Gerry L. Dickert
The Port Arthur News
A week ago the Nederland Bulldogs clinched a spot in the Class 4A state playoffs. This week, they kept their relentless march to a second consecutive District 20-4A championship alive with their second consecutive shutout
The Bulldogs, who are now 6-0 in district play, have just the Central Jaguars standing in their way of another undefeated league title after rolling past Lumberton on Friday night 48-0 at Raiders Stadium. They’ve outscored Lumberton and Ozen the past two weeks, 83-0.
“Winning the district championship has been a goal of ours all year and we’re standing right here on the verge of seeing it happen,” said Nederland Coach Larry Neumann. “We have worked for this all season and we have a fine group of players who will be honored at Senior Night next week. They’ve worked for this and they deserve it.”
The Raiders, who are winless this season, struggled in spite of the Bulldogs lending a helping hand at several points in the first half. Nederland uncharacteristically fumbled away possession twice and racked up 55 yards of penalties on six flags in the first two quarters.
“When we went in at the half, we talked about cleaning it up and playing much better than we did in the first two quarters,” Coach Neumann said. “We had some changes in our offensive line and that might have attributed to a few of those flags. But you can’t blame that for the holding calls and some of the other mistakes we made.”
In spite of the miscues, Nederland still ran away with the game early … or, more precisely, Kendrick Hopkins ran away with the game. The junior running back finished with 171 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries, leading the Dogs as they collected 389 yards of total offense.
Hopkins’ touchdowns came on 14, 15 and 1 yard runs as he split the Lumberton defense, then sprinted his way through the Raiders secondary.
By the time the first quarter ended, the Bulldogs had the game well in hand, leading 28-0. After Hopkins scored the first two TDs of the game, quarterback Carson Raines threw a 34-yard touchdown strike to receiver Michael Shaw for a 21-0 advantage with 3 minutes left in the first quarter.
After the Nederland defense held on the next Lumberton possession, forcing a punt, Shaw found the end zone again on a 61-yard return for a score.
The Dogs came back out from the halftime break and played nearly flawless football, working the clock with an incessant running game that pounded the interior of the Raiders defense.
Nederland took the opening kickoff of the half and went 53 yards in just three plays -- all three runs by Hopkins -- with the final push a 1-yarder for the score.
After a Lumberton punt, the Dogs went to work again with Brandon Dial capping a four-play, 60-yard drive with a 3-yard spring into the end zone for a 41-0 lead with 6:36 left in the third quarter.
After another Lumberton punt, the Bulldogs orchestrated a clock-killing 13-play, 77-yard march that ended with Marcus Barton muscling his way into the end zone for the touchdown, accounting for the 48-0 final.
Barton finished the game with 12 carries for 56 yards while Dial collected 52 yards on five carries. Raines was 7 of 10 for 94 yards. His top receivers were Seth Barrow with three catches for 49 yards and Michael Shaw with 1 for 34.
The Raiders, who managed just 48 yards of total offense, were led by Dustin Ford with 25 yards on 8 carries.