Nederland makes big statement

Published 12:58 am Saturday, October 8, 2016

By Tommy Mann Jr.
Special to The News

NEDERLAND — With the game on the line and the clock ticking, Nederland did what it does best and played smashmouth football en route to a 28-21 victory over the Central Jaguars on Friday night.

With the Jaguars tying the game 21-21 with 6:33 remaining in the game, the Bulldogs marched 57 yards while chewing up nearly five minutes of the clock before running back Devon Simmons sprinted around the left end and made a diving lunge for the pylon and a touchdown and a 28-21 lead with 1:38 left in the contest.

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Central, led by quarterback Chris Boudreaux, made a valiant attempt at moving the ball down the field, but a last gasp pass on a deep post was picked off by Nederland defensiveback Noah Lewis to seal the Nederland victory.

“Our offensive line really took the game over in the second-half,” Nederland coach Larry Neumann said. “Those five guys had had enough and knew what we needed to do, and they came out and did it.”

Initially it looked as if the Bulldogs would run away with the game as Nederland jumped out to a 14-0 lead with 6:40 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs were the beneficiaries of two short-field drives.

Following a punt from the Jaguars 3-yard line, the Bulldogs began its first drive from the Central 31-yard line. It only took four plays and 76 seconds before quarterback Marshall Lange connected with Dean

Fisher in the left corner of the end zone for a 19-yard scoring strike and a 7-0 lead.

Central fumbled on the second play of its next drive and the Bulldogs took over at the Jaguars 27-yard line. Again, Lange wasted little time as he found Reid Garrett for a 15-yard touchdown pass in a four-play, 80 second scoring drive.

The Central offense found its groove on its next series and marched the ball 75 yards while chewing 5:13 off the clock. Facing fourth-and-goal from the Bulldogs 10-yard line, Boudreaux found senior runningback Juwan Mitchell in the end zone to cut the Bulldogs lead to 14-6 following the failed two-point conversion.

Neither team could get much traction in the second quarter as each team suffered costly penalties and lack of offensive production during the quarter.

With the start of the third quarter, the Bulldogs offense and its offensive line set the tone with an 80-yard scoring drive which chewed up 6:51 off the clock.

Early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs moved Garrett to quarterback in a Wildcat-style package. In the third quarter, the momentum began to shift to Nederland’s benefit and the running game began opening up. Coach Neumann used a mix of Lange and Garrett at quarterback throughout the contest to keep the

Jaguars defense off-balance and it paid off as Garrett punched the ball in for a score on a 1-yard quarterback keeper and a 21-6 lead.

Central’s explosive offense was kept in check most of the night, but, on the third play of the following drive, Jaguars runningback Theodrick Foster sprinted right through the heart of the Nederland defense on his way to a 57-yard touchdown to cut the Bulldogs lead to 21-13 with 3:47 remaining in the third quarter.

Nederland looked as if it was ready to add to its lead, but the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs following a failed fourth and 1 attempt at the Central 28-yard line.

Central took possession and began moving the ball before the drive appeared to stall. Facing a fourth down and 11 to go, Nederland was called for pass interference in the end zone which gave the Jaguars a new set of downs. On the next play, runningback Deshon Moreaux scooted in from the 11-yard line to knot the game.

“Our team doesn’t always play great, but they play hard,” Neumann added. “They still have the heart of a champion and I’m really proud of them. Central is a good football team, so we all feel a lot of satisfaction with this win after what we’ve been dealing with lately as a team. We just have to stay the course and take the rest of the games one at a time.”

Nederland (2-5, 2-3) will travel to Beaumont next week to face the Ozen Panthers (1-4, 1-3) at 2 p.m., Saturday. Central (2-4, 1-3) will host the Lumberton Raiders at 7 p.m., Friday, in Beaumont.