The Port Arthur News
NEDERLAND — Colton Kimler is a smart football player.
He should be by now after starting for Larry Neumann’s Nederland Bulldogs for three seasons. Kimler has pretty much seen it all and done it all as a receiver/safety.
Kimler’s performance this past Friday was one history books will have to mark in stone because it may never have another entry like what No. 9 put up.
He caught five passes for 128 yards — a couple of them with one hand — and displayed great concentration and focus. He also had more than a few drive-changing tackles on both defense and special teams. There were at least two which prevented the Jaguars from scoring, according to Neumann.
Oh, and it’s impossible to overlook the fact Kimler had a remarkable four interceptions in the Bulldogs 21-7 win that clinched an outright District 20-4A championship and was the Bulldogs 24th straight district victory. One of the four was a 15-yard pick six that boosted Nederland’s lead to 14-0
Even though it was Kimler who shined the brightest, by Monday afternoon the senior was tired of seeing his name splashed all over the news, and having to talk about his incredible performance.
Kimler is wise enough to realize why everyone wants a piece of his time since Friday but it doesn’t mean he seeks the attention.
“I hate to take the full spotlight,” Kimler said. “The football team deserves the spotlight. It was a great team win. We played great on defense, our offense was clicking and we did great on special teams.”
Kimler’s fame has not been exclusive to just local media. Kimler said Bulldogs fans have stopped him all weekend to congratulate him on his game and the Bulldogs season.
“The Nederland all-timers recognize you and compliment you on the game,” Kimler said. “It is not just parents of the team or parents of the band, it is the entire community of Nederland. It is great crowd support and we appreciate it as a team.”
Kimler said Friday was just his time to shine on the field. He said each player on the Nederland roster has the ability to be the one with his name in the headlines in a given week.
“It is a surreal feeling,” Kimler said of his game against Central. “It really is crazy. Every one of our players handles the spotlight in a great way because each week it seems to be someone different. Against PN-G, it was Sage Seay and against Beaumont Ozen it was DeShawn Washington. Every week someone is going to step up. I could have zero yards receving but if we win I am happy. That is all that is important to me and that is what is important to every other player on this team.”
Kimler’s first interception came with a little help from Austin Krautz who tipped the ball into the air before it landed in Kimler’s hands. The interesting fact was Krautz was Kimler’s “little brother” in the offseason. The team pairs up players in the offseason, young and older, to help the underclassmen get adjusted to the varsity level. Krautz missed a chunk of the season with an leg injury but returned two weeks ago.
“I really hated when Austin went down with injury,” Kimler said. “We are all glad to have him back. He will be a great football player. I made sure to tell him thank you for that tip. It was a huge play.”
Neumann called Kimler’s performance a career night and a game that was special to sit back and watch in person and on film.
“It was not hard to hear his number on Friday night being called,” Neumann said. “I wish I was surprised by it but Colton is able to have those kind of games every game. He expects it of himself. When there is a lot at stake, Colton seems to play extremely well. His history shows that. He might not want the spotlight but it has a way of finding him. If his high school career is peaking, it is at the right time.”
Bulldog Bites: Kimler and the Bulldogs will face Kingwood Park at 2 p.m. Saturday at Beaumont’s Thomas Center...Kimler is now No. 4 in 20-4A with 34 receptions for 744 yards and nine touchdowns. He averages 21.88 yards per catch...Kimler now has five interceptions on the season, after having seven as a junior when he was placed on the 4A All-State team.