PRUETT COLUMN: Predicting in a bold manner

Published 11:26 pm Saturday, August 20, 2016

Everyone loves to make and read predictions.

Heck, the minute the Final Four is over, there are predictions for the next season’s NCAA champion.

Sports folks love to know what the experts think is going to happen around the leagues.

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Now do not get me wrong here, I would not label myself an expert on Southeast Texas high school football. I am just around the sport a lot and able to make informed opinions.

So to satisfy you my readers, it is time to make some bold predictions about the upcoming season.

Now, before I begin, remember the word “bold.” That means this isn’t necessary what I think is going to happen, but more a thought of what I could see becoming true if all things line up a certain way. So no emails need to be sent saying I don’t like one team or love another team too much.

You get the idea.

Let us start with the Port Arthur Memorial Titans. The bold prediction is Memorial ending the regular season 10-0.

This is bold, considering the Titans have gone 3-7 and missed the playoffs in back-to-back years. If Memorial would go 10-0, it would also mean the Titans swept through District 22-5A and ended Nederland’s five-year reign as the district champion. (Note: The Bulldogs shared the title two years ago with Central and last year with Port Neches-Groves.)

The Titans are a very good football team, much better than the last two seasons. The offense is so very fast and strong up front, and the addition of Elijah Hines at running back is huge for Memorial.

It is going to be hard for opposing defense to pick which weapon to take away.

Memorial’s defense is just as fast as the offense and seems to have an edge about itself this year.

The Titans are more likely to not go 10-0, but it is not out of question either.

Next up are the Bulldogs. The boldest prediction of the group here is that they will struggle to make the playoffs.

Nederland has made the playoffs the last eight years and 20 of the 23 previous years under Larry Neumann. That is insane to think about considering some years only two or three teams made the playoffs.

The Bulldogs are unsettled yet on a quarterback, although Marshall Lange and Blaysin Fernandez both have great qualities about them. Nederland also has to replace the great Austin Krautz at running back.

Throw in the fact two players were dismissed this year, and this could be a year the Bulldogs do the unthinkable — miss the postseason.

Will it happen? I highly doubt it because of the respect I have for Neumann, his coaching staff and the history of the program, but don’t count it out.

The Indians’ bold prediction is PNG will be 9-0 heading into the Bum Phillips Bowl on Nov. 4 against the Bulldogs.

Nederland has won six straight games against PNG dating back to 2009, when the Indians won 23-7.

Could this game get any bigger for both teams? How about the Indians coming in 9-0, with a sophomore quarterback and needing to beat the Bulldogs to claim PNG’s first outright district championship since 2009?

It could happen, and man, the story lines would be plenty.

Have fun with these predictions, and remember I am no expert. I am only a guy with a keyboard who loves to talk sports and all the possibilities that a season brings.

My real predictions come out this Thursday in our preview section. Those picks are what I stand by.

Have a great week, and thank you for playing along each Sunday.

Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe

About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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