Bulldogs ready for literal homecoming; Nederland returns to home stadium

Published 12:36 am Tuesday, September 27, 2022

NEDERLAND — Nederland Head Coach Monte Barrow said his players started off this week with one of their best practices coming off the team’s first win of the season.

That emotion will likely carry over to Friday, when Nederland (1-3, 1-0 in District 9-5A Division II) takes the field at Bulldog Stadium for the first time this season as construction clears up.

Barrow confirmed the Bulldogs will host their first official home game.

Nederland’s Ayden Sunday looks for an open receiver. (Chris Moore/The News)

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Nederland is coming off a 38-14 win over Fort Bend Willowridge and now turns its sights toward Dayton (3-1, 1-0). Barrow also said the team’s pep could come from having an extra day of rest after playing on Thursday.

“Anytime you think back to last week, they are going to have mostly positive thoughts because we won that game,” Barrow said. “At the same time, we want to them to know we have Dayton in front of us, and that is not going to help us beat them. We have to learn from what we did in that game.”

Barrow said the team will lean on leadership to keep players level headed. That task could be made more difficult with the prospect of playing the first game in Bulldog Stadium this season. This week is also homecoming for Nederland.

“I spoke to them about this week and the different things that go on during homecoming,” Barrow said. “We want them to take part in the festivities but not let it get inside of them. The things we want in them are the schemes we are learning. We just want to remind them that everyone has a part in homecoming. Our part is to win the homecoming game. We have to make sure we do our part.”

Dayton has put up some impressive offensive performances this season. The Broncos average 40 points per game and enter Friday’s contest with a three-game winning streak. Their most recent victory was 51-27 win over Santa Fe.

“They put up points and yards,” Barrow said. “The quarterback is a threat to throw it or run it. That jumps out. Defensively, they are very aggressive to the football. They will only have three guys at the line of scrimmage, and then within a second or two of the ball being snapped, there are nine guys at the line. We will have to have our eyes up.”

Dayton leads the district with an average of 446.8 yards per game. The Broncos have a district-leading 1,164 rushing yards on the season, compared to Nederland’s 586. The Bulldogs’ average 264 yards per game.

Dayton quarterback Vernon Harrison leads the district with 571 rushing yards on 58 carries and eight touchdowns.

Nederland’s Hubert Thomas is third in rushing with 56 carries for 383 yards and four touchdowns

Barrow said he is ready to feel the energy from the home crowd.

“Our kids are looking forward to it, especially our seniors,” he said. “This is their final year. We only had four games as it was, and we already lost one, which was the Silsbee game. We practice there, but it is not the same. I think they will be really excited to be there. I hope they play like it is one of their last games to play there.”