By David Coleman
The News Sports Writer
NEDERLAND – Seth Barrow has always been a Bulldog. At least, it must seem that way, as he’s grown up around the program. He was a ball boy as soon as he was old enough to roam the sidelines and has been a part of the varsity since he suited up for a playoff game in his sophomore season.
But, the senior wideout’s roots with the program go deeper than that. His dad is the offensive coordinator, though the two try to make those mutually exclusive positions.
“I’ve never called him Dad in front of other coaches,” Seth said. “He’s always been Coach Barrow.”
Offensive coordinator Monte Barrow is entering his 20th season as a coach for Nederland. He’s been looking forward to having his eldest son play football for a while, but is also hoping to be able to appreciate his son’s senior season as a father and a coach.
“I’ve always had that butterfly feeling that you get as a player before I coached,” Monte said. “It was the same for the last 18 years prior to him being on the varsity. Last year, they were different. I came to realize it was my nervousness for him. Not being worried about him, but just for him to play well and have success. This year has been different.
“I’ve talked with myself about balancing my duties with enjoying his senior year. Fortunately, with his playing both ways, there is a time when he’s on the field that I can just watch him play. I’ve enjoyed it. You hope your son does the things that you want players to do your whole career. He’s been that kind of player. He practices that way and does the right thing in the classroom. It makes you proud to see that unfold on the field.”
So far, Seth has been having a great start to his senior campaign. He’s tied for the team lead in both catches (5) and receiving touchdowns (2) while gaining 56 yards receiving this season. One of those touchdowns came on a 3-yard pass from Carson Raines last week against Goose Creek Memorial.
Monte Barrow said that it’s a balancing act calling plays with his son in the game, but that Seth makes it easy on him by forcing his way into the game plan each week through his play on the field.
“That was a big deal for me,” Monte said. “My first priority for us winning a game is calling the game plan and whoever is involved with it. It just so happens, totally by his work and where he’s come to in his career, that he’s become a part of that game plan. That’s a blessing for me, because when his number is called, it’s about the work he’s put in during practice, that it needs to be called. It’s all to his credit.”
Two of his skills on the field highlight that “right way” in which he plays. The first is how he started playing on defense with little fanfare and has carved out a niche over on that side of the ball. It’s a switch that isn’t new, as Barrow was forced into the spot last season when Nederland was without a cornerback for the Vidor game.
“Last year, I backed up Zach (Taylor) and Trey Broussard,” Seth said “If one of them went out, I was going in. I played against Vidor and I did okay. I didn’t get scored on and I think I only missed one tackle. Me and Michael (Shaw) knew we’d both be playing both ways this year. It’s fun being on the field, so it’s great to be out there more often.”
The other area where Seth has excelled is in the blocking aspect of being a receiver.
“Coach Bryan Spell, I would be surprised if anyone takes blocking with our receiver more seriously than he does,” Monte said. “The work he puts in with them and making sure they know exactly who they have is great. They’re going to block more than they’re going to have catches thrown to them. That’s just the reality of the situation. One of the reasons why Seth is in the slot is because he’s such a good blocker. He likes to do it, and that’s half of it right there.”
Those feelings are echoed by Seth, who says that his favorite part of playing the position is being able to crack block down on inside linebackers. He also credits his blocking for being one of his biggest areas of improvement from last year to this season.
“I use my brain to play the game,” Seth said. “A lot of that goes into blocking. They put me in the wing and I get to go crack back on the linebacker. I think I’ve progressed a lot in the blocking. My footwork has gotten better. Last year, I also tried to go for the kill, which means you can miss. That’s the difference between a 6-yard run and a 65-yard run.”
Last year, Nederland head basketball coach Brian English talked about the difficulty he had coaching his son and trying to treat him just like any other player. For Monte Barrow, it’s been a similar problem, but one he’s embraced this season.
“The fact that quarterbacks and receivers are together so much, I’m with him a lot in practice,” Monte said. “I caught myself doing that (being harder on him). I think he’d tell you I still do it at times, because of the expectations. I think if he was being honest, he’d say that if I wasn’t doing it, he’d wonder what’s wrong. He knows the expectations. I try not to be the dad on the field, but the dad also knows that the lessons on the field translate to success later in life. I just want to make sure that’s not being ignored by me for him.”
Seth acknowledges he may not always agree with Coach Barrow when he’s on the practice field, but that playing for his dad, especially during Nederland’s first outright district title since 1965, is an experience he wouldn’t trade for the world.
“It’s a challenge and it’s a blessing,” Seth said. “It’s one thing to experience an undefeated district championship with a football team that’s already like a family, but when your dad is there with you, it’s pretty special.”
BULLDOG BITES: Seth was named second-team all-district last season at wide receiver, but his best sport may be baseball. He hit well enough in Nederland’s outfield to grab a first-team spot on the all-district team. No word on if he’s considering joining the basketball team this season to make a run at Jayce Nelson’s all-district triple crown. … Though the Bulldogs have mostly been punting out of an offensive formation, with quarterback Carson Raines dropping back to quickly punt the ball away, Barrow is the team’s punter. He’s punted twice this season, averaging 28 yards per kick … Last season, Barrow had his best game against Pearland Dawson in the regional round of the playoffs. Because of what the defense was doing, Nederland went to more of a drop-back attack, and Barrow responded with eight catches for 118 yards. … Nederland’s Kendrick Hopkins has opened the season with two straight 100-yard games. The junior tailback has 253 rushing yards on 41 carries and is on pace for 1,265 yards during the regular season . . . Nederland moved up to No. 5 in this week’s Associated Press schoolboy poll. But the Bulldogs will be playing a high rank team Friday night when they travel to No. 3 Angleton.
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