• 57°

Nederland shuts out Lumberton 28-0

Troy Benjamin ran for two touchdowns and Carson Raines passed for a pair of scores, and the Bulldogs defense pitched another shutout as Nederland blanked Lumberton 28-0 Friday night at Raider Stadium.

     Benjamin led all rushers with 101 yards on 18 carries and scored touchdowns on runs of 7 and 10 yards. Raines was 11-of-17 for 142 yards, completing passes to six different receivers. He had touchdown strikes of 17 yards to Brett Brown and 15 yards to Seth Barrow.

     “We’re getting better up front and Benjamin is a good runner, and we have some other good runners,” said Nederland coach Larry Neumann. “Our offensive line is maturing and has been for the last couple of weeks. I know that we can move the ball on the ground a lot more efficiently than we could a month ago. I didn’t know if we would ever get to this point a month ago. The fact that we are able to move the ball on the ground really sets up our play action pass.

     “There’s good and bad in this thing. Not even LSU hits on all cylinders all the time. As long as the end result is what it is then you can build on that. Sometimes you have to sustain yourself when you are not playing perfectly or as good as it has been. You just have to build on it and keep improving.”

     Nederland (7-1, 5-0) rushed for 212 yards and had 354 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs defense completely dominated Lumberton, limiting the Raiders to just 73 yards of total offense and five first downs. Lumberton rushed for 54 yards on 31 carries, good for just 1.7 yards per carry.

     “It’s been a long time,” said Neumann on the Bulldogs second straight shutout. “Two shutouts in a row and the way we are playing is astounding. I’m starting to feel pretty comfortable about keeping people out of the end zone. If you feel that way, it helps you offensively and every other way. You get momentum for keeping the other guys out of the end zone. I’m real proud of our defense.”

 A    fter taking a 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, Nederland received the ball to start the second half. However, Raines was intercepted on the first play from scrimmage by Garrett Bourque to turn the ball over to the Raiders at their own 30.

     The Bulldogs defense bailed out Raines, forcing the Raiders to punt after five plays. On the ensuing drive, Nederland ran the ball eight straight plays. Michael Shaw had the biggest run, 24 yards on a reverse.

Brown had back-to-back runs of seven yards and a pair of 5-yard runs by Edwin Nelson set up the Bulldogs at the Lumberton 15. That’s when Raines hit Barrow in the end zone to extend the lead to 21-0.

     Nederland closed out the scoring with another methodical drive in the fourth quarter. Benjamin’s 10-yard TD run capped off a 12-play, 66-yard drive to provide the final margin of 28-0. Benjamin carried the ball six times for 33 yards on the drive.

     “I don’t know what anybody expected coming over here and I wish it would have been easier than it was, but it wasn’t easy,” commented Neumann. “I told the kids after the game that I was really proud of them at halftime. I didn’t see panic in anybody’s eyes.

    “I didn’t see anything like ‘what’s going on’ because things have been going our way the last couple of weeks. It just looked like we were going back to work in the second half. It wasn’t a perfect game, but we stayed calm and kept playing offense and kept playing defense.”

     After squandering a pair of promising drives in the first quarter, the Bulldogs broke through with a scoring drive in the second quarter. Aided by good field position at the Lumberton 33, it took Nederland only four plays to punch in the game’s first score. Benjamin carried on three of the four plays, scoring on a 7-yard touchdown run to put the Bulldogs up 7-0.

     After forcing Lumberton (0-8, 0-5) into a three-and-out, Nederland put together a long scoring drive before halftime. Benjamin had consecutive runs of 10 and six yards to get out to the Raider 17 and a Lumberton pass interference penalty put the ball at the Bulldog 46.

     Raines connected with Justin Ridgaway for 13 yards and Barrow for 24 yards to the Lumberton 13 on a third-and-10 play. Raines hit fullback Brown on a 17-yard pass to cap the 11-play, 95-yard scoring drive and push the lead to 14-0.

     “Lumberton’s kids played hard tonight under the circumstances they’re experiencing right now and that goes a lot to coach (Alvin) Credeur’s leadership and the kind of players they have,” said Neumann. “I don’t mean that patronizingly. They played hard the whole game, whether people expected it or not, and that’s to their credit.”

     Nederland closes out its home schedule by hosting Beaumont Ozen next Friday at Bulldog Stadium.