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No. 5 Cougars slide past Bulldogs, 35-18

NEDERLAND — The 5A No. 5 Crosby Cougars took the Nederland Bulldogs’ best punches Friday night at Bulldogs Stadium and then landed the knockout blows.
Nederland, late in the third quarter, had a chance to really put a scare into Crosby yet a missed field goal and a long Cougars touchdown run turned the momentum back to the visitors.
In the end, Crosby walked away with a 35-18 win.
Nederland (0-1) trailed 21-12 and got down to the Crosby (1-0) 4-yard line when Austin Krautz broke off a 57-yard run.
The Bulldogs then had a false start and only managed 4 more yards and settled for a field goal attempt. The attempt was missed, giving Crosby the ball back.
Six plays later, Cougars tailback Carlos Grace scored from 31 yards out to give Crosby a 28-12 lead early in the fourth. Grace finished with 136 of Crosby’s 227 rushing yards.
Nederland tried again to get back in the game and did score its first touchdown of the season, a 6-yard lunge from Krautz. He finished the night with 124 yards on 14 carries.
The Bulldogs went for two, yet the pass was incomplete to make the score 28-18 with 9:15 left in the game.
The rally came to a real quick halt as talented Crosby running back Craig Williams took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.
“You can’t give up touchdown returns on kickoffs,” Nederland coach Larry Neumann said. “That disappointed me. They have talented guys and we work extremely hard on that and did good until that one.”
Nederland’s defense showed flashes of being able to stop Crosby, and in the end the speed of the Cougars blasted the Bulldogs for 490 total yards.
Quarterback Tristan Cotton threw for 241 yards on 14-of-22 passing with two interceptions.
Cotton’s second interception was returned for a Nederland touchdown by linebacker Peyton Devries. Devries caught the tipped pass and ran it in from 43 yards out, and Nederland crept to within 14-12 with 9:39 left in the third.
It didn’t take long for the Cougars to answer — 10 plays to be exact.
Cotton found receiver Emmanuel Netherly for an 11-yard touchdown 10 plays after Devries score.
Crosby racked up six first downs in the 10 plays and averaged 8.1 yards a play on the scoring drive to build a 21-12 advantage.
The Cougars put up 305 yards in the first half alone yet only held a 14-6 lead.
“Coming into the game we knew we couldn’t have penalties and turnovers,” Crosby coach Jeff Riordan said. “That is what we did in the first half. We had over 300 yards and only 14 points cause we threw an interception and fumbled the ball away.”
Cotton’s first interception was thrown to Jalen Cunningham. It was also Cunningham who recovered a first-half Crosby fumble.
“Kudos to Coach Neumann and his staff,” Riordan said. “They did a great job. It is like I told our kids, ‘We have a target on our backs and anytime you are ranked like we are, everyone is going to give you their best shot.’”
Crosby had 11 penalties for 81 yards compared to Nederland’s 44 yards on five penalties.
Nederland had to settle for two field goals in the first half from senior kicker James Brindza.
His first field goal sailed through the uprights from 44 yards out and the second he drilled from 34 yards to make it 7-6 Crosby with 1:58 remaining in the first half.
Williams, three plays later, hauled in a reception from Cotton and scored from 60 yards away to give Crosby a 14-6 lead at the break.
“We made a bunch of plays both on offense and defense against a very good, talented football team,” Neumann said. “They made more than we did tonight. I told the players don’t get too excited about getting moral victories. When you accept that, you don’t get any better. We are going to stay away from any accolades and concentrate more on the negativity on how you play football.”
Nederland quarterback Mitchell LeBaron, starting his first varsity game, threw for 175 yards on 14-of-30 passing.
Dean Fisher led the Bulldogs with three receptions for 66 yards while Krautz added three catches for 49 yards. Connor Perkins was held to three receptions for 24 yards.

Crosby 35, Nederland 18
Crosby 7 7 7 14-35
Nederland 0 6 6 6-18
Scoring Summary
First quarter
Crosby – Emmanuel Netherly 14 pass from Tristan Cotton (Juan Ochoa kick), 5:49
Second quarter
Nederland – James Brindza 44 field goal, 9:46
Nederland – Brindza 34 field goal, 1:58
Crosby — Craig Williams 60 pass from Cotton (Ochoa kick), 0:50
Third quarter
Nederland — Peyton Devries 43 interception return (pass failed), 9:39
Crosby — Netherly 11 pass from Cotton (Ochoa kick), 5:30
Fourth quarter
Crosby — Carlos Grace 31 run (Ochoa kick), 11:27
Nederland — Austin Krautz 6 run (pass failed), 9:15
Crosby — Williams 95 kickoff return (Ochoa kick), 8:50

Team Stats
Cros Ned
First Downs 22 13
Rushes-Yards 40-227 23-98
Passing Yards 263 175
Comp-Att-Int 14-23-2 14-30-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 11-81 5-44

Individual Stats
Rushing: Crosby, Carlos Grace 22-136, Craig Williams 8-53. Nederland, Austin Krautz 14-124.
Passing: Crosby, Tristan Cotton 14-22-2 241. Nederland, Mitchell LeBaron 14-30-0 175.
Receiving: Crosby, Emmanuel Netherly 3-57, Shane Hudson 3-41. Nederland, Dean Fisher 3-66, Krautz 3-49.

About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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