Pick-six party: Vincent’s touchdown returns accent Titans’ rout of Bulldogs

Published 1:18 am Saturday, October 1, 2016

Kary Vincent Jr. will look back fondly on this game.

The first time he and Port Arthur Memorial took on Nederland in the schools’ history, the LSU verbal commit returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the first quarter alone.

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The returns highlighted the Titans’ 42-12 victory over a team beset by injuries and controversy.

“Game plan all week was to go out and dominate every position,” Vincent said. “We focused on every phase of the game, offense, defense and special teams. I was just in the right spot at the right time, playing my part.”

The Titans got to show on their first try against a neighboring school in District 22-5A they can dominate a team known for its tradition and longstanding success in the league. The Bulldogs have won or shared the district title each of the past five years, but that streak is now in jeopardy.

“People around here, even in Port Arthur, can tell Nederland has one of the top programs,” Titans coach Kenny Harrison said. “It was big for our kids to show everybody what our program is all about.”

Confusion on a flea-flicker between Nederland starter Blaysin Fernandez and his intended receiver early led to Vincent returning his first pick 65 yards to give the Titans (4-0, 3-0 in 22-5A) a 14-0 lead. As the Titans continued to outmuscle the Bulldogs — Keitha Jones’ breaking a tackle and going 36 yards for a score on a pass from Kadon Harrison, for example — Vincent made his second pick wide open and went 45 yards to make it 28-0, still in the first quarter.

“After watching film, we knew we could put pressure on the quarterback,” Kenny Harrison said. “We could play man-to-man coverage, and if we played man-to-man coverage, we could force them into some turnovers.”

Nederland coach Larry Neumann said the turnovers took the Bulldogs out of their game.

“Self-inflicted,” he described the interceptions. “When you get behind the 8-ball like that, that hurt us first half.”

Those three touchdowns were scored within a minute of each other. Rickey Thomas’ 11-yard touchdown haul opened the scoring at the 6:41 mark of the period.

Distractions, injuries and all, Nederland (2-4, 2-2) wasn’t going away that easily.

Marshall Lange took over for Fernandez after his second pick-six thrown and led the Bulldogs on a 76-yard march capped by a 39-yard scoring strike to Connor Perkins, his only catch of the game.

Perkins left during the game and was taken to Christus St. Elizabeth in Beaumont. Neumann did not have an official diagnosis on the senior.

Dean Fisher turned in the Bulldogs’ highlight reel play of the game with a 19-yard diving catch for a TD in tight 1-on-1 coverage.

Nederland mishandled a snap on an extra point attempt and Lange was sacked on another, however.

“I was proud of the way they fought through the adversity we’re going through right now,” Nederland coach Larry Neumann said. “It’s more than we have in a few years. We’re dealing with it the best we can, and I was proud of that.”

All the momentum the Bulldogs tried to carry into the second half fizzled by the time Kobi Martin spun out of a tackle and rushed 5 yards to make the score 35-12. Nederland did not score in the second half and lost a fumble forced by linebacker Jomard Valsin as he sacked Lange.

De’Andre Angelle’s 66-yard pull-in from Kadon Harrison in the fourth quarter all but wrapped up the Titans’ evening and continued a hot start to the season.

The margin of victory didn’t surprise Kenny Harrison.

“The kids were focused and ready to go,” he said. “They were excited about playing Nederland.”

Said Vincent: “Especially moving down [from 6A], there was all this talk in the area that teams were feeling like they were better than us, but I think we showed the district and everyone else who runs the district.”

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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