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Thursday “great” night for playoff football, Bulldogs coach Barrow says

NEDERLAND — The Nederland Bulldogs are red hot as they enter the playoffs on a six-game win streak after defeating the Crosby Cougars on the road Friday.

The top-seeded Bulldogs (7-2, 6-1 in 12-5A-II) play the fourth-seeded Houston Sterling Raiders (5-4, 5-3 in 11-5A-II) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Bulldog Stadium.

Nederland head coach Monte Barrow said his team is ready for a Thursday night game.

“With this team, you almost don’t want anything the same two weeks in a row because of the way this season has been,” he said. “It has been Friday night at 7. It has been Friday night at 7:30. It has been Saturday at 2. It has been Friday at 2. That’s good because it prepares you for the playoffs. You’re discussing that with the opponent and it could come down to a coin flip between Thursday, Friday or Saturday and either daytime or nighttime.”

Barrow said the team’s mantra has been “adjust and overcome.”

“We’re are excited about playing in the playoffs. Period,” he said. “Thursday is great.”

The Bulldogs’ only losses of the season came during their first game of the season against Lufkin, which was the team’s first game after a coronavirus outbreak sidelined several players. Their only other loss came at the hands of Mid-County rival Port Neches-Groves in a 22-21 thriller in the district opener.

“We just talked about how we are trending in the right direction,” Barrow said. “We’re moving upward, not just with our record, but with our play. We looked at some teams in the past that were doing that and saw that we have a good opportunity to make a run in the playoffs. We have to take advantage of the opportunity, not unlike last Friday night.”

The Bulldogs will face a Raiders squad on the other end of the spectrum after losing their last two games to Fort Bend Willowridge and Fort Bend Marshall, respectively. The Raiders lost 69-14 to Marshall in its most recent game Nov. 27.

“They have a big, big, big quarterback,” Barrow said of Sterling. “I don’t mean big as in fat. I mean big as in a nice-looking young man who can move around. He is very athletic with a big arm, like the Crosby quarterback from last week. We’ll have to do a good job of trying to keep him on his spot.”

The Raiders use multiple fronts on defense to confuse opposing offenses, Barrow said.

“You turn on different games and they are in different fronts with different coverages,” he said. “You have to prepare for all of them, but if you prepare too much, you aren’t spending time getting better at any of them. We’ll narrow it down to what we think they will try to do, but we have to go out, be ourselves and do what we do.”

Barrow said not having to get on a bus for a playoff game is a huge advantage.

“You know the routine. You know the dressing room,” Barrow said. “All of those things help. Your fan base of people who can’t travel or maybe don’t want to in this time, and on a Thursday, can come to the game. It’s great to be in Bulldog Stadium anytime you can.”

The winner takes on second-seeded Pine Tree or third-seeded A&M Consolidated in the area round next week.

 

HOUSTON STERLING (5-4) AT NEDERLAND (7-2) 5A DIVISION II BI-DISTRICT; 7:30 P.M. THURSDAY, BULLDOG STADIUM; KLVI-AM 560

Final District 12-5A

Division II standings

Team                                       Dist.   Over.

Nederland                              6-1       7-2

Crosby                                   6-1       7-3

Barbers Hill                             5-2       5-3

Port Neches-Groves           4-3       5-5

Kingwood Park                        3-4       4-6

Texas City                              3-4       3-6

Santa Fe                                 1-6       2-8

Dayton                                    0-7       0-10

 

Thursday

Houston Sterling at Nederland

PNG at Fort Bend Marshall

Fort Bend Willlowridge at Crosby

 

Friday

Barbers Hill at Galena Park