There are wins, and there are victories, and then there is what the Nederland football team accomplished Saturday afternoon.
Excluding a game in which their opponent forfeited last season, the Panthers had not come out on top of a contest since the middle of the 2011 season. That’s 24 straight games in which NHS took a loss, and quite frankly not many of those were very close.
But the team finally put that streak to rest at home against West Grand in Ned’s second game of the year, earning a dominant 42-12 triumph over the Mustangs.
The Panthers racked up 277 yards on the ground, 153 coming from senior Jaron Dillon. And quarterback Mike Wood added 78 rushing yards to go along with 91 through the air and two passing touchdowns.
After surrendering a big score on West Grand’s opening play from scrimmage to go down 6-0, it seemed as if NHS was in for another long afternoon. But the team refused to fold and clawed its way back for the big W.
“It was a play action pass, 80 yards to the tight end for six,” coach Aaron Jones said of the WGHS score. “But guys just rallied and did not throw in towel.
“It was a great performance by our defense and set us up on offense. We kept our foot on the gas pedal and got great momentum. Every kid on the team made plays.”
With a win under its belt, Nerderland now has its sights set on earning another next week. That one might be more challenging, as it battles mighty Vail Christian. But the Panthers’ coach is certain the team is up for the task.
“We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time and we played lights out,” he said. “We feel like we’re right back in championship mix if we can win this game.”
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NEDERLAND 42, WEST GRAND 12
At Nederland H.S.
West Grand (1-1) 6 0 0 6 — 12
Nederland (1-1) 8 16 10 8 — 42
Nederland — Jaron Dillon 10 run (Mike Wood run).
Ned — Ike Thibedeau 15 pass from Wood (Dillon run).
Ned — Dillon 21 run (Thibedeau pass from Wood).
Ned — Safety.
Ned — Thibedeau 20 pass from Wood (Quin Kuechenmeister pass from Wood).
Ned — Ken Shankey 3 run (Kellen Sequeira run).
RUSHING — Nederland: Dillon 19-153, Wood 11-78, Sequeira 7-36, Ridnell 2-22, Shankey 3-10, Kuechenmeister 1-0, Christian McClain 9-78.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Nederland: Wood 9-14-0-91. Sequeira 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Nederland: Thibedeau 5-73, Trig Campbell 1-5, Kuechenmeister 3-13.