The El Campo Ricebirds have a chance to advance past the third round for the first time since 2012 if they can get a win over the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears this Friday night at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Conroe at 6 p.m.

The Bears (10-2) will be no little test, coming off a win over West Columbia 42-21 to advance out of the area round last Friday night.

By El Campo (11-1) playing last Thursday night, Ricebirds head coach Chad Worrell was able to scout the Bears in person.

“(They’re) very similar to what we saw in Lindale. It’s not exactly a mirror image, but a lot of the schemes Lindale ran, (Little Cypress-Mauriceville) runs well too.”

The Bears are averaging 31.1 points a game this season.

Bears’ senior quarterback Ashton Landry completed 55 percent of his passes while throwing for more than 1,100 yards and running for more than 800 yards in the regular season. He and junior Da’marion Morris are a large part of the rushing offense. Morris had 1,100 yards rushing in the regular season.

Worrell said the offensive line was big and physical, helping them pave the way for seven yards a carry.

El Campo’s defense against Lindale found their footing in the second half, allowing one offensive touchdown. The Ricebirds’ defensive line brought lots of pressure, and in the second half, they started to get home forcing errant Lindale throws.

Fresh legs and a rotation on the front line helped the Ricebirds wear down Lindale.

“DK Norman came in the second half and played really good game. Rhenner Spenrath and Hal Erwin both played the defensive end spot and gave us some different looks,” Worrell said. (Juan) Leal had a great game at defensive tackle and really stood out and had one of his better games. Clarence (Farrow), Kerry North had a great game. Johntre (Davis) played and came in as others started getting a little gassed. It was a complete team effort of people stepping up.”

The pressure helped El Campo pick off three passes against Lindale. During the regular season for the Bears’ Landry threw six interceptions.

Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s defense allowed fewer than 20 points per game this season. In the playoffs, the two teams they played haven’t broken 25 points, but El Campo has scored 45 points or more in their last 10 games.

Bears junior defensive end Amir Washington is someone the Ricebirds will have to keep an eye on. Washington is a boulder on the line at 6’3” 260 pounds. Washington leads the team in tackles for losses and sacks.

“They’ve got the best defensive end we’ve seen,” Worrell said. “He creates problems for everybody. We’re going to have to contain him. It’s going to be a big week for our tackles and tight ends.”

El Campo during their 10 game win streak has yet to be stopped. Against Lindale, they essentially scored on every drive they had, sans a fumble at the one-yard line, which maybe should have been a touchdown and a fourth-down turnover with the game decided.

The running game has been El Campo’s bread and butter throwing only two passes against Lindale and still scoring 50 plus points. On the season El Campo has run the ball for more than 5,300 yards.

Worrell is confident if the pass is needed, it will be there.

“We feel like we can throw it,” Worrell said. “You get into a game and you don’t need to you don’t have to. When we need too, I think we can.”

This season the Ricebirds are close to 1,000 yards passing with 881 yards. Senior quarterback Isaiah Anderson has 629 yards. Senior DK Ward and junior Rueben Owens II both have more than 200 yards receiving.

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