Nederland seniors happy to describe the end of PNG’s Purple reign

Published 12:48 am Tuesday, September 28, 2021

NEDERLAND — Nederland seniors waited three years to hoist the Bum Phillips Bowl trophy. The last time they defeated Port Neches-Groves in the game was 2017 in a 46-35 victory.

The 2022 senior class had beaten PNG in middle school, but the high school drought ended Friday.

In 2018, PNG beat the Bulldogs 34-21. In 2019, the Bulldogs came close, losing 27-21. Last season, the Bulldogs had the lead and the ball, closing out the game when a fumble gave the ball back to the Indians. PNG drove down the field to win on the last play of the game.

On Friday, the Bulldogs seemed to be on the path to a fourth-straight Bum Phillips Bowl loss before a second-half comeback to win 38-28.

Nederland senior defensive back/receiver Kyndon Fuselier made what could have been the game-changing play.

During the second quarter, PNG was driving in hopes of earning a two-score lead. Fuselier recovered a fumble before scampering down the sideline 70 yards for a touchdown to tie the game, 14-14.

“One of the linebackers hit the quarterback and I just saw the ball on the ground,” Fuselier said. “I scooped it and saw a clear path to the end zone. I just went for it. I could hear the crowd a little bit, but when I see the end zone, that is all I am focused on… At one point I was real close (to stepping out of bounds). I tried to keep my balance all the way.”

Senior linebacker Jaice Beck said the win felt particularly good after last year’s crushing defeat in the final seconds.

“It was a relief,” Beck said. “Last year it was very hard to lose by one point.”

Beck’s favorite play was watching defensive lineman Jacob Kotz seal the game with a pick-six.

“Defensive turnovers were huge and ended the game,” he said.

Fuselier also said he was relieved to not have to worry about beat PNG anymore.

“It felt amazing,” Fuselier said. “That was my first MCM win since I got here. No words could describe that feeling. I had always won against them until I got to high school.”

Fuselier also scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter. After scoring he put his finger over his mouth to hush the opposing student section that had chanted “overrated” towards him earlier in the game.

“It was great,” he said. “They were doing a lot of talking during the game. When I put my finger to my face, it was to put it in their face. I was waiting.”