The Port Arthur News
CROSBY — Nederland’s defense came home licking several wounds Friday night after Crosby rolled up more points in the 2013 season opener than the Bulldogs allowed in their first six District 20-4A games combined last season.
Austin Walter rushed for 288 yards and two touchdowns and also scored on a 64-yard pass from twin brother Aston to power Crosby to an impressive 56-35 victory.
Aston also rushed for a pair of touchdowns and passed for three additional scores as the Cougars amassed 20 first downs and 474 yards of offense.
“Well, it’s early in the season,” said Neumann, who opened his 21st season as the Dawgs’ leader. “We can learn a lot from tonight, but you have to take your hat off to Crosby, Coach (Jeff) Riordan, and those two young men. They’re very talented individuals and they’re going to give a lot of people trouble this year. They’re going to win a lot of games this year.”
Austin Walter, whom along with his brother has made a verbal commitment to attend Ricer, had scoring runs of 84 and 4 yards, and also had runs of 57, 45, and 53 yards.
“We had no answer for them,” Neumann said. “They’re great athletes and they’re both so quick.”
Nederland marched 68 yards on their opening possession of the second half. White connected with Colton Kimler on a 42 yard touchdown pass that pulled Big Ned to within 35-21.
But Austin Walker ran for 53 yards on the first play following the touchdown and the Nederland defense held on the next three plays before Crosby converted a 4th and 12 with a 35 yard touchdown pass from Aston Walker to Raelon Singleton.
“That was a big shift in momentum,” Neumann said. “We were in position to hold them and they beat us deep.”
But the fight in the Dawgs was evident as Kendrick Hopkins, who finished with 152 yards rushing, scored on runs of two and 51 yards to pull Nederland to within 42-35 with 2:04 left in the third quarter.
“I wouldn’t trade this group of guys for anything,” Neumann said. “They came out the second half and battled hard. We played hard but we just had no answers on how to stop them.”
Nederland, after pulling within a touchdown, did have Crosby facing a third and seven from its 36 before the Walter brothers hooked up on a 64-yard screen pass that increased the Cougars’ lead to 49-35.
Nederland quarter back Preston White, who completed 13 of 25 for 185 yards, was intercepted and returned 75 yards by Daidrick Kibbie in the 4th quarter for the final score.
“Offensively, I thought we played well,” Neumann said. “I’m not disappointed in our defense, but we just gave up too many big plays.”
The Cougars wasted little time, grabbing the opening kickoff and marching 80 yards in 8 plays. Aston Walter raced 22 yards to the end zone to give Crosby a 7-0 lead.
But Nederland’s Austin Krautz returned a punt 37 yards to the Cougar 43 and four plays later, White located Sage Seay behind the Crosby defense on a 27-yard scoring strike. Tanner Noel added the PAT that tied the score, 7-7.
Austin Walter shredded the Dawg defense on a 57 yard run and then gave the Cougars a lead on a four-yard run with 2:38 still remaining in the first quarter.
Colton Broussard mishandled the ensuing kickoff and Crosby recovered at the Nederland 35. Four plays later Aston Walter found Cullen Lee with a three-yard scoring pass. After a two-point conversion failed, Crosby led 20-7.
Big Ned answered with a 75-yard, six play drive with White completing a 39-yard touchdown pass to Kimler that cut the Cougar lead to 20-14.
But Austin Walter had a 45-yard run and Aston Walter scored on a one-yard run with 4:12 left in the half to make it 27-14.
Nederland punted to Crosby with 55 seconds left in the half, but the Dawg defense was unable to contain Austin Walter, who raced 84 yards for his second touchdown with 34 seconds left in the half. Crosby added a two-point conversion and took a 35-14 lead at halftime.