Patriots stun Bulldogs — again

Published 1:59 am Saturday, October 31, 2015

By Daucy Crizer
The News Correspondent

BAYTOWN – This wasn’t the offensive shootout like last year’s game.
However, the end result was the same as Goose Creek Memorial pulled off the upset for the second straight season, knocking off Nederland 18-14 Friday night at Stallworth Stadium.
“First of all, my hats off to coach (Bret) Boyd and the Goose Creek Memorial Patriots. They played a great ballgame tonight and give them all the credit for what happened tonight,” said Nederland coach Larry Neumann. “Looking at us, you’re always going to be critical of your performance whether you win or lose. We’ll look at some things tonight that we didn’t do real well and try to improve on them this week.
“I don’t think we came out flat or anything like that. I think we came ready to play. I think Goose Creek got after us pretty good and there were some things we did to ourselves that hurt us. We’ve won enough to deal with a setback.
“Basically, that’s what I told our team after the game that we still have a chance to put a title by our name next week in our final home game against Lumberton. District championships are hard to come by. They’re not given to you; you have to go earn them. Tonight, we didn’t do enough to earn that title.”
Nederland (6-3, 5-1 in District 22-5A) has lost only two district games since 2010, and both have come at the hands of the Patriots. Both teams had to deal with less than ideal playing conditions as the wind was blowing from the south at a steady 25 miles per hour with frequent gusts even stronger. That was reflected in the Bulldogs only gaining 281 yards of total offense, which was slightly better than the Patriots’ 250 yards.
“I think it was absolutely a factor, but both teams played in it,” said Neumann on the windy conditions. “I won’t say it hurt us any more than possibly it hurt them. It was a little unique in that it was a constant wind. I don’t think either team can say that it had a great affect in the outcome of the game. I think it was more about what both teams did on the field than the wind.”
GC Memorial (4-5, 2-4) received the second half kickoff, but was going into the wind in the third quarter. The Patriots mounted the only scoring drive of the second half on their second possession. It was a good mixture of passing and running the ball. Hunter Hamm connected with DeAndre Herman for 21 yards on third-and-11 to keep the drive going.
Chris Freeman converted a key fourth-and-3 with a 33 yard run to give the Patriots first-and-goal at the Nederland 9. Freeman carried again for four yards and two rushes by Herman netted two more yards to the 3. Freeman capped the 13-play drive with a 3-yard TD run on fourth down to give the Patriots a 18-14 lead after they failed to convert the two-point conversion.
The Bulldogs had only one drive with the wind at their backs in the third quarter, and that drive stalled after one first down on a Mitchell LeBaron 23-yard run.
Nederland was forced to punt on its first possession of the fourth quarter. After forcing a quick three-and-out by GC Memorial, the Bulldogs went back on the offensive attack. LeBaron connected with Ryan LeLeux on a 19-yard completion and consecutive runs put the ball at the 50. LeBaron hit Dean Fisher for 19 yards to convert on third-and-8 to put the ball at the Patriots 29. However, LeBaron was intercepted in the end zone by Tristan Lavan to end the threat.
The Bulldog defense again forced a three-and-out by GC Memorial to give the ball back to the offense at their own 40 with 4:40 remaining in the game. A Krautz 6-yard run and a 6-yard completion from LeBaron to Fisher gave Nederland a first down at the Patriot 48.
LeBaron connected with Tavian Mayfield for a 9-yard gain and Krautz followed with a 6-yard run to give the Bulldogs a first down at the 33. However, following a 2-yard run by LeLeux, LeBaron misfired on his next three passes to turn the ball over on downs with just 2:15 remaining.
The Patriots still needed to gain at least one first down to run out the clock and Herman’s 22-yard run on third-and-five sealed the win for GC Memorial.
“We’ll be critical about our performance, but like I said, we’ve won enough to deal with this setback the right way,” said Neumann. “This won’t break us. If anything, this may get us a little more focused for the last game and into the playoffs. Sometimes these things have a silver lining. You don’t want to lose ever, but sometimes it increases your focus and gets you a little more aware of what you need to do to get better.”
Krautz led all rushers with 121 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 22 yards. LeBaron completed 10 of 22 passes for 99 yards, but threw two interceptions. He rushed for 44 yards on 10 carries.
Nederland received the opening kickoff and scored on the game’s first possession. On the fourth play from scrimmage, Krautz scored on a 63-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a quick 7-0 lead.
The Patriots got on the board late in the first quarter, taking advantage of just a 23-yard punt into the wind that gave GC Memorial good field position at Nederland 35. Hunter Hamm wasted little time as he scrambled in the pocket long enough to find Andrew Joseph alone for a 35-yard scoring strike. The extra point was blocked to make the score 7-6.
GC Memorial took its first lead of the game on a Stephen Adams 1-yard TD run. That capped an 8-play, 80-yard scoring drive to give the Patriots a 12-7 lead. The Patriots 2-point conversion was stopped just short of the goal line.
The Bulldogs responded with a scoring drive of their own in the closing minute of the first half. Krautz kept the drive going with a 9-yard run on fourth-and-1 to put the ball at the Patriot 27. LeBaron hit Mayfield for 11 yards to the 16. A LeBaron keeper for nine yards put the ball at the 7. Krautz scored three plays later on a 3-yard run to regain the lead at 14-12 with 35 seconds left in the first half.
Herman carried the ball 18 times for 79 yards to lead the Patriots. He also caught four passes for 53 yards. Adams added 49 yards on 11 carries and Freeman chipped in 40 yards on just three totes. Hamm was 7 of 12 for 99 yards and one touchdown.

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