Lange named Bulldogs starting QB

Published 9:55 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2016

NEDERLAND — The most important task on Nederland coach Larry Neumann’s to-do list before Friday’s season kickoff is now scratched off. He has named a starting quarterback.

Junior Marshall Lange will start under center for the Bulldogs at 4A Division II champion West Orange-Stark.

“Based on the performance in the scrimmages and particularly the Crosby scrimmage, I think it cleared the situation up for this point in time,” Neumann said. “We’ve made that announcement last Monday, so we’re on our way.”

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Lange, a junior varsity player last season, and sophomore Blaysin Fernandez each took snaps with the first string during last Thursday’s scrimmage at Crosby. Part of that event was scripted.

Neumann was asked what helped Lange separate himself at Crosby.

“Everything’s relative,” Neumann said. “I think he manages the game smoother than Blaysin. A lot of it may be, being a year older and a year more involved in the program. I don’t think even he would say he’s at a stage where you would call him a prolific quarterback. He’s in the process of becoming better, and with the competition with Blaysin, he’s become better at this point in time. I think that’s why he’s our guy.”

Against Sheldon C.E. King the previous Friday, Lange completed 3 of 5 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Lange’s first test — and Nederland’s, for that matter — comes Friday against a Mustangs team that’s very experienced on both sides of the ball.

“We can’t give us what we need, and that’s the kind of speed West Orange has, the kind of physicality they have,” Neumann said. “We’ve got some of that against Crosby, and we tried to relate some of that during the week for practice and remember how it was against Crosby. Like I said, until we get on the field with West Orange, we’re going to learn what that’s all about Friday night.”

Nederland has five starters returning on each side from last year’s District 22-5A co-championship, the fifth straight shared or outright for the Bulldogs. West Orange-Stark was 15-1 last season and has been to the past two 4A Division II title games while owning a 25-8 all-time advantage against Nederland.

“The best thing you can say about a program is sustained success,” Neumann said. “West Orange has been good about as long as I remember. Coach Thompson and his staff do a great job. They’ve been there a long time. They know the culture. They helped develop a culture. We’ve known them a long time. We’re being tested by the absolute best in all ways which you play the game of football.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

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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