Nederland defense throttles Livingston
Nederland coach Larry Neumann was not as happy as some might have thought he’d be after his Bulldogs turned in their first shutout of the season.
Sure, Neumann was proud of his team for defeating Livingston 24-0 at Lions Stadium. He was pleased to hear the Bulldogs defense held the Lions to under 100 yards of total offense. And, even if he did not say it, he is excited his team is now 2-0 in District 20-4A and l riding a 19-game district winning streak.
The 21-year veteran is a coach who knows when to be excited and Friday night was not the night.
“I don’t think you will find too many coaches and players on our team who feel real good about this one tonight,” Neumann said. “We didn’t have a great total performance like we should have. Our focus didn’t seem to be there, especially in that first half. Those things are correctable and we will go to work on getting some things fixed.”
Nederland did have five penalties for 55 yards and two lost fumbles. The Bulldogs were lucky enough to cover up a third fumble or Neumann might have made the players run home.
The Bulldogs defense limited the (0-2) Lions to 85 total yards and eight first downs. Livingston never got a running game established and finished with 24 yards on 35 carries.
Nederland defenders picked off Livingston quarterback Kurt Wilson twice in the game. Wilson was 6-for-18 passing for 61 yards.
Livingston, at the half, had only 39 yards, 15 rushing and 24 passing. Nederland tailback Kendrick Hopkins had more yards rushing, 63, at the break than the Lions had total yards.
Bulldogs defensive back Osmar Mendoza was the first Nederland defender to strike.. He intercepted Wilson to kill the Lions opening drive of the night.
Nederland then forced four straight Lions punts over the rest of the first and second quarters. Livingston’s final play of the first half was a reflection of the entire game.
All-State Nederland safety Colton Kimler picked off Wilson as time expired in the second quarter.
Nederland quarterback Preston White was extra pleased with the Bulldogs performance on defense. A good defensive performance makes things a lot easier when the offense takes the field.
“Our defense has been playing great over the last couple of weeks,” White said. “They have been working hard in practice and when they are doing good it makes the offense want to compete harder.”
The Bulldogs offense put up 362 yards, yet it seemed to have to work for every yard a little harder than it has all season long.
Hopkins failed to reach the century mark and finished with 83 yards on 19 carries. Hopkins scored the Bulldogs first touchdown of the night in the second quarter from 17 yards out.
White was 7-for-10 passing for 201 yards. White’s favorite receiver continued to be Kimler who had three catches for 80 yards.
It was an offensive lineman who put the Bulldogs up 14-0 in the second as Caleb Malveaux crossed the goal ine for the first time this season. Malveaux’s TD came on a one-yard plunge.
Nederland used a little trickery in the third to go up 21-0.
White handed off to Hopkins who then drew in the Livingston defense. Hopkins pitched back to White who loaded up to pass. White’s pass to Jace Bordelon was on target and it led to a 38-yard touchdown off the flea flicker.
“It is always great having big receivers like I have the chance to throw to,” White said. “All of them seem to be over six foot and can go up and get the ball. I also couldn’t do any of this without our offensive line and our running backs. They are making our job easy.”
Tanner Noel capped Nederland’s scoring for the night with a 22-yard field goal to make it 24-0.
“I will say no win is a bad win,” Neumann said. “This cannot be our trademark performance. We have to do better than this tonight. We heard LC-M was beating PN-G and the Bears are up next for us. That score over at The Reservation proves in this district you have to show up to play or you are going to get beat. “Next week could be a very highly motivated game for both the Bulldogs and Bears. We are proud to 2-0 but we don’t want to sit on this win for very long.”