Get Out Of My Way

El Campo senior Clarence Farrow with one hand swims past a defender while the other awaits a West Columbia runner, last Friday night on the road.  El Campo will play their final district home game Friday against Needville. 


Unlike seasons past, Friday’s game at Ricebird Stadium between El Campo and Needville won’t decide which of the two will win the District 12 championship.

While the Needville Blue Jays (3-6, 1-3) aren’t in the playoff mix, they can still keep the El Campo Ricebirds (8-1, 4-0) from their second straight undefeated district championship.

The Blue Jays can put up points, scoring 30.1 points per game. Needville’s defense lost a lot of key seniors last year through graduation and is giving up 34.7 points per game.

“They start a lot of sophomores and a couple of freshmen (on offense) they don’t have many seniors on that bunch. Offensively they’ve put up points against everyone they’ve played,” El Campo head coach Chad Worrell said. “They’re young on the defensive side. They’re well-coached. They have some young kids up there and had some growing pains in terms of playing younger kids. They play hard and are fundamental. I know they’ll come over this week with a chance to make their season.”

Needville picked up their first district win last Friday night in a big way, beating Bay City 56-6.

The Blue Jays’ defense had a standout game against Bay City picking off two passes and holding them under 100 yards rushing. Overall, Needville has nine takeaways.

El Campo’s offense will look to continue rolling with the playoffs a week away. The Ricebirds’ have scored 40 or more points in seven straight games and they also won all seven games.

El Campo last week overtook Riverside El Paso for the number one scoring offense in 4A DI averaging 51.4 points per game. The offense, baring something unforeseen, will eclipse 4,000 yards rushing. El Campo junior Rueben Owens II has surpassed 2,000 yards rushing, he has the second-most yards and touchdowns in Texas.

The offensive line has suffered some injuries this season, but it’s been the next-man-up mentality. Seniors Juan Leal, Jack Dorotik, Kerry North, Lucus Pfeil and Carter Hlavinka, along with juniors Sloan Hubert, Taylor Manrriquez and Craig Washington, have been paving the way for Ricebird runners of late.

Offensively, El Campo has needed to outscore their opponents in two of their last three games, which they have. Against West Columbia and Brazosport, the defense has allowed 89 points. While a lot, being better tacklers will put them back on the right track, Worrell said.

“There were a couple of plays the other night where we were in position but just missed some tackles. The first screen that was the case. We had a couple of breakdowns on a couple of plays, but it wasn’t a high number,” Worrell said. “It was the first time we went against (the wing-t).”

El Campo’s defense will see a heavy dose of the pass Friday night, something they haven’t really been tested with this season. Teams have tried to pass against the Ricebirds but the pressure from the defensive line has been tough for them to deal with.

Needville senior quarterback Bryce Nirider has more than 1,000 yards passing and he is nearing 800 yards on the ground. Their lead running back is freshman Da’Shawn Burton who is coming off a 203-yard game against Bay City.

The Ricebirds are in the playoffs win or lose, but a strong win will make them feel better going into round one.


Along with being senior night/parents night, the Ricebirds will honor all El Campo Youth Football League teams during halftime.


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