Nederland Bulldogs game decided late in 4th quarter at Dayton

Published 10:37 pm Friday, September 29, 2023

DAYTON — KJ Tezeno’s juggling touchdown catch with 2:54 remaining in the fourth quarter lifted the Nederland Bulldogs to a 34-30 win over the host Dayton Broncos on Friday evening.

Tezeno hauled in a 47-yard pass from quarterback Ayden Sunday, bobbling the ball for a second before securing it firmly while being harassed by a Dayton defender as the Broncos improved to 2-3 overall and 2-0 in division play.

“There was no doubt in my mind that KJ was going to catch that ball,” Sunday said. “I had total trust in him.”

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Sunday threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 86 yards and a touchdown as the Bulldogs earned their first road win of the year.

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“This was a great team win,” Nederland coach Monte Barrow said. “We came up with some big plays on offense, and our defense did a tremendous job against a potent offensive team.”

The first quarter featured plenty of scoring with each team recording a pair of touchdowns to end the first quarter tied at 14. Dayton struck first on a 5-yard run by quarterback Denim Foster just 79 seconds into the game.

The Bulldogs responded just 2:16 later on a 59-yard run by Sunday. Foster scored on another 5-yard TD run with 1:30 left in the period before Sunday hit Thomas with a 75-yard scoring strike only 11 seconds later.

The second quarter saw only one touchdown, but both teams benefitted from the TD. Thomas scored on a 10-yard run for Nederland, but Lance Resch’s PAT attempt was blocked and Dayton’s Dawson Victorian raced the length of the field to give the Broncos two points to make it 20-16 Nederland.

“We knew Dayton was capable of making some big plays,” Barrow said. “To win this game, we had to make some big plays of our own.”

The teams traded TDs in the third quarter before Dayton took a 30-26 lead nine seconds into the fourth quarter on a 31-yard pass from Foster to Dawson Victorian. Both teams failed to generate much offense for the rest of the quarter until Tezeno’s TD catch. Sunday added the icing on the cake by hitting Aiden Hewitt for the two-point conversion to make it 34-30.

Dayton had one last chance, but turned the ball over on downs, allowing Nederland to end the game in victory formation.

“We’re going to enjoy this win tonight and tomorrow, but we’re right back to work on Sunday,” Tezeno said.

The Bulldogs return home to host Santa Fe in a division game at 7 p.m. Friday.

Nederland 34, Dayton 30 

Nederland           14           6             6             8     —  34

Dayton                 14           2             7             7      — 30

First Quarter 

Day – Foster 5 run (Montes kick), 10:41.

Ned – Sunday 59 run (Resch kick), 8:25.

Day – Foster 5 run (Montes kick), 1:30.

Ned – Thomas 75 pass from Sunday (Resch kick), 1:19.

Second Quarter 

Ned – Thomas 10 run (kick failed), 2:35.

Day – Victorian returns blocked extra point, 2:35.

Third Quarter 

Ned – Mitchell 8 run (kick failed), 7:32.

Day – Breaux 67 pass from Foster (Montes kick), 3:30.

Fourth Quarter 

Day – Victorian 31 pass from Foster (Montes kick), 11:05.

Ned – Tezeno 47 pass from Sunday (Hewitt pass from Sunday), 2:54.

— Written by Pat Murray