PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

November 19, 2013

Mid-County Monsters

Gabriel Pruett
The Port Arthur News

NEDERLAND — Fans of Nederland football know the names Beau Stewart, Caleb Malveaux, Connor Hughes and DeShawn Washington.

 If opponents didn’t know the names before a game against the Bulldogs, they certainly know them after the final whistle.

 It will be a lot easier to remember “The Monsters of Mid County.”

 The Chicago Bears had the “The Monsters of the Midway” in the 1940s and 1980s. Both the San Diego Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams had defensive lines named “The Fearsome Foursome.” One of the best nicknames was the “Purple People Eaters”, given to the unit of the 1970s Minnesota Vikings.

 When longtime Nederland defensive coordinator Delbert Spell calls a defensive line “amazing,” the group is deserving of its own nickname.

 The nickname got the approval of all four players.

 “I like that,” Washington said.

 What Spell, Nederland fans and Coach Larry Neumann really like are the results these players are having on the football field.

 First, the Bulldogs have not lost since an opening week defeat to Crosby.

 Nederland went a perfect 7-0 in District 20-4A for the third year in a row and won its third straight outright district title.

 A lot of that success can be pointed right to “The Monsters of Mid County.”

 In the season’s first 10 games, the four standouts combined for 92 solo tackles, 88 assists, 19.5 sacks and an amazing 42 tackles for a loss.

 “Those are incredible numbers,” Spell said. “I could hardly believe them when I saw them. Those guys amaze me each week. We face some great offensive talent and those guys help our defense do some unbelievable things. It really is amazing. Those four play so hard and never take a play off.”

 Washington, who is headed to play for Texas A&M after graduation, owns six sacks, 15 tackles for a loss, 26 solo tackles and 30 assists. Malveaux, who will play for Lamar, has 4.5 sacks, 13 tackles for a loss, 29 solo tackles and 21 assists. Stewart has five sacks, nine tackles for a loss, 21 solo tackles and 23 assists. Hughes has four sacks, five tackles for a loss, 16 solo tackles and 14 assists.

 “The Monsters” say they didn’t get off to the greatest starts to the season. It took a little time to get going and to start dominating games the way they are these days.

 “Our success means a lot to us,” Hughes said. “It is a far change from where we started. We are playing much better together now.”

 Washington attributed the change to it taking time for the four players to start understanding exactly what each other was capable of doing each game.

 “It is all about practice,” Washington said. “Beau was converting from linebacker and this is Connor’s first year on varsity. It took time to gel and start playing together at this level.”

 Malveaux, Washington and Stewart are all seniors and finished their 20-4A careers without ever losing a district game. Malveaux thanked all the underclassmen for helping ensure the seniors left with positive memories. He also is ready to get revenge on Saturday’s opponent, the Georgetown Eagles.

 “I was real pleased with everyone’s effort this year,” Malveaux said. “Everyone stepped up and made sure we remained undefeated in 20-4A. This is a big game for us. Georgetown kept us from going where we wanted to go last year. Now we want to return that favor to them and make sure we stop them from reaching their goal.”

 This group of players seems to feed off each other very well as the games progress. It has also helped Hughes and Stewart when teams concentrate as much as they do on Malveaux and Washington.

 “We have each other’s backs,” Stewart said. “Those two guys push players to us and it is up to Connor and me to make a play. DeShawn moved to defensive tackle this year and I had to take his place. He is my go-to guy when I have a question and ask what he would do.”

 So how good can this defensive line, entire defense and Nederland team be? The answer was very simple for Washington to come up with.

 “In my opinion, we should have shut out Ozen, Central and Kingwood Park,” Washington said. “We can be as good as we allow ourselves to be. There is only one goal. We want to walk off the field in the year’s final game with a ring on our fingers. None of us will be satisfied with anything else. We have put in countless hours of work and it is time to make sure it pays off.”

 Three of the four Monsters gave three different answers on who they watch on Sundays to mirror their play after. Stewart admitted he does not watch college or NFL football.

 Malveaux went with Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions. It had nothing to do with Suh’s ability to rack up fines and penalties.

 “He is physical and he can dominate a game,” Malveaux said. “His motor never stops.”

 Hughes is a fan of J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans because “he has great hands, technique and he is so powerful.”

 Washington wants to mirror the play of former Houston Texans and current Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Mario Williams.

 “I watch him dominate tackles,” Washington said. “He is long and athletic.”

 The Bulldogs and Eagles will face off at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bowers Stadium in Huntsville on the campus of Sam Houston State University.

 Losing is not an option to “The Monsters of Mid County.”

 “We are going to make sure the state title game is our last stop,” Hughes said.

gpruett@panews.com

@PaNewsGabe