Bulldogs’ playoff hopes stay alive
Bulldogs 35, Raiders 21
Lumberton 14 0 0 7 – 21
Nederland 7 14 7 7 – 35
Lumb — Brett Marcantel 66 run (Kaleb Karr kick), 9:53
Ned — Blaysin Fernandez 4 run (Travis Wiedenfeld kick), 7:31
Lumb — Taylor Kersh 58 run (Karr kick), 2:56
Ned — Connor Perkins 9 run (Wiedenfeld kick), 11:55
Ned — Perkins 53 pass from Marshall Lange (Wiedenfeld kick), 7:11
Ned — Devon Simmons 3 run (Wiedenfeld kick), 1:26
Lumb — Michael Mott 3 run (Karr kick), 5:17
Ned — Simmons 8 run (Wiedenfeld kick), 3:01
First downs 15 16
Rushes-yards 46-225 27-231
Passing yards 65 100
Total yards 290 331
Comp-Att-Int 5-14-2 7-14-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 2-20 3-35
RUSHING — Lumb: Brett Marcantel 19-81, Taylor Kersh 1-58, Keaton Upshaw 15-54; Ned: Devon Simmons 21-177, Ryan LeLeux 5-41.
PASSING — Lumb: Marcantel 5-14-2, 65; Ned: Marshall Lange 6-13-0, 93, Blaysin Fernandez 1-1-0, 7.
RECEIVING — Lumb: Houston Sonnier 2-42; Ned: Connor Perkins 2-60, Dean Fisher 2-16, Devon Simmons 2-15, Reid Garrett 1-5.
NEDERLAND — The easiest way for the Nederland Bulldogs to make the playoffs in 2016 is staring them in the face next Friday.
Nederland beat Lumberton 35-21 Friday and then learned Central destroyed Livingston 50-21. The large Jaguars’ win shifts the point differential in favor of Central should the three teams be tied in the standings after next week.
Nederland, as it stands, is 4-3 in the District 22-5A standings and Livingston and Central are both 3-4.
The Bulldogs have a date with Port Neches-Groves at The Reservation. Livingston hosts the 1-5 Ozen Panthers and Central plays at the 0-6 Baytown Lee Ganders.
Nederland’s best chance is to knock off PNG and finish a game ahead of the other two. The Bulldogs’ only way to get in with a loss is if Ozen beats Livingston.
So basically, Mid-County Madness has an extra spice this year.
The Bulldogs have played with a sense of urgency for the last month and it proved again to be the difference against the Raiders.
“It is stressful, but we did our stuff like we stopped shaving because it’s playoffs,” offensive lineman Corbin Smith said. “It is liberating because we don’t hold anything back now. It is do-or-die every game.”
Nederland coach Larry Neumann will coach in his 24th game against PNG and realizes the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes is just another reason this matchup is special.
“It will be a packed crowd with electricity in the air,” Neumann said. “We are going to prepare like we do every year. If we can get it into the fourth quarter, then we expect it to be won on the last play. That is how we prepare for this game every year. If you don’t prepare for it to come down to the last play in this type of game, in my opinion, you are not preparing properly. This is not another game. It is the Port Neches-Groves game.”
The Bulldogs got 177 yards and two touchdowns out of junior running back Devon Simmons on Friday. Nederland’s defense stepped up in the second half to slow down Lumberton.
The Raiders had 244 yards at the break and finished with 290. The Bulldogs were up 21-14 at half after having 198 yards of offense.
Nederland was dealt another scary injury when Friday’s starting quarterback, Blaysin Fernandez, scored a touchdown and did not get off the grass of the end zone. He was taken off on a stretcher and was diagnosed with a dislocated hip. He had it set in place later Friday night.
Junior Marshall Lange stepped in for Fernandez and went 6-of-13 for 93 yards with a 53-yard touchdown strike to senior receiver Connor Perkins to put the Bulldogs up 21-14 in the second.
Nederland sophomore defensive back Noah Lewis had his fifth and sixth interceptions of the season. His second pick of the night wrapped up the victory for the Bulldogs.
“We came into the game with a playoff mentality,” Lewis said. “We knew if we didn’t win it would probably be the end of the year. We are used to this type of football now. This is the third or fourth week we have had to play playoff football. It’s working for us.”
Gabriel Pruett: 721-2435. Twitter: @PaNews Gabe