Memorial, Nederland coaches react to new district alignments

Published 12:34 am Friday, February 4, 2022

The Port Arthur and Mid County football teams found out their new districts as the University Interscholastic League released the new alignments Thursday.

Nederland and Port Neches-Groves will play in Region III District 9 5A-Division II, along with Dayton, Fort Bend Marshall, Fort Bend Willowridge, Galena Park, Santa Fe and Texas City.

“Seeing all of the possibilities, it was as good as it could be, knowing who all was in Division II,” Nederland Head Coach Monte Barrow said. “It has nothing to do with which teams you think are going to be good. It was about the travel. I think it turned out as good as it could. It is still a lot of travel.”

Nederland Bulldogs (Chris Moore/The News)

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Early projections guessed Nederland and PNG would be forced to travel up to East Texas or north of Houston for district games. Both PNG and Nederland will make two trips to the Fort Bend school district this season as both teams are on the road against Marshall and Willowridge.

For the past two seasons, the Bum Phillips Bowl between Mid County rivals Nederland and PNG was the first game of district play. This year, the contest will be played at PNG Week 10, which is the second to last week of the season.

While Crosby and Barbers Hill leave behind PNG and Nederland to move up to 5A-Division I, Fort Bend Marshall, who has been a state contender for the past few seasons, entered the district.

Nederland will face West Orange-Stark, Memorial and Silsbee for its non-district schedule, while PNG will play Memorial, Beaumont United and West Orange-Stark.

For the Titans, Memorial will add Crosby and Barbers Hill to the schedule as both schools opted to move up to 5A-Division I for the next school year.

The Titans will also play Baytown Goose Creek Memorial, Baytown Lee, Baytown Sterling, Humble Kingwood Park, La Porte, New Caney, Porter in District 8.

If the Titans make the playoffs, they could be forced to travel to the Dallas-Fort Worth area if they do not earn a home playoff game in the first round.

“That was the biggest thing,” Memorial Head Coach Brian Morgan said of the changes. “The district itself was pretty much expected. We knew New Caney and Porter were a possibility. It was more about the possible playoff travel.”

Morgan said he is excited to have Crosby and Barbers Hill added as mainstays to the schedule as district competition is sure to heat up. The Titans are coming off back-to-back district titles. Crosby will be two years removed from state title.

The Titans played both teams in non-district play last year with the Cougars handing Memorial one of their only two losses of the season.

The Titans will play Nederland and PNG for non-district games and will play Crosby in the third district match. Memorial will close the season with Barbers Hill and Kingwood Park, who share the district title with the Titans after beating Memorial in the last game of the season.

For full schedules for all three teams, visit PANews.com.