Bulldogs must focus on Kingwood Park in must-win Thursday matchup

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, October 26, 2021

NEDERLAND — The Nederland Bulldogs will try to end the season strong as the playoff picture comes into focus.

Nederland is coming off a 66-28 loss to Barbers Hill. A win against the Eagles would’ve all but solidified a playoff spot for the Bulldogs, who thry now sit in third place with a three-way tie with Port Neches-Groves and the Eagles with two games remaining.

Nederland (6-2, 3-2 in District 12-5A Division II) plays Kingwood Park (2-6, 1-4) Thursday in Humble. Those not able to make the game can catch the live stream on the Sheffield Productions YouTube page.

The logjam for the third and fourth playoff spots makes these next two weeks critical. Nederland plays Kingwood Park before hosting the district-leading Crosby Cougars. PNG will play the second place Texas City and last-place Santa Fe.

Barbers Hill will play Dayton and Texas City.

If the three-way tie remains, Nederland is on the outside looking in. With each of the three teams beating each other, the next tiebreaker comes down to point differential in the games, making the Bulldogs’ 66-28 loss costly.

Nederland will either need to win out or have one of the other two teams lose twice.

Bulldogs Head Coach Monte Barrow said his team has to focus on Kingwood Park.

“We have to get over it mentally and physically,” he said of Friday’s loss. “We were a little banged up coming into it. We were a lot banged up coming out of it. We had seven starters in the training room Saturday morning. It was a double whammy. That is the rigors of a football season. It just so happens to be right here at the end.”

Barrow will likely give his players more time to rest this week to prepare for Kingwood Park.

“At this point in the season, you aren’t going to out-scheme anyone,” he said. “Our players know what they are supposed to do. It is just about playing now.”

Barrow said most of the seniors took control after the game Friday.

“You can see that they knew what needed to be done,” he said. “They know they will play their last game at some point. They understand what is in front of them. They flipped the switch right there. They know what is at stake for them. Hopefully they will take the reins and lead the younger ones through the rest of the season.”

Nederland’s offense was not able to take advantage of a porous Barbers Hill defense Friday, but will have to show up against the last-ranked Kingwood Park defense Thursday night.

Kingwood Park’s lone district win of the season came Friday in a 46-3 win over Santa Fe. The team also jumped out to a 17-0 lead on PNG before ultimately losing 56-40.

Barrow said his team can’t overlook Kingwood Park in preparation of the season finale against Crosby.

“If you turn on the film and pay attention to Kingwood Park, in uniform, they look as good, or better, than anyone we have played,” he said. “They played everyone tough. They match up well. If we are doing anything but concentrating on them, it will be another long night Thursday.”