63-0 in 2007.
“I gave our team a brief history of games we’ve had with them,” Neumann said. “We talked about the scrimmages the past two years and really what I was trying to get them to understand is that, even though Dayton got beat pretty good the other night, they’ve handled us physically very well in the past.
“I can see a Dayton team playing us with redemption in their hearts, playing a team in us that they think they can beat. They’re not going to be intimidated to play the Nederland Bulldogs, no matter how well we’ve played this year.”
The Broncos are 2-2 in games with the Bulldogs since 2001 and are on a two-game winning streak in the series. They’re also on a nice run of both making the playoffs and winning in the bidistrict round. This year marks the 15th straight that Dayton has made the playoffs and the Broncos have not lost in bidistrict play since 2005 when Beaumont Ozen tripped them up
“There’s some added pressure from what’s been done by previous teams, but it also comes with expectations,” second-year Dayton head coach Jowell Hancock said. “Our goal has been to keep winning and to play in December. We finished the regular season on a sad note, but we’re looking forward to the playoffs.
“Everyone is 0-0 now and everyone is good in the playoffs. You can‘t take a week off now, and we don’t intend to. Our staffs may know each other, but for the kids it’s not who you play, it’s how well you play on the day of the game.”
This year’s teams have already played once, with Nederland ending up on the short side of a 31-14 scrimmage, with Dayton just before the season started. It’s the second straight year Nederland has played Dayton in a scrimmage, so the players have some familiarity with the system the Broncos will run.
That comes in handy against a tough Dayton defense that has allowed just 11 points per game this season and led District 19-4A with just 204 yards allowed per game. One of the reasons that Dayton plays so tough is how it jumps around on defense. Nose tackle Charles Tousant moves all over the line before and after the ball is snapped to confuse the offensive line.
“Their defense is set to confuse you,” Neumann said. “They have eight defenders in the secondary, and they run downhill as soon as the ball is snapped. We have to run the ball, but we’re also going to have to pass the ball offensively to keep them honest.
“Their three down lineman are more like linebackers. We have to be real sound in keeping penetration out of our backfield. Their nose tackle is like a linebacker. He’ll play nose and defensive end on the same play. It’s like a shell game.”
On offense, Dayton lost three-year starter Andres Herrera at quarterback, after he threw for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. In his place, the Broncos turned to Markain Chambers, who was Herrera’s backup a season ago, but also played both wide receiver and cornerback for the Broncos.
The transition hasn’t been easy for Chambers, but he’s capably led the Dayton offense to a 9-1 record and given the defense plenty of help in winning games.
“We graduated a three-year starter, who brought a lot of experience to the table,” Hancock said. “(Chambers) wasn’t new, but it was a new position to him. He had to work at it. It was different being the starter and not just the backup, because it falls on you now. We had to fight through some adversity as a team, but we never talked about it. We just put our heads down and plowed forward.”
For Dayton, the matchup against Nederland will mean keeping the Bulldogs from controlling the clock. Nederland plays to a ball-control style with a solid running game and a very stout defensive line.
“They’ve gone back to the things they’ve done in the past,” Hancock said. “They run more tight ends and fullbacks in their sets. They’ve got a great defensive line with a lot of size right there. They’re going to try and control the ball and play good defense, much like ourselves.”
Dayton vs. Nederland
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lamar’s Provost-Umphrey Stadium
Records: Nederland (9-1); Dayton (9-1)
Last meeting: Dayton 63-0, 2007
Series: Nederland leads 11-6
Radio: KLVI AM 560, legacysportsnetwork.com
Nederland capsule: Saturday’s matchup will be the third time in two seasons that Nederland has played at Provost-Umphrey Stadium. The Bulldogs won both of their games at Lamar’s stadium last season, beating West Orange-Stark 21-20 to open the season and Goose Creek Memorial in bidistrict play 24-6. … Last year, Nederland snapped a two-game losing streak in the bidistrict round of the playoffs. In both 2010 and 2009, Nederland lost to Crosby to end the season. … Bulldog runner Kendrick Hopkins needs 149 yards to top 1,500 this season. No Nederland runner has reached that mark since Wareall Grogan ran for 1,595 yards in 2008. … Hopkins could become the fifth player in head coach Larry Neumann’s 20 years with the Bulldogs to top 1,500 rushing yards. Grogan was the most recent, but Micah Moseley had 2,462 yards in 2006, Ross LaBove had 1,897 yards in 1999 and Troy Sumrall had 1,601 yards in 1997. First-year Nederland assistant coach Farris Paddio came within two yards of joining the club in 1998 with 1,498 yards. …The Bulldogs will make a change on the offensive line for Saturday’s game. Sophomore guard Logan Albritton hurt his knee this week in practice and will miss this week’s game. Senior defensive tackle Brock Pryor will replace him and play both ways against Dayton. Though Pryor has started on defense for three seasons, he is being recruited by schools as an offensive lineman.
Dayton capsule: The Broncos finished the season 9-1 under head coach Jowell Hancock. The only loss Dayton suffered this season was in Week 10 to Humble Summer Creek. … The Broncos are making their 15th straight appearance in the playoffs. The last time they missed the postseason was in 1997 and the last time Dayton lost a first-round playoff game was in 2005 to Beaumont Ozen. … Last season, Dayton beat Port Neches-Groves in bidistrict play 36-31 and Magnolia West 41-23 in the area round before falling to Manvel 49-10. … Quarterback Markain Chambers has led the way this year for the Broncos, passing for 1,004 yards and 12 TDs, with just one interception. …Running back Kyle McBridge was 10th in 19-4A in rushing yards with 568 and eight TDs. …The Broncos finished fourth in 19-4A in total offense, averaging 331 yards per game. Defensively, Dayton led the district with 204 yards allowed in nine games. The Broncos led the district defensively in both rushing yards allowed and passing yards allowed. … Kicker Juan Carranco followed up an excellent 2011 season that saw him as an all-state player with a great 2012. The senior made 41 PATs and five field goals in Dayton’s 10 games this season. He now has 337 career points with the Broncos.
QB – Carson Raines (18)
RB – Kendrick Hopkins (24)
RB – Marcus Barton (3)
WR – Michael Shaw (2)
WR – Seth Barrow (4)
WR – Colton Kimler (9)
OL – Justin Byrd (69)
OL – Jacob Brinkley (66)
OL – Cole Brown (62)
OL – Brock Pryor (55)
OL – Dannis Latiolais (63)
DE – De Shawn Washington (90)
DT – Caleb Malveaux (49)
DT – Brock Pryor (55)
DE – Koby Couron (92)
LB – Jordan Wood (25)
LB – Korbin Stampley (33)
CB – Zach Taylor (11)
S – Sage Seay (10)
S – Colton Kimler (9)
S – Bryce Whaley (8)
CB – Seth Barrow (4)
QB – Markain Chambers (10)
WR – Isaiah Chambers (12)
WR – Landin Tamlin (5)
WR – Jacarius Keener (20)
RB – Lucius Rhone (28)
RB – Ryan McBride (15)
OL – Jordon Trahan (62)
OL – Matthew Oubre (74)
OL – Jeremy Smith (50)
OL – Jacob Butterfield (64)
OL – Ashton Swayzer (55)
DE – Toney Robinson (1)
NT – Charles Tousant (60)
DE – Donovan Jackson (6)
LB – Daniel Douglas (34)
LB – Justin Campbell (32)
LB – Jacob Bethea (21)
CB – Kyle McBride (18)
S – Ryan McBride (15)
S – Casey Skrabanek (24)
S – Brandon McBride (9)
CB – Jacarius Keener (20)