The Port Arthur News
Nederland celebrated its Homecoming in a big way Friday night by getting head coach Larry Neumann career win number 150 and extending its league winning streak to 12 games dating back to 2010.
The Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0) once again rode their defense to victory, holding Livingston (1-4, 1-1) to one score for a 23-7 win at Bulldog Stadium.
Neumann, now 150-75 after two decades at the helm of the Nederland program, gave credit to the entire community for his achievement.
“Quarterbacks and head coaches get a lot of credit both ways,” he said. “The truth of the matter is there are a lot of people who have been involved that create an atmosphere for success. We’ve been fortunate here in Nederland to have that.”
Win number 150 was a defensive slugfest for the first 30 minutes of game time, with six total turnovers during that span. Each team had three miscues mid-way through the third quarter, with near back-to-back-to-back fumbles to start the second half.
Tied at 7-7 entering the third quarter, Kendrick Hopkins bobbled the opening kickoff to put the Bulldogs inside the one-yard line. Hopkins quickly made up for his mistake with 46- and 22-yard runs to put Nederland inside enemy territory.
Bulldogs quarterback Carson Raines fumbled the snap the next play and Livingston’s Marquis Thomas recovered the loose ball. The Lions immediately returned the favor, however, as quarterback Chevoski Collins could not handle a high snap, and Nederland secured the turnover.
After two more runs by Hopkins, including a 13-yard scamper for a first down, a bad snap again cost the Bulldogs possession.
The turn of the game came four plays after a three-and-out by Livingston. In punt formation inside their own 20-yard line, the Lions snapped the ball over the head of the punter and past the endzone to give Nederland a safety.
The Bulldogs scored four minutes later on a trick play to take a 16-7 lead. Raines took the snap and tossed the ball out to receiver Michael Shaw on what seemed to be a screen play.
But Shaw pulled the ball down, set his feet, and found receiver Zach Taylor wide-open in the endzone for a 18-yard score.
“I don’t think we get any style points tonight,” Neumann said. “We did what we came to do, and that’s win.”
After another stalled drive by Livingston, Nederland got the ball back at the 50-yard line to start the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs took four minutes off the clock and scored the definitive touchdown on a seven-yard run by Hopkins, his first score of the season.
Hopkins carried the team the second half, rushing 19 times for 173 yards to finish with 206 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.
“When people start breathing hard and start extending themselves in the second half, he becomes more effective,” Neumann said. “He’s not going to run away from you but he will pound you. I think that becomes more effective as the night wears on.”
Livingston started the game quickly with a ten yard pass by Collins but stalled out near the 50-yard line. The teams traded three-and-outs twice, and Nederland finally made a first down before the first quarter closed.
The Bulldogs then hit their stride on offense, collecting three first downs en route to a 7-0 lead on a 20-yard run by Shaw. Livingston tied the game in a flash on its next play from scrimmage with a 67-yard run by Damion Collins.
The Lions got the ball back less than 30 seconds later after intercepting a pass by Raines, his fifth of the year. Livingston brought pressure up the middle to force Raines out of the pocket, a theme throughout the night, and the senior quarterback made an ill-advised throw toward the sideline.
Livingston marched down the field and was about to take a 14-7 lead when Thomas, the same player who picked off Raines’ pass, fumbled on the one-yard line. The Lions would not threaten to score again.
Raines finished with 105 yards and an interception, but did not score for the first time this year. Seth Barrow was the leading receiver for Nederland with four catches for 64 yards.
Thomas ran eight times for the Lions and gained 24 yards. He also intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble.
Damion Collins finished with 80 yards on seven carries, and Chevoski Collins had 49 total yards, including two receptions. Garret Green lead the Lions with five catches and 51 yards.
Nederland will look to extend its conference winning streak to 13 games next week at Little Cypress-Mauriceville.
“This is a don’t-give-anybody-respect district,” Neumann said. “It’s been that way forever. You have to earn it on the field.”