PNG LOCKS UP NO. 1 SEED; Titans and Bulldogs fighting for home as playoffs near

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, November 1, 2023

PORT NECHES — Port Neches-Groves has already locked up the No. 1 seed for its district, but Nederland and Memorial are playing this week for the opportunity to host their first-round game.

PNG, who takes on Galena Park in the regular season finale, plays against Brenham at The Reservation in the first round of the playoffs at 7 p.m. Nov. 10.

The outcome of this week’s home contest has no impact on the District 9-5A Division II champs’ seeding.

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Season ticket holders can purchase tickets for the first-round playoff matchup Nov. 6-7, with everyone else getting the chance Nov. 8.

Season ticket holders should look out for an email regarding purchasing and reserving tickets.

The Nederland Bulldogs have punched their playoff ticket but could land anywhere between second and fourth place, depending on how the district shakes out. The simplest route is to beat Texas City on the road by five points or more, which would give the Bulldogs the second seed and a home playoff game.

A win by fewer than 5 points would give the Bulldogs the third seed, which would still be on the road for the first round of the playoffs. Finally, a loss Friday gives the Bulldogs the fourth seed.

“A home playoff game would be great and comfortable for our guys,” Nederland Head Coach Monte Barrow said. “That routine is consistent.

“Not to mention, your community, crowd and student body get to be there. It is good to have that to play for coming into the last week.”

Even though the Bulldogs are a lock for the postseason, Barrow said there will be no resting starters with the home game on the line.

In Port Arthur, despite a 52-23 loss last week to Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill, Memorial can earn the district title with a win over Humble Kingwood Park and a Barbers Hill loss to New Caney Porter on the road.

For Titans Head Coach Brian Morgan, the formula is simple. A win Friday means the Titans host the first round of the playoffs in Port Arthur.

Whether it would be as a No. 1 seed or No. 2 seed is up to Barbers Hill. A loss would mean the Titans have to likely take a six-hour bus trip north.

“That is the biggest deal,” Morgan said of the potential travel. “We are also trying to get our seniors another chance to play at home. But the way district alignment is right now, it is a huge advantage to not have to make a six-hour road trip on a gameday.”

The Titans suffered their first loss of the season this past week, but Morgan said the team is responding well and is ready to play and redeem themselves.

“Making the playoffs is one goal of ours,” Morgan said. “It is not something we have talked about. We go into a season — not expecting in an arrogant manner — but with an expectation to make the playoffs. In our mind, if we went out and take care of business, that was given. It is good for everyone, but that was not what we were looking at when the season started.”