Huge halftime lead suffices at Nederland
NEDERLAND — Things just didn’t seem destined to go Nederland’s way Friday night.
Lines piled up outside the stadium because of a lightning delay. And once people were allowed into the stadium, they had to leave because of another delay. Before the night was over, the homecoming ceremony would be delayed and the Bulldog band would be pulled off the field because of a delay. As for the football team, it got lit up on the field.
Barbers Hill took some pent-up aggression from sitting around waiting for the game to start and jumped all over Nederland with a 20-0 lead in the first quarter. It didn’t get much better as Barbers Hill improved to 4-1 and more importantly 2-0 in 12-5A I with a 40-14 win on the road. Christian Kaopua had 190 yards to total offense with two touchdowns in the air to Chris Barrios and one on the ground. The special teams also did some serious work, blocking a punt and scoring touchdowns on a blocked field goal and kick off return off an onside kick.
“Winning here in Nederland was big,” Barbers Hill head coach Tom Westerberg said. “That is a big win for us, the way the kids handled it and the way we started the game.
“I don’t know if they took us lightly. I am not sure but the kids came ready to play.”
The Eagles served notices on their first drive, scoring is just over a minute on a physical Garrett Hagler run of 18 yards to paydirt.
The coaching staff made a concerted effort to get Chris Barrios more involved in the offense and it paid off early. Kaopua hit the tight end for a 9-yard scoring pass. The quarterback also added a 2-yard run on the Eagles’ third possession to extend the lead to 20-0.
Westerberg said the Eagles benefitted from a situation earlier in the season where the start of the game was also delayed.
“We had it at the very first of the year and didn’t handle it very well,” he said. “The coaches did a better job and the kids did a better job. We locked it in and focused pretty good. We handled it very well.”
As the offense rolled down the field, the defense did a solid job of keeping the Bulldogs in check. Aside from one pass downfield, there was little operating room as the Eagles dominated the line of scrimmage and tackled well. Bulldog quarterback Bryce McMorris was under duress and sacked three times, twice by Cavin Brannin and once by Roman Falcon.
Kaopua connected with Barrios for another touchdown allowing Barbers Hill to go into the half with a commanding 27-0 lead.
The Eagles scored twice more in the second half courtesy of special teams play. Branden Heffernen blocked a field goal attempt in the third quarter and Kade McCall scooped it and up and ran 62 yards for the touchdown.
Nederland’s offense avoided the shutout on a 69-yard touchdown pass from McMorris to Kyndon Fuselier. The Bulldogs attempted to press an advantage with an onside kick only to see Rex Thompson take the ball on the bounce and score from 55 yards.
“We are playing very well on special teams and concentrate on it,” Westerberg said. “We work hard on it and I think you can gain some advantage from it if you do.
“It kind of paid off.”
The Eagles will host Baytown Lee at 7:30 p.m. Friday for their homecoming game.
Nederland scored once more with the game no longer in doubt for the final 40-14 tally.