Late goal gives Nederland different ending

Published 12:11 am Saturday, March 5, 2016

NEDERLAND — It couldn’t possibly end the same way, could it? Well, not entirely.
A corner kick from Nederland’s Jace Edgar bounced off a Port Neches-Groves player and into the goal with 1:21 left, and the Bulldogs protected their home field Friday with a 1-0 win in the rivalry renewal.
“I couldn’t exactly see it with my own eyes,” Edgar said. “Sometimes it goes in. I didn’t know if it ricocheted or not. All you’ve got to do is put it in there.
“We’ve been practicing all week for this. We just came out here and did the best we could and got the result.”
It was the exact score of PN-G’s home win over Nederland on Feb. 9. Sergio Aguilar made the winning score with more than a minute left.
“We knew it would be a dog fight,” Bulldogs coach Torrey Gomez said. “Last time we met at The Reservation it came down to the last minute. Similar situation here, but we got it done in the last minute.”
The win, along with Goose Creek Memorial’s 2-1 feat over Vidor, knocked PN-G (12-2-6, 6-2-4) out of first place in District 22-5A. PN-G and GCM were tied for first in the district.
Nederland (9-5-5, 6-2-2) remains in third in the district with the big win after going into the game tied for the position with Baytown Lee.
“They pressed the ball real hard tonight,” Indians coach Chad Luttrull said of the Bulldogs. “They did a good job. It was unfortunate we put the ball in the back of our own net tonight instead of theirs.”
Gomez urged his team to find more opportunities to score this week, and the Bulldogs responded with near-scores in the second half. Standout PN-G goalkeeper Bryce Meche made big stops with 29:30 and 14:00 left, and a header from Nederland’s Jaime Moreno sailed just over the crossbar.
“It’s something we really struggled with leading up to this game, and we really worked hard on it,” Gomez said. “I think it kind of game to fruition tonight. We didn’t always get great shots on goal, but we were creating opportunities. What we’ve got to do is get some more quality shots on goal.”
The Bulldogs finally found their opportunity, along with a stroke of luck.
“The ball was played to the feet,” said Meche, who’s still second all-time in the University Interscholastic League with approximately 55 shutout games. The UIL record is 61.
“I tried clearing it. It just hit the wrong side of the foot and it went in,” he said.
The physicality of the game ended up costing the Indians, who were hit with three yellow cards. Christian Davalos was disqualified after a second yellow on a diving call.
“Anytime we go up against Port Neches, it’s going to be a physical game,” Gomez said. “It’s intense. It’s a rivalry game. You don’t have to manufacture that. It’s always there because of the rivalry.”

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About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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