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Sports

October 26, 2013

Nederland's defense smothers Ozen

BEAUMONT — The 2013 edition of the Nederland Bulldogs is starting to rack up a nice assortment of numbers.

Friday night’s 27-14 victory over Beaumont Ozen was No. 22 in a row for the Bulldogs in District 20-4A play. It was career win No. 166 for Coach Larry Neumann and the 18th time his Bulldogs will play in the postseason in 21 years.

Nederland (7-1, 5-0) clinched a playoff spot for the sixth straight season and this win came on the back of a relentless defense.

The Bulldogs sacked Ozen quarterback Josh Boyd seven times and held the Panthers (2-6, 2-3) to 147 total yards.

Nederland’s defensive line, led by DeShawn Washington and Caleb Malveaux, was in the Ozen backfield a majority of the night. Washington finished with 3 1/2 sacks, Leon Mayfield had two, Malveaux finished with one and Connor Hughes added a half a sack.

“First, I have to thank God for this team and our success,” Malveaux said. “It feels great to keep our streak going and making sure that remains alive. We knew we had to come in with a high motor because of their speed. We wanted to get three-and-outs and it feels great to be able to do that.”

The Bulldogs defense was lights out in the first half.

Ozen was held to 54 yards in the first two quarters. The Panthers could only muster up four first downs in the first half, two coming off Nederland penalties.

While the Nederland defense was doing its job, the offense churned out 352 yards with Kendrick Hopkins leading the way.

Hopkins rushed for 143 yards and scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter. Hopkins now has 3,142 yards in his career. It is the second most yards for a Nederland running back in the last 30 years behind Micah Mosley.

“I am pleased with the entire team tonight,” Neumann said. “The first half was about as good as we have played in the last four or five games. That is a tribute to our team’s focus. Sometimes it can be scary coming off an emotional win like we had last week. We have run into that problem in the past but that was not the case tonight. Kendrick ran extremely well tonight and credit his blockers. He should be proud of his career mark.”

Nederland wasted no time getting on the board as Sage Seay hauled in a 25-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Preston White with 8:33 left in the first quarter.

Seay finished with a team-high four receptions for 72 yards. White ended the night 11-for-17 passing for 184 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions.

Tanner Noel proved why he is thought to be one of the top kickers in the area, booming field goals from 40 and 45 yards out. Noel did have a field goal blocked by Ozen standout Tony Brown.

Brown did not touch the ball on offense for the Panthers and was close to being beaten by Nederland receivers on a couple of passes. Both times the pass went incomplete, instead of going for a sure touchdown.

Ozen scored its first touchdown with 1:02 left in the game as a vast majority of Nederland defensive starters were standing on the sidelines.

After scoring to cut the lead to  27-7, Ozen recovered an onside kick. Four plays later Boyd found Rodney Gilder for a 19-yard touchdown reception.

“Our defense played inspired football tonight,” Neumann said. “Those guys on defense should probably feel like they did pull off a shutout. Guys like Beau Stewart, Connor Hughes and Mayfield also had great games.”

Nederland will be home next week for Parents Night against Lumberton before finishing the district schedule with a road trip to face Beaumont Central.

“We are going to take this win and move on,” Neumann said. “We cannot take any weeks off and will try to build off this victory.”

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