The El Campo Ricebirds, for the second week in a row, played dominant football from start to finish beating the Stafford Spartans 49-7 on the road Friday night.
El Campo (5-1, 1-0) was successful in the passing game, running the ball and their defense shut the door all night long on Stafford (2-4, 0-1).
El Campo didn’t force many turnovers, but their defense allowed few yards with linebackers flowing to the ball and wrapping up. The Ricebird defense held Stafford under 100 yards of offense.
Senior Jacob Lopez and juniors Hal Erwin and Reed Jung made up the linebacker core and were a small part of the defense that allowed one competed third down.
“We just did a great job of lining up right and giving (Stafford) different looks and flying to the football and playing hard. That’s been the big main difference over the last two and a half games,” El Campo head coach Chad Worrell said.
The Ricebirds held Stafford to a three and out on their first possession of the game.
El Campo with the ball on the 39-yard line made their march upfield. Facing a fourth and short early in the drive, the Ricebirds went for it with a quarterback sneak. Behind the Birds’ line, they got the first down keeping the drive alive.
Despite getting a fresh set of downs, El Campo’s offense sputtered with two runs for no gain. Needing to complete a third and 10 to keep the offense on the field senior quarterback Isaiah Anderson threw a long pass downfield, finding senior wide receiver DK Ward, who fought off a defender and caught the ball with one hand.
With the spark, the Ricebirds scored two plays later on a 10-yard run from senior fullback Johntre Davis.
Stafford went nowhere, on the following drive they had another three and out and punted. On the next drive, they fumbled on the first snap, giving the ball right back to El Campo. In the first half, Stafford had zero first downs.
El Campo’s offense took advantage of the defense’s solid play and scored on four of their five possessions in the first half.
Ward on El Campo’s second drive had another long catch, this time with the throw from junior quarterback Brock Rod, beating double coverage. Ricebird junior running back Rueben Owens II capped off the drive with a 20-yard run to put El Campo up 14-0 in the first quarter.
Everything went right for El Campo, even recovering a fumble on a muffed pooch kick late in the second quarter. El Campo four plays later made it 28-0 after Anderson found junior tight end Sloan Hubert in the end zone.
“We’re proud to start district off 1-0,” Worrell said. “I thought we played well. Stafford (was) a good team. They are the best defensive team (we’ve played). We kind of continued what we did overall as a team from the (Boerne) Champion game.”
The Ricebirds will look for their second district win over the Brazosport Exporters next Friday night at home.