Bulldogs prove worth despite season-ending loss

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, November 9, 2021

NEDERLAND — Nederland Bulldogs head coach Monte Barrow said his players have no reason to hang their heads after a competitive game against Crosby ended their season Friday night.

The Bulldogs entered the game as underdogs, but spectators couldn’t tell as the teams entered halftime tied 10-10.

The game ultimately ended 31-17, but Nederland was the only district team to hold the dominant Cougars under 50 points on the season.

“For me, it is about how the kids feel,” Barrow said. “They were disappointed. As a coaching staff, we were very proud of the effort, knowing who we were playing. We hadn’t talked about it much this year, because it is not something you talk about, but we were really beat up this year and very thin as it was. The guys that needed to step up did that. I am super proud of the way they play.”

Last year, the Bulldogs graduated a large chunk of their roster. Barrow knew the team had to overcome a lot of inexperience coming into the season, and was pleased with the outcome.

“We talked to them today about taking time to reflect on the journey they had this year,” he said. “That started back in middle school and came to this senior group. I know each and every one of them have their own story about their journey and that is what they will talk about with each other in 20 or 30 years down the road. That is the way it should be.”

Despite missing the playoffs, Nederland beat rival Port Neches-Groves, snapping a three-game losing streak and gave No. 1 seed Crosby and No. 2 Texas City some of their toughest games of the season.

Barrow is grateful his senior class helped lead and teach the underclassmen.

“I think a lot of it is how so many different individuals and the growth that so many had, not just on the football field,” he said. “They went from not sure if this kid was going to show up everyday to one of the biggest bright spots on the team. It is things that someone outside of the program wouldn’t know and we are super proud of each of those individuals.”

Nederland senior receiver Kyndon Fuselier led the team in receptions and receiving yards and started at defensive back for the Bulldogs.

He also spent time at running back when injuries plagued the position. He was a key component to the Bulldogs’ playoff run last season and drew a lot of attention from defenses this year.

“I knew the day would come, but I didn’t know it would come so quick,” Fuselier said of the season finale. “I remember being on varsity as a freshman listening to the seniors after their last game, preaching about not taking the years for granted. Now I fully understand. I think I fulfilled my time in the program and made my mark.”

Fuselier said he would miss and remember his teammates the most.

“I’m definitely going to remember the memories and the brotherhood I’ve built these past four years,” he said. “Every year felt like I was going to war with my family. That’s something I’ll remember forever.”

Barrow said he is looking forward to seeing how the underclassmen respond and grow from the experience gained during this season.

“Anytime you have the time spent in practice and get to see what it takes to prepare for a Crosby, that helps,” he said. “That last week of the season was one of our best weeks all year as far as preparation. Hopefully that is something they carry with them into the offseason. They have to pass that to the guys that will join them that weren’t on varsity last season.”