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Bulldogs offensive lineman in for test with Titans scrimmage

The Nederland Bulldogs’ young offensive line will likely be tested when they square off against the Memorial Titans on Thursday.

Nederland head coach Monte Barrow said he believes the scrimmage matchup will be a trial by fire for the young group, but will help them prepare for the rigors of District 12-5A Division II play.

“I don’t know if they will get a tougher test than playing against Memorial’s front seven,” Barrow said. “It’ll be good for them to be thrown in the fire and see how they react. That is what district is. It is a fire every week and you have to get in there and compete.”

The scrimmage will be the first time either team will line up against a new opponent since last fall.

“We are anxious to see where we are going against someone different,” Barrow said. “Port Arthur Memorial will give us a chance to see exactly the things we need to work on. At some point, you feel like you can’t do anymore until the next phase starts. The next phase was putting a helmet on and shoulder pads. This week, we will put it all on and tackle a little bit. This Thursday, we will play a different opponent.”

Since students returned to class last week, Barrow said his players are getting into a new routine, which could have a positive impact.

“I think coaches feel better when they are in a routine,” he said. “Young athletes respond better when their minds have been engaged. They aren’t coming straight from their home where they might have been sleeping late or playing a video game or whatever. They are in that classroom and there is something to be said for that. When we get them, you know they have been awake and energized.”

The scrimmage will also be the Bulldogs’ first look at senior quarterbacks Rene Cunningham and Corbin Chandler. Both are vying for the starting job, which Barrow said he would like to have locked up well before district play starts in late October.

“We’re going to get them in live action and see who’s taking control of the offense,” he said.

The Bulldogs start their season Sept. 25 at Huntsville. Nederland’s first district game will be the Bum Phillips Bowl against rival Port Neches-Groves Oct. 23.

The scrimmage against Memorial is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Bulldog Stadium.