Anderson, Longhorns too fast for Bulldogs

Published 1:27 am Saturday, November 21, 2015

CYPRESS — When Larry Neumann called George Ranch running back Darius Anderson the best runner he has ever coached against in his career, it is quite a compliment considering he is in his 23rd year at Nederland.

That is exactly what Neumann said after George Ranch defeated his Bulldogs, 63-30, at the Berry Center on Friday night in the Class 5A Division I area round.

Anderson, a commit to Missouri, rushed for 224 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns.

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“Darius Anderson, I’ve coached at Nederland for 23 years, he is the finest back — that includes Jacquizz Rodgers — that we have ever coached against,” Neumann said. “Without question and without even any closeness.

Rodgers played at Lamar Consolidated in 2006 when it defeated Nederland in the third round of the playoffs, and from there starred at Oregon State and in the NFL.

The Bulldogs (8-4) fell behind 28-7 after the first quarter, and by the start of the second quarter, George Ranch (12-0) had already piled up 214 rushing yards. Alex Fontenot scored three first-quarter touchdowns from 18, 7 and 60 yards out.

Nederland answered the first George Ranch touchdown with a 64-yard touchdown throw from Mitchell LeBaron to Devon Simmons to tie the game at 7-7 with 10:04 left in the first.

After that, it was all Longhorns. George Ranch rattled off 21 unanswered points to close out the first quarter.

“Add that special ingredient [Anderson] to a special football team, and you get the kind of opponent we had tonight,” Neumann said. “I tip my hat to them and they played extremely well.”

George Ranch went on to rush for 478 yards on 43 carries and totaled 562 yards of total offense. The Longhorns were so fast, the third-string running back, David Fisher, had 57 yards on seven carries with two touchdowns in the fourth. His last score went for 48 yards to give George Ranch a 63-22 lead with 7:37 left on the clock.

It was not just a speedy offense. The Longhorns defense held the Bulldogs to 171 yards rushing and 256 yards passing. Even though the numbers seem above average for Nederland, it always looked as if George Ranch was playing with 15 guys on defense.

Nederland put a great running back of their own on the field in

Austin Krautz, but George Ranch did its best in keeping the Lamar commit in check for most of the night.

Krautz finished with 150 yards on 23 carries. His lone touchdown of the night came on a 57-yard touchdown throw from LeBaron with 8:45 left in the game to make it 56-22. The two-point conversion was a special play designed to get a senior into the end zone. Senior lineman Justin Carr, also a Lamar commit, hauled in the pass from junior Tavian Mayfield.

Nederland went for two again after a Bryan Cunningham touchdown to get fellow senior Connor McCauley into paydirt. His two-pointer made the final score.

Krautz was obviously emotional after the game, knowing his special Bulldogs career had come to a close.

“It is hard to put into words,” Krautz said. “We won the district title and the Bum Phillips Bowl Trophy and not a lot teams have what we have. It is amazing what we did. People doubted us, but at Nederland we win football games. They will continue to do that. We leave a bunch of younger guys who played their butts for us seniors and they will continue to play their butts off next year.”

LeBaron, a first-year starting quarterback, passed for 256 yards on 13-for-33 passing with one interception and three touchdowns.

Carr said he was impressed with the speed of the Longhorns and hopes now George Ranch goes on to win the Class 5A Division I championship.

“It is tough,” Carr said. “We went out with a fight. That is what we talked about at halftime. If we are going to lose it, let’s lose it busting our butts. I think we did well doing that. I feel for some of our other guys. I get to play at the next level and so does Krautz. I really feel for the guys that don’t. This is our life. We committed our lives to this sport.”

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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