Neville showed why their a consistent top-five team in the state in Minden on Friday night.
Despite the score, Minden was in the game for the entire first half. The Tide put together consistently impressive drives, but red-zone turnovers ultimately cost Minden a shot at an upset.
“We moved the ball well,” Minden coach Spencer Heard said. “In the box I don’t feel like we were out-matched or anything. We stopped their run pretty efficiently.”
Neville scored 21 unanswered points in the first half while shutting down the Tide attack to head into the second half firmly in the lead.
Minden had their chances, but Neville picked off Minden’s Trenton McLaughlin twice in the red zone in the first half. The Tide also fumbled in the red zone in the first half, giving Neville more than enough to work with en route to the win.
“Turnovers hurt momentum, and then Neville had some explosive plays as well in the passing game that ended up costing us,” Heard said.
Neville quarterback Andrew Brister finished the game with 247 and three touchdowns on 14-of-17 passing.
Brister’s 53-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter was the play of the night, though the Tide defense did put a few good licks on Neville’s skill position players, especially early.
“The takeaway is that we need to take that next step mentally,” Heard said. “Big games, especially when adversity strikes, we have to remain calm and stay the course.”
Minden found the end zone in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard pass from McLaughlin to Kentravion Lister.
Neville’s Max Hunter led all rushers with 116 yards on 19 carries. Lieric Robinson led the Tide with 57 yards on 13 carries.
“Physically we held up really well against a very good team,” Heard said. “Inside the box we held our own.”
Seth Johnson had another 100+ yard receiving night, with three catches for 109 yards. Neville gained 435 yards total, the most Minden has allowed this season.
Neville improves to 5-2, the same record as Minden.
It doesn’t get any easier for Minden going forward. The Tide travel to #4 Bastrop on Friday.
“It’s a long road trip and another district game,” Heard said. “Bastrop is a little bit different from Neville. They have a big quarterback and they like to get him going in the run game some. We just want to try and contain their explosive plays.”
Heard said the key, as always, is for the Tide to focus on the Tide.
“Offensively we just need to get back to what we do and focus on us,” he said. “Hopefully we can gain some advantages in the field-position game and on special teams.
“We’ve traveled to Mansfield and Parkway. Also, being out of school on break is a good time for us to recalibrate and work on us.”