The Port Arthur News
Nederland’s Bulldogs got very defensive Friday night when protecting its long District 20-4A winning streak.
Nederland won its 18th straight 20-4A game after defeating Vidor 31-10 at Bulldog Stadium.
Jeff Mathews and his Pirates came into the contest averaging 448.7 yards a game with 400 yards coming on the ground.
The Bulldogs held the Pirates to 138 yards on the ground on 42 carries. Vidor could only muster up 42 yards in the first half.
“We played some excellent defense in the first half,” Nederland Coach Larry Neumann said. “The defensive side of the ball tonight speaks for itself. I would have felt fortunate if we went into the half only up 3-0 but our offense was able to make some big plays. We were able to run the ball when everyone in the stadium knew we were going to run the ball. That signals you are a pretty good football team.”
Nederland’s Kendrick Hopkins, who rushed for 108 yards on 21 carries, fumbled the ball way to Vidor (2-2, 0-1) on the Bulldogs’ first play from scrimmage.
Vidor took over on the Bulldogs 19-yard line yet the Nederland (3-1, 1-0) defense held the Pirates to a 21-yard field goal by Michael Tamayor.
“Our defense played a great series at that point in the game to hold them to a field goal,” Neumann said.
Vidor was up 3-0 heading into the second before Nederland’s offense started to explode with points.
Sage Seay first hauled in a 19-yard pass from Preston White. Then Colton Kimler got into the action with a 16-yard touchdown reception before Marcus Barton, who rushed for 118 yards on five carries, rushed for a 35-yard touchdown scamper.
Nederland’s offense put the Bulldogs up 21-3 at the break.
“Those guys did an unbelievable job on defense,” Mathews said. “We had blown assignments and fumbled snaps. We didn’t need to give those guys any help. We never did anything to help ourselves tonight and those guys don’t need help. I felt our guys were never ready to play. I have one job here at Vidor and that is to make sure the team is ready to play. That didn’t happen tonight.”
Vidor’s offense did come out looking a lot different in the third quarter as the Pirates first drive of the second half ended with a touchdown.
The touchdown drive took 13 plays, 5:55 off the clock and ended with Alex Boutte scoring from eight yards out.
The score remained the same until Nederland put the game on ice in the fourth. Tight end Brandon Dial ran into the endzone from 54 yards out and Tanner Noel 23-yard field goal.
Neumann applauded his offense for being patient on the night and taking advantage of the big plays against Vidor.
“Marcus was fired up tonight,” Neumann said. “He did a great job and so did Brandon Dial. The thing about Brandon people forget is how great a blocker he is.”
Nederland quarterback Preston White continued his solid play for the Bulldogs by completing 9-of-12 passes with one interception and two touchdowns. Sage Seay hauled in four receptions for 57 yards while teammate Colton Kimler had three catches for 45 yards.
As for the long district winning streak that dates back to 2010, Neumann said his team is only focused on the future.
“We have not even mentioned it,” Neumann added. “I know about it and the kids know about it. We just don’t talk about it. We are focused on the now and if we stay healthy, I think we are going to develop into a pretty darn good football team.”
Mathews was also already looking to the future, just in a different way.
“We are going to practice Saturday morning,” Mathews said. “We have to forget about this game in a hurry. I don’t want to sit around all weekend and think about this loss. I want it out of our minds. I want to fix these mistakes and move on.”
Vidor running back Sage Smith led the Pirates with 93 yards on 16 carries. Haylon Lecklet had 35 yards on nine carries. Smith also came up with a fumble recovery while Bret Hall was the Pirates defender who picked off White.
Vidor will be at home next week against Beaumont Ozen while Nederland hits the road to face Livingston.