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Bulldogs not looking past Tigers in non-district finale

NEDERLAND — With one non-district game left on the schedule, the Nederland Bulldogs will take on Silsbee at Bulldog Stadium.

After the Bulldogs play the Tigers, they will have a bye week before playing rival Port Neches-Groves.

Nederland Head Coach Monte Barrow said his team has to focus on the task at hand.

“We know what we have to face this week with Silsbee,” he said. “Every year we play them, they jump out at you on video. They are very well coached and fundamentally sound. You have to stop the run, but they can throw it deep and have athletes that can run and go get it. That is what they did against Vidor a lot. It is a physical form of football not unlike we prepared for in West Orange a couple of weeks ago.”

Nederland has dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak on the JV team that has resulted in eight players testing positive over the course of the season. Barrow said the teams have done their best to mitigate the spread by limiting exposure between the JV and varsity.

“You do what you can do, and the other things will happen as they may,” he said. “We do the best we can to prevent things. There are kids that wear the mask. Kyndon (Fuselier) comes down to athletics with masks and a few others because they know what can happen.”

The Bulldogs are coming off a 41-6 win over Houston Austin, but the head coach said the players cannot let the win go to their heads.

“We keep in front of them what is coming down the line,” he said. “It wasn’t about Houston Austin and ultimately, it is not about Silsbee. It is about getting ready for district. Obviously our focus this week is Silsbee… We know when district starts and we know who district starts with, but we are not getting ahead of ourselves.”

Silsbee is coming off a forced bye week after Week 2 opponent Jasper canceled the game following a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Tigers were not able to reschedule a new opponent, leaving the coaching staff and players anxious to get back on the football field.

“It hurt us not having a game,” Silsbee Head Coach Randy Smith said. “We have only played one game, and the best way to get in game shape is to actually play games. That is a big part of it. We are excited to be able to get to play.”

The Tigers dropped their first game of the season to Vidor in a 51-48 loss.

Smith said Nederland looks good on film.

“They are big up front, especially on the offensive line,” he said. “They have the really good receiver and we are concerned about that. They have two really, really good linebackers. (Gage Driskell and Jaice Beck) are really good at linebacker. We have our hands full. We want to try and keep it close until the fourth quarter, hang on and make a game out of it.”

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bulldog Stadium. Those who are not able to attend the game can catch it on the radio at KLVI-AM 560 or can watch the live stream on the Sheffield Productions YouTube page.