The playoff atmosphere is in the air in El Campo as the Ricebirds are set to meet Lindale on Thursday in Waco.

The Ricebirds ended the regular season as district champs and continued that success last week in a 63-18 victory over Yates. Now, with their next foe in their sights, El Campo citizens get to enjoy what so many small towns in Texas try to achieve year after year — a genuine chance at a State Championship.

“There is nothing like playoff football in Texas, and we are happy to have the support of the city behind us,” El Campo ISD Superintendent Bob Callaghan said.

The Ricebirds will get an authentic playoff atmosphere when they play in McLane Stadium at Baylor University. 

Despite the game being more than three hours away from El Campo, some residents will still make the trip up north. 

“Me and my 3-year-old daughter will be driving to the game. She’s one of the biggest Ricebird fans ever,” Christina Cruz said. “She really does love being out there and rooting for the team.”

Some fans will make the long road trip because of family ties to the team.

“My husband and I will be driving to Waco to watch and support our team,” Valrie Gann said. “Sloan Hubert is our grandson. So go NO.11 and go Ricebirds.”

Tickets for the game are on sale now and can be bought for $10 at the ECISD administration building, 700 W. Norris. Proceeds for tickets sold before the game will go to ECISD, and those purchased at the contest will go to Baylor University.

The city seems to be getting in the school spirit, from walking around retail stores to getting lunch. It is almost impossible not to be reminded of the Ricebird’s success. 

Even Ricebird faithful who have moved away from the city will still travel to the game to represent El Campo. Those traveling from different cities include Georgetown, Deer park and Montgomery.

The ECHS Student Council will help those traveling to the game or driving around town show their school spirit. The Council will host a car painting event today, Nov. 17.

Students will be decorating car windows to support the Ricebirds in the playoffs. Anyone can go to have their car windows filled with Ricebird spirit from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the high school parking lot.

“Turn the Birds loose and let the ECHS Student Council get you ready,” the school district announcement said.”Whether you are heading to the game or cheering from home, let us decorate your car windows to show your Ricebirds spirit.”

Finally, the school will have a send-off for the football team on Thursday before the game. 

Fans are invited to give the team one last farewell before they leave for the game. ECISD will line up buses for departure from the high school at 11:45 a.m. 

Ricebird supporters can line up from Pecan Street to North Mechanic to wave at the team as they pass and head North to Waco. Residents who live on North Mechanic Street and Hwy. 71 are encouraged to step out and wave at the buses as they pass.

The football team is scheduled to depart at noon. 

Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, El Campo residents have proven that they are ready for playoff football in Texas this week. 

“It is a special time of year for high school football,” Bill Beisel said. “Try not to miss it. Teams this special don’t come around this often.”

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