Laday to start for Bulldogs

Published 11:02 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016

NEDERLAND — Marshall Lange told Nederland coaches about an ankle injury during halftime of last Friday’s 24-23 Bulldogs’ loss to Dayton at home.
Just like that, Kevin Laday became the next man up.
In his Bulldogs debut, the junior threw for two touchdowns and nearly willed Nederland all the way back from a 21-7 halftime deficit. That’s what intense preparation after not even a full preseason camp behind him did for him.
“It’s not about me,” Laday said. “It’s about the people around me and who helped me make it easy for me to absorb. I give all the credit to the coaches and getting me ready for that preparation and getting me ready for that type of predicament I was in.”
Laday came in as the Bulldogs’ No. 3 quarterback at camp after transferring from Port Arthur Memorial. Lange, also a junior, won the starting job over sophomore Blaysin Fernandez, but Laday now finds himself as the starter for Nederland’s District 22-5A opener this Friday against Livingston (1-1).
Quite a scenario for Nederland’s homecoming night.
“He was impressive,” Bulldogs coach Larry Neumann said. “He had his moments when we wasn’t too impressive. For the little bit of work he’s hard, he looked pretty good and he’ll get the start this week.”
Laday has made steady progress since joining the Bulldogs for just the second week of preseason camp last month, and Neumann has acknowledged his ability to pick up much of the team’s playbook mentally in a short amount of time.
“We’ll invest more time in his preparation,” Neumann said. “The only way you can do that is have him with the first team accordingly with the starter. You only get three days to do the most you can.”
Neumann thought it was premature to say how much Laday could digest in three days before the Livingston game, but added before Tuesday’s practice he was learning pretty quickly. Laday completed 6 of 10 passes for 81 yards, helping an offense that was shutout in its season opener at West Orange-Stark.
“I just think generally, we played better all the way around,” Neumann said. “A little cleaner in regards to just managing the game and being a little more in sync. We still need to be smarter about the mistakes we’re making. We had some late hits. We had a punt hit one of our players. Sometimes that’s unavoidable, but you can’t take that approach. You’ve got to go try and fix it.”
Laday is ready to try his hand starting at quarterback for a defending district co-champion when the games matter the most.
“I’m very confident in this team and we will do what we do,” he said.
I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

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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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