Huge duel for Dogs with Dayton
District 22-4A standings, stats
DAYTON — Those not-so-young, still-ambitious coaches — Jerry Stewart and Larry Neumann — they manage to keep their blood pressure under control except on special occasions… such as tonight.
When Nederland and Dayton play a football game against each other, the whole world and all its treasures are at stake for these two head football coaches. Actually, these two men have awaited this night for quite some time.
It’s not a 4A state, Region III or even District 22-4A title game, but the pride of these two men absolutely want this victory as much as any “w” that the Broncos or Bulldogs may attain for the rest of the season…. and it’s been in the back of their minds for weeks.
That’s just how Hatfields and McCoys feel about one another. They really enjoy the competition, believe it or not. They do not hate one another. They insist that they don’t, although sometimes you have to wonder.
Dayton (6-2 and 5-0) can clinch a 4A playoff berth by winning either of its final two games against both Mid-County schools. The Broncos visit Port Neches-Groves next week but they prefer for that game to become meaningless.
Nederland (4-4 and 3-2) owns no such luxuries and lives by a thread only after a one-of-a-kind, fourth-quarter stretch of 12 minutes to end all 12 minutes by Micah Mosley. But, unless Port Neches-Groves wins its final two games against Central and Dayton, it appears the Bulldogs can get in the playoffs with one more win.
Meanwhile, if one high school player ever took over a game at the start of the fourth quarter, it was the Nederland senior during about the last 10 minutes of the Bulldogs’ most improbable 15-12 victory at Little Cypress-Mauriceville. Oh yes, Mosley has produced more remarkable offensive numbers at Waller and at PN-G. Oh no, Mosley did earn Port Arthur News Player of The Week in this Tuesday’s paper.
Yet when it came to one player lifting an entire team on his shoulders and winning a game for them, Micah began making every play on defense and clutch run after clutch run on offense. While Dayton knows it enters tonight’s Bronco Stadium battle as the favorite, it realizes Micah has the ability to carry on in the grand tradition of Clark Kent and be Superman when he has to be.
The District 22-4A rushing and scoring leader, Mosley is heading toward unparalleled all-time Nederland career numbers with 3,592 rushing yards over the past three seasons. Even Troy Sumrall’s career total of 2,619 has become a distant milestone by now. The uncharted 4,000-yard NHS plateau could be in his reach.
Yet here’s the problem with Nederland’s fans if they attempt to think that way. Dayton’s defense is pretty doggone unparalleled in its own right. The Broncos have permitted a 22-4A low 900 rushing yards in eight games. Their total defense has yielded 203.3 yards a game — nearly 65 yards less than the second-best 22-4A defensive numbers belonging to Beaumont Central (268.0).
At the other side of the immovable object stands Nederland’s irresistible force. The Bulldogs enter with a league-best 376-yard average in total offense.
“Our defense is playing real well,” the 12th-year Broncos boss said. “We had three pretty good teams in ’98, ’02 and ’03 and we should have won state in ’02 and ’03 but I don’t know if we have the total team this year that we had in those years. Our defense, though, is very good. We gave Central a short field several times last week.”
Able to bust through and block an extra point with 32 seconds left, Dayton’s defense preserved a 21-20 win at Central in a battle of 22-4A unbeaten teams.
While Nederland’s offense and Dayton’s defense rank No. 1 in 22-4A, Dayton also owns an upper-echelon offense, with a no-huddle and shotgun formation for every snap. Senior tailback Michael Dugat ranks third among league rushers with 916 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Even though Dayton aligns with four wide receivers, the Broncos offense runs for close to two-thirds of its yards — 1,687 rushing yards to 876 passing yards.
“Dugat is just an outstanding runner and a breakaway guy,” Nederland’s Neumann said. “His brother (A.J.) is their go-to receiver. They have a sophomore quarterback (Cody Green) who is mature beyond his years.”
A 54-year-old Wilson, Ark., native, Stewart’s Dayton team took a Rice Stadium bidistrict whipping of 42-0 from Nederland on a cold day when Mosley and Dugat figured into the offensive proceedings.
Dugat started at quarterback but primarily played tailback on that afternoon, carrying 16 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. Mosley busted loose for 139 on 20 carries, rushing for two scores and catching a scoring pass as well.
It’s been two years and it’s not pertinent to tonight’s game, but Stewart remembers the occasion all too painfully.
“That was like trying to hunt a bear with a switch,” he said. “One time in the second half, I threw the white towel onto the field and a Nederland player just picked it up and threw it back at me. Their dog barked so much that day that he got tired and it ran out of batteries.
“They have the best offensive line that we’ve played up to this point. They come off the ball and knock you around and Mosley is bigger than everybody on our defense except for our nose tackle.”
Neumann would not mind one bit if Nederland’s big ones would decide to play big on this night, too.
PORT ARTHUR NEWS GAME OF THE WEEK:
NEDERLAND AT DAYTON
• When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
• Where: Bronco Stadium, Dayton
• Records: Nederland 4-4, 3-2; Dayton 6-2, 5-0
• Series: Nederland leads 10-4
• Last year: Did not play
• Last meeting: Nederland, 42-0, in 2004 Class 4A bidistrict round at Rice Stadium
• Radio: KLVI-AM (560)
• Internet: www.fnetv.com.
SE — Darren Washington (5)
WT — Joe Isbell (67)
WG — Adam Westbrook (65)
C — Blaine Daniel (60)
SG — Matt Molina (51)
ST — Stefan Huber (54)
TE — Phillip Biehle (80)
QB — Alex Moshier (10)
FB — Chris Gutierrez (38)
TB — Micah Mosley (20)
FL — Josh Cabra (6)
LE — Marshall Kerwin (42)
LT — Sali McNeal (2)
NG — Brent Kimmy (62)
RT — Matt Gilbert (45)
RE — John Gable (5)
SLB — Fred Hynson (12)
WLB — Jacob Pickle (80)
LCB — Joe Carter (10)
RCB — Anthony Williams (1)
LS — Andy Dewey (9)
RS — Ford Smesney (14)
QB — Cody Green (21)
TB — Michael Dugat (8)
WR — Ronnie Powell (85)
IR — A.J. Dugat (25)
WR — David Howard (43)
IR — Andrew Thomas (4)
QT — Jeremy McGregor (50)
QG — Austin Williams (75)
C — Cody Huff (78)
SG — Tony Hill (77)
ST — Joshua Jones (65)
LE — Dravannti Johnson (44)
LT — Eric Pompa (62)
NT — Josh Miller (56)
RE — Colby Miller (72)
SLB — Kent Maxwell (31)
MLB — Travis Dabel (40)
OLB — Jarvis Benton (4)
LCB — Devon Brack (27)
RCB — Darren Washington (5)
LS — Reagan Stanley (1)
RS — Justin Krautz (22)
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