NEDERLAND -- Despite having been decimated by injuries throughout the night, the Nederland football team seemed to be in a comfortable position minutes into the fourth quarter of its home opener. The Panthers held a 22-8 edge over KIPP Collegiate, and had thus far been able to contain their opponent despite being outnumbered and outsized.
Unfortunately for NHS, 32 minutes of playing at such great disadvantages proved to be too tough a task.
Nederland went on to surrender 26 points in the final frame, the last of them coming on an interception by KIPP's Antonio Loera that he returned 35 yards for a touchdown to break a 28-28 tie and complete the comeback for a 34-28 KIPP win. But the fact that the Panthers were able to put a complete offensive unit on the field at that point in the game was a minor miracle in itself.
NHS, which started with only 21 players in uniform, lost no less than six of them by the end of the game. Head coach Aaron Jones was forced to make due with using players at unfamiliar spots, which limited the number of sets he could implement.
The number of changes and rotations would prove deadly for the Panthers, who had several miscues down the stretch that opened the door for KIPP to take advantage and ultimately steal the win.
Fortunately, the Panthers enter a bye week and will have some time to recuperate before their next game, Sept. 15 against Clear Creek.
And if Panthers are unable to heal in time for their next contest?
"I guess I'll have to go recruit some more kids to come play football," Jones said.
KIPP 34, Nederland 28
At Nederland H.S.
KIPP (1-0) 0 0 8 26 -- 34
Nederland (0-1) 0 14 2 12 -- 28
Nederland -- Dillon Weaver 11 pass from Michael Wood (Weaver kick).
Nederland -- Connor Steele 5 pass from Wood (Weaver kick).
KIPP -- Loera 1 run (Alcala run).
Nederland -- Holden Reecer safety.
Nederland -- Steele 20 pass from Reecer (run failed).
KIPP -- Alcala 3 run (Alcala run).
Nederland -- Reecer 60 run (run failed).
KIPP -- Alcala 74 kick off return (run failed).
KIPP -- Alcala 10 run (run failed).
KIPP -- Loera 35 interception return (run failed).
RUSHING -- Nederland: Reecer 12-120, Steele 13-50, Wood 5-(-7), Adam O'Melia 6-47, TJ Bolt 1-8.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) -- Nederland: Wood 8-15-1-136, Reecer 1-5-2-20.
RECEIVING -- Nederland: Reecer 1-7, Steele 3-30, Weaver 4-109, O'Melia 1-10.