1967 Ricebirds

The El Campo Ricebirds only twice in their history made it to the state championship football game, both losses.

An interesting note, both Brownwood and Stephenville who El Campo played in the state finals, decades apart, now share the same district.

The playoffs were much harder to get into in 1967. Today four teams from each district make it in, it was not the same case in 1967 with only the district winners making the playoffs.

To make it the championship game in Austin, the Ricebirds beat Galveston Central, Silsbee and Seguin.

In 3A state championship, the Ricebirds fell to Brownwood by a score of 36-12.

“We stepped off the bus and if eyeballs could pop out they would have,” Former Ricebird offensive line coach Gene Kana said. “This little ole county boys (we’re in awe of the stadium). We hung with them. The score didn’t indicate the game. I thought we played Brownwood a lot better than 36-12. We made some mistakes and (Brownwood) had an outstanding team.”

The Ricebirds trailed 23-0 going into the half. The offense picked up in the third quarter. Bill Humphery and Billy Joe Polasek had two scores tightening the game to 23-12. Brownwood tacked on to scores in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

El Campo, forever a ground and pound machine, had 122 yards rushing and picked up 39 through the air.

Kana recalls the team playing well throughout the year and even during the loss.

“They were always ready to play,” Kana said. “They were a good bunch of kids.”

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