Routine helps Bulldogs recover from Imelda

Published 12:17 am Friday, September 27, 2019

NEDERLAND — When Tropical Storm Imelda impacted the city, the Nederland Bulldogs helped out, like many student-athletes across Southeast Texas.

“There were 18 of them at a guy’s house,” Bulldogs coach Monte Barrow said. “We didn’t know him and he didn’t know any of us, but they were there helping him out. We had guys at other teammates’ houses helping them out. That’ll go so much further than any game they’ll play this year.”

Yet, if Nederland can break its 0-3 start to the season tonight at Santa Fe (1-2), it could be the spark that will help the Bulldogs take their season further.

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“We’re coming at district hard,” junior receiver and safety Rene Cunningham said. “We’re coming different. It’s district, so we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.”

Getting to play again will bring the Bulldogs a relief from reality, Barrow surmises. Now that the off-week is behind them, he points to the team’s game-week routine that adds a sense of normalcy in a football-happy town.

“It’s what you know, especially if you coached it a long time,” Barrow said. “It’s just what you know to do that week, versus, what are you doing when there’s water rising at your home? For the kids, they’ve been conditioned to a routine during the week and they know what they have at this time, and what they have at this time. I think that’s good for them.

“What we keep preaching to the kids is that you have to do the work first, Monday through Thursday. We got back doing that Monday morning, and hopefully we’ll bring that to Friday night.”

Nederland will face one more challenge before visiting Santa Fe’s Indian Stadium, and that is the road. The 2-hour trip is the longest Nederland will have faced this regular season, but the Bulldogs won’t have to navigate the damaged San Jacinto Bridge on Interstate 10.

Santa Fe is coming off a 21-17 win over Brazoswood on Sept. 13, after double-digit losses at Pasadena Dobie and at Tomball. The Indians’ offense is producing the least amount of yards per game in District 12-5A Division II at 174.7 yards per game, about half of Nederland’s output, with junior Alex Trevino (38 carries, 159 yards, two touchdowns) leading the ground game.

Still, Barrow sees a similarity in both teams’ style of play.

“Just in how they play the game,” he said. “I think they try to get kids to play bigger than they are, which is what we’ve done around here for a long time. They’re not trying to have one kid win the game for them on either side of the ball or the kicking game. That’s hard to beat if you’re doing everything right.”

Doing everything right is a key for the Bulldogs, which have lost both of its fumbles this season but recovered three of the opponents’ five. Nederland quarterback Bryce McMorris has three touchdown passes against five interceptions, and the Bulldogs are the only team in 12-5A-II that has not picked off a pass.

“We’ve got to play together and we can’t have any mistakes,” senior receiver Bryson Garrett said. “We can’t give them so many chances to get the ball and score.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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