Bulldogs playing third-straight top-10 team

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, September 7, 2022

When Nederland Head Coach Monte Barrow scheduled his team’s non-district opponents, he knew the Bulldogs would face some tough competition.

This week the Bulldogs take on their third consecutive top-10 team in the state in their respective division.

Nederland (0-2) plays Silsbee (2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Bulldog Stadium. Those not able to make the game in person can watch it for free on the Sheffield Productions YouTube channel.

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The Tigers enter the game the No. 9-ranked team in 4A-Division II. Last week Nederland took on the Titans, who sit at No. 6 in 5A Division I and the Bulldogs opened the season against West Orange-Stark, who are ranked fourth in 4A Division II.

“Hopefully when district hits, our kids realize the benefits of these three games,” Barrow said. “They may not, but as coaches, we know what it can do. When you have an opportunity, you have to take it and use what you learn in those games. You have to look at what you did well and what hurt you. The players have to be able to do that, themselves, and in their units. That is how you get ready for district play.”

The Bulldogs dropped the first game to the Mustangs 32-0 but showed improvement in a 41-21 loss to Memorial.

“Different units and individuals played better,” Barrow said. “That is what you are looking for, especially from guys who don’t have a lot of experience. There are plenty of things on video we can build on, but there are also plenty of things we have to get better at.”

Nederland will likely see another top-10 opponent before the season ends as district foe Fort Bend Marshall enters Week 3 ranked No. 5 in the state for 5A Division II.

But this week, the Bulldogs must slow one of the top-ranked receivers in the state in Dre’lon Miller. Last season Miller hauled in 41 catches for 1,128 yards and 16 touchdowns. At 6’2” and 195 lbs., Miller is a matchup problem for many defenses.

Last week Miller pulled in four catches for 131 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Vidor.

The Bulldogs and Tigers played each other last season in a thrilling overtime victory for Nederland, despite Miller putting up eight catches for 239 yards and three touchdowns.

Miller holds scholarship offers from Texas, Texas A&M, Georgia, Oklahoma and many others.

“They have a player, who is arguably one of the best in the area,” Barrow said. “You put the film on and see everyone try different things. We have to know where he is, obviously. It is kind of like playing Michael Jordan. He is going to get his. You just have to stop everyone else from getting theirs. That is the thing with Silsbee. They have guys everywhere that can hurt you.”

Nederland’s secondary will have the task of keeping tabs on Miller and the supporting cast. Barrow said Silsbee Head Coach Randy Smith does a good job of moving Miller around to get him free, but to also free up other people as coverages roll to contain the star receiver.