In a game of explosive plays, Nederland had one more than Vidor, and that was good enough to propel the Bulldogs to a 20-13 victory.
The win was an exciting way for Nederland and a disappointing way for Vidor to kickoff District 20-4A play at Ivan Croak Field at Pirate Stadium.
“Behind the hype on this game, the circumstances around this game, you would have though the momentum would be with them,” Nederland head coach Larry Neumann said. “To prevail in this environment, in this tough place to play, is special. We’ve been here before. We knew what a quality team they had. They played excellent football tonight.”
Vidor’s offense is built on misdirection and breaking big gainers but it was Nederland’s offense that controlled the first half. Though the Bulldogs only scored one touchdown, they dominated the time of possession and held Vidor to just 18 offensive plays.
“These are two good teams who play a hard, clean game,” Vidor head coach Jeff Mathews said. “Our whole game plan is to keep their offense off the field. In the first half, they did that to us. We only had 18 plays in the first half, when we’re used to having 36. They did a good job.”
Nederland opened up the game with a 20-yard pass to Colton Kimler, which could have gone for longer if the junior receiver had been able to tightrope the sideline, as he was already behind the last Pirate defender.
Vidor’s defense clamped down on that possession, and Pirate quarterback Montana Quirante was able to break his own long gainer, going 37 yards around the left side to the Nederland 10. It would have been a touchdown run had Bulldog defender Zach Taylor not taken out his feet at the 15.
Nederland stopped the Vidor offense three plays later and forced a Pirate field goal, which was wide left. That was one of a series of special teams mishaps in this game, that included a blocked punt by Vidor and a blocked PAT on their first TD in the second half.
De Shawn Washington was the Nederland defender who got in to block that PAT, as the starting right tackle and defensive end had a big, wearying night.
“I think their defensive line dominated the game,” Mathews said. “I thought we had some schemes to counter that, and obviously it didn’t work. Couron, Malveaux, Pryor and Washington are legit. They hit some big plays. They made more big plays than we did. We made a couple, but in a 20-13 ballgame, they made one more than we did.”
Carson Raines might have been the player of the game, however, as the senior accounted for all three of Nederland’s touchdowns. Raines scored the game’s first points when he found Michael Shaw in the end zone for a 15-yard passing TD with 46 seconds left in the first half.
Raines hit Shaw again in the fourth quarter on a 40-yard hitch route. The senior receiver caught the pass a few yards from the line of scrimmage and then turned up field, outracing three Vidor defenders into the end zone. Raines added a third TD on a 1-yard run that put Nederland up 13-6 in the third quarter.
“Michael’s score really gave us some momentum and picked our whole team up,” Neumann said. “Carson is getting more and more confident. He ran better tonight. He’s starting to do things to extend a play. We tell him that the defense can’t feel good when you’re extending a play. He did a good job of that tonight. He finished his runs well, and gave us a great chance to win.”
With the victory, Nederland now has an 11-game district winning streak. After going undefeated through 20-4A last season, the Bulldogs last lost a 20-4A game in October 2010, a 29-26 loss to Beaumont Central.
Vidor lost for the first time this season, as the Pirates also trailed for the first time this year when Nederland scored in the first half. The Pirates were never able to wrest the lead back from the Bulldogs.
But, they gave it a valiant effort. On Vidor’s second play of the second half, running back Thomas Novak went around the left end of the offense for a 76-yard touchdown, as he outraced all the Bulldog defenders to the end zone.
The PAT would have tied it at that point, had Washington not blocked it. Novak finished with 117 yards on 10 carries. Quirante had 18 carries for 103 yards, including a 1-yard TD run of his own in the fourth quarter.
Down 20-6, the Pirates were able to hold Nederland on a third-and-11 play at the Nederland 12. That set them up at their own 49, but Quirante marched his team down the field on a 15-play drive that was capped with his plunge into the end zone with 1:05 to play.
Vidor then recovered the onside kick and started its final drive at the Nederland 49. Quirante drove them down to the Nederland 24 with less than 10 seconds to play, but Seth Barrow intercepted his pass on the 5-yard line to end the game.
Quirante completed 5 of 16 passes for 61 yards and two interceptions, throwing more than twice as many times in this game as he had all season. Colton Kimler ended the first half with a similar interception of Quirante, his district-leading third of the season.
The entire defensive front worked all night long to slow down Vidor’s Slot T attack. Both linebackers, Jordan Wood and Korbin Stampley finished with nine tackles, while defensive tackle Brock Pryor had eight and fellow DT Caleb Malveaux had six. Senior defensive end Koby Couron and Stampley each had a sack while safety Sage Seay had six tackles.
Offensively, Kendrick Hopkins rushed for 81 yards on 17 carries, picking up hard yards in the middle of the field. The junior back wasn’t brought down by his first tackler seemingly all night.
Nederland (3-1, 1-0) will host Livingston next week while Vidor travels to Beaumont Ozen.
Ned 0 7 6 7 -- 20
Vidor 0 0 6 7 -- 13
NED -- Michael Shaw 15 pass from Carson Raines (Tanner Noel kick), 0:46
VIDOR -- Thomas Novak 76 run (kick blockd), 11:05
NED -- Raines 1 run (run failed), 2:37
NED — Shaw 40 pass from Raines (Noel kick), 10:16
VIDOR — Montana Quirante 1 run (Michael Tamayo kick), 1:05
First downs 13 16
Rushes-yards 39-246 25-111
Passing yards 61 145
Total yards 307 256
Passes 5-16-2 9-15-0
Punts 5-26.2 3-30.3
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 7-50 4-28
RUSHING—Nederland, Kendrick Hopkins17-81, Carson Raines 6-23, Zach Taylor 1-10, Michael Shaw 1-(minus 3). Vidor, Montana Quirante 18-103, Thomas Novak 10-117, Tyler McDaniel 2-1, Michael Godeaux 3-6, Jeremy Stevenson 4-6, D.J. Aull 1-1.
PASSING—Nederland, Raines 9-15-0 145. Vidor, Quirante 5-16-2 61
RECEIVING—Nederland, Michael Shaw 4-58, Taylor 1-55, Seth Barrow 1-10, Colton Kimler 1-20, Hopkins 1-2, Brandon Self 1-0. Vidor, Bryce Cooper 3-34, Aull 1-11, J.B. Smith 1-16.