Finally, football is back, well just about. The El Campo Ricebirds had their first Friday Night Lights of the year, however, it was only a scrimmage as the Birds went on the road to face the La Grange Leopards.
Offensively and defensively, the Ricebirds had a pretty good outing. It wasn’t a real game, but the Ricebirds first-team offense scored real touchdowns on the Leopards first-team defense.
The Ricebirds defense also had a pretty good outing, the only touchdown they allowed all game was by the third team-defense.
“I thought we got after it pretty good,” Ricebirds Head Coach Wayne Condra said. “We had a few mental lapses but that’s the first time you go against somebody different, the speed and everything picked up. I thought our kids did a great job on both sides of the ball getting after it.”
The Ricebirds rushing offense was on full display Friday night. The first play of the first team’s offensive period was a handoff to junior running back Charles Shorter who broke free for a big gain. The next was another handoff this time to freshmen Reuben Owens, he fought through an arm tackle, hit the outside and outran everyone to the endzone.
During the offensive period, senior quarterback Clay Jung showed good movement in the pocket. Jung found senior wide receiver/defensive back Griffen Croix open downfield on a rollout to keep a drive alive. On another drive, he was able to sidestep some pass rushers and run the ball inside for a few yards saving the Birds from a sack.
During the first-team defensive period, they gave up just two big plays on runs but they kept the Leopards out of the endzone. The defensive line had a lot of penetration wreaking havoc on the La Grange offensive line.
The Ricebird second-team offensive scored two quick touchdowns nearly on back-to-back plays. After a couple of big runs, Javien Williams ran the ball in from the two-yard line for a touchdown. Junior quarterback Cullen Braden found junior wide receiver Jackson David open for a long catch and run.
During live-action, 18 minutes of a running clock, the Ricebirds scored twice and held the Leopards out of the endzone.
The Ricebirds got the ball first and it took them four plays, all rushes, to pick up their first score of the game with a run from Owens.
When the Leopards had the ball, the Ricebirds held them in check and kept them from any prolonged drives. On defense, the Leopards started double-teaming Williams to try and neutralize him, but it gave the Birds line to the quarterback.
The Ricebird rushing attack set up another touchdown. Jung on a rollout found senior tight end Conner Williams open downfield and threw the ball to him. He was tackled before the ball got to him, forcing a flag from the officials. On the next play, Johntre Davis ran the ball in for a touchdown.
At the end of the game, there was a slight skirmish after a Leopard tackled Williams with no time left on the clock. Both teams ran on to the field, but everyone was quickly separated and no further incident was had.
El Campo’s final scrimmage of the season will be with Sweeny tomorrow at Ricebird Stadium. Sweeny’s defense last year stymied the Ricebird offense for the majority of the scrimmage. The offensive line and backs should see a good test as they continue to prepare for the first game of the season. Sweeny, a run-heavy team, will give the Ricebirds defense another chance to build on their success from Friday’s scrimmage with the Leopards.
Louise Friday night took part in a tri-scrimmage between Runge and St. John Paul. Going into the scrimmage, the Hornets were forced to play without a few key players who missed the game, causing players to play different positions then what they’ve been practicing throughout the first few weeks of training camp.
“We struggled a little bit, but we were able to move the ball just a little bit against St. John Paul,” Hornets Head Coach Joe Bill said. “St. John Paul was way bigger and had a whole lot more depth than us.”
Against Runge, the Hornets moved the ball a little more and were able to score the ball. Without his full team, they only allowed two big plays.
On defense, Cameron Cortez had a fumble recovery and Mikey Gusman picked off a pass. Offensively Robert Montes hit Mason Orsak for a 60-yard pass.
“We held our own,” Bill said. “We’ve still have a lot of work to do. We got to rebuild a new group of kids coming in. Our whole backfield is a new backfield. We’re learning a new system. (The scrimmages) were really good for us because we were able to go live against someone else. It helped the coaches and the kids to know were we need to spend time working.”
The Hornets tomorrow will travel to Yorktown for their final scrimmage of the season. Louise should get a better test with more live-action and potentially a healthier team.