Nederland running back Hubert Thomas brings speed, big-play ability to Bulldog offense

Published 12:16 am Friday, September 1, 2023

NEDERLAND — During last year’s contest against Memorial, Nederland running back Hubert Thomas had a breakout game with 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground.

That game launched a successful sophomore campaign that has carried him into this season.

In the opening game against West Orange-Stark last week, Thomas took his first carry of the season 76 yards for a score.

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He finished the game with more than 150 yards rushing.

His performance last year against the Titans left an impression on Memorial Head Coach Brian Morgan, who said containing the speedster was a priority for the defense.

In last year’s matchup, Thomas broke off runs of 75 and 69 yards for touchdowns. A few games later, Thomas dealt with a nagging injury for the remainder of the season.

Nederland head coach Monte Barrow said he knew he could run with the best of them after putting up that performance against Memorial.

“We know the types of players Port Arthur puts on the field year after year,” Barrow said. “Any time you can have a breakout game against a team like that, no one can say that it was because of the competition.”

While Thomas can run, Barrow classified the back’s speed as deceptive.

“One of our coaches said it doesn’t look like he is running, but he is usually not getting caught,” Barrow said. “He has a knack for staying up and getting extra yards after contact.”

Barrow said Thomas is also one of the team’s best receivers.

“We didn’t split him out as much the other night, but there will be times throughout the year, especially when the district race starts, where he will be out there,” Barrow said. “He can provide matchup problems for people. Getting him the ball in space verses at running back is a bit different. We are looking to use him in different ways.”

Thomas’ versatility also allows him to help on the defensive side of the ball, where the Bulldogs line him up at safety on passing situations. Barrow said Thomas could also be useful in redzone defensive situations later in the season.

The running back said he is more comfortable in 2023 and added he feels like the game has slowed down, adding he can see holes develop quicker, which makes him more decisive.

The usually reserved junior wants to lead the district in rushing and is aiming at a state run for the Bulldogs.