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Are Bulldogs going up from here? Trip to Dayton awaits

NEDERLAND (1-4, 1-1) AT DAYTON (1-4, 0-2)

12-5A-II; 7:30 TONIGHT, BRONCO STADIUM, WEST HOUSTON STREET AT TEXAS 146, DAYTON; KLVI-AM 560

NEDERLAND — Throughout the season, Nederland coach Monte Barrow has stressed only being able to control what the Bulldogs can control.

With the lightning-delayed homecoming loss to Barbers Hill behind them, the Bulldogs (1-4, 1-1) still have five games, counting tonight’s trip to Dayton, to control their playoff destiny.

“Both teams had the same factors before the game with the delays and stuff,” Barrow said. “We made sure when the game was over, we weren’t going to look back and use those as excuses, one way or the other.”

Barrow’s concern coming off a 26-point loss to Barbers Hill was that the Bulldogs found ways to hurt themselves. After 12 minutes of play, the Eagles were ahead 20-0 and went on to hold the Bulldogs to 59 first-half yards.

Barrow didn’t blame the loss on the weather.

“As far as mistakes or penalties or before the snap or after the play’s over, those are things we can control,” he said. “Some of the others have to do with who you’re playing. When you’re blocking a guy, you feel like you have to grab onto him a little longer or something of that effect. There’s a guy you want to hold up because you’re afraid he’s going to run by you. That may have something to do with that as well.”

The Bulldogs will visit a Dayton team that has yet to score in district play following a 44-0 loss to Crosby. The Broncos (1-4, 0-2) have struggled on offense at 186.4 yards per game, with Nederland (321.2) holding a sizeable advantage.

With the help of district-leading passer Bryce McMorris (936 yards and eight touchdowns on 61-of-114 passing), Nederland has three players among the top 10 receivers in the district (sophomore Kyndon Fuselier second, junior Josh Mazyck tied for seventh and junior Rene Cunningham tied for ninth).

“They’re in a new offense, from what they’ve done in the past,” Barrow said of the Broncos, led by junior Davin Lee’s 176 yards on 17 carries. “Offensively, what jumps off at you first is the quarterback [junior Christopher Olige, 17-of-48 passing for 217 yards with two touchdowns]. He’s touching the ball every time. He’s a dangerous guy with the football, and he has it in his hands all the time.”

Dayton runs some option, Barrow added, so the Bulldogs will focus on assignment defense as well.

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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