Bulldogs draw closer, but still not enough

Published 1:38 am Saturday, September 3, 2016

NEDERLAND — The Nederland Bulldogs played better Friday night than they did last week in Larry Neumann’s mind.

The longtime coach knows there were still too many self-inflicted problems that kept the Bulldogs from winning. Dayton defeated Nederland 24-23 at Bulldog Stadium Friday in Nederland’s last tune-up before next week’s District 22-5A opener at home against Livingston.

This is the third straight year the Bulldogs start the year 0-2.

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“We are still doing some things that are self-inflicted that hurt us really bad in the first half,” Neumann said. “We will work hard on those again next week and I take the blame for those. We have to be able to not let punts hit us and not get late hits. That is all about coaching and I am going to try and be a better coach next week.”

The problems for Nederland got started with a punt gone wrong. Dayton was punting with the game tied at 7-7 and the punt was not a good one. All Nederland players were trying to get out of the punt, but it hit one of the Bulldogs players and Dayton recovered the ball.

It took one play for the Broncos (1-1) to pounce on the

opportunity. Quarterback Trevin Marcrum hit Lagarious McQuirter for a 39-yard touchdown pass to give the Broncos a 14-7 lead.

The problems even bled into the fourth quarter, with Nederland making a run to taking the lead.

Nederland had picked up two points off a safety to make it 24-23 with 2:34 left in the game.

The Broncos then free kicked the ball back to the Bulldogs, who took over on their own 45-yard line.

Receiver Connor Perkins hauled in a 28-yard pass from Kevin Laday. It came two plays before Nederland was backed up 10 yards for holding, making a field goal attempt by Travis Wiedenfeld right on the edge of his range.

Wiedenfeld’s attempt came up short, and the Broncos were able to run out the clock.

“It should have never come down to that field goal attempt,” Neumann said.

Laday, a transfer from Port Arthur Memorial, came into the game after halftime in place of starter of Marshall Lange. Neumann said Lange was bothered by an ankle injury at halftime.

“Somehow he (Lange) twisted his ankle right before half,” Neumann said. “He was limping around the dressing room and it was giving him some discomfort. We felt like it was better to have in an able-bodied guy who is not totally ready to manage our game. That is not his fault because he (Laday) has not been with us long.”

Neumann did not seem certain, mainly because of the injury, which quarterback would start against Livingston.

“We will find out what is going on with Lange’s body,” Neumann said. “We will watch the video and watch both their performances. We will do our best to put the best football team on the field and we will figure that out against Livingston.”

Laday’s first pass attempt went for a 24-yard touchdown to running back Devon Simmons. The touchdown made it 21-14 Dayton with 9:24 left in the third.

Dayton would tack on a field goal to make it 24-14 a couple of series before Perkins made the catch of the night.

Perkins went up between two Dayton defenders for a 6-yard touchdown reception from Laday to bring Nederland to within 24-20 with 10:37 left in the game.

Laday finished his night with 81 yards on 6-of-10 passing and two touchdowns. Lange had 63 yards on 8-of-14 passing with one interception.

Simmons scored Nederland’s first touchdown of the night on a 55-yard run to tie the game at 7-7 with 53 seconds left in the first quarter. Simmons had a monster night with 172 yards on 21 carries.

“He isn’t the biggest guy but he is hard to bring down,” Neumann said.

McQuirter was equally as impressive for Dayton. The receiver had 114 yards on six catches and three touchdowns.

Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe

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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