Junior defensive lineman Oziel Alanis forces a fumble against Sweeny during the Ricebirds final scrimmage.


The El Campo Ricebirds look to start the season off on a winning streak at home week two for a game this Friday night against the Rockport-Fulton Pirates.

Both teams come into the game 1-0, but someone won’t end the night undefeated. Last year, the Ricebirds after 200-plus mile road trip, beat the Pirates by six points.

In week one, the Ricebirds went on the road and beat 5A Texas City 21-14. The Ricebirds allowed 198 yards rushing, but they stiffened when they had to and left Texas City with the seven-point win.

“I thought we played extremely hard,” Ricebirds Head Coach Wayne Condra said. “It was the first game so they were some mistakes, but they were very correctable mistakes. We felt good coming out of the game. Texas City has a heck of a football team.”

On the offensive side of the ball against Texas City, the Ricebirds running backs had a field day accumulating nearly 300 yards.

“We moved the ball well at times. Other times we got behind the sticks ... and it put us in different situations,” Condra said.

Heading into the Rockport-Fulton game, the Ricebirds are hoping to clean up a few things for the home fans.

“We had (Texas City) in third and long a couple of times and we let them get out of it. We’ve got to make sure and we take care of that,” Condra said.

While Rockport-Fulton isn’t a carbon copy of the Ricebirds, they are a run-heavy team. Last week the Ricebirds gave up 6.4 yards a carry to Texas City. Rockport-Fulton in their week one match-up with Aransas Pass allowed just one touchdown, winning 20-12.

“(Rockport-Fulton) kind of switched offenses this year,” Condra said. “They’ve gone to the power gun. They do things similar to what they did in the slot-T, but now it’s from the shotgun. They’re always really good up front and we’ve got to do a good job on both sides of the football.”

In the game between El Campo and Rockport-Fulton last year, the Ricebirds rushed for 222 yards to help them pick up the win. Junior Charles Shorter had a big game last year scoring three touchdowns accounting for 216 yards between rushing and receiving.

The Ricebirds Friday at home will be looking for a big running game from their backfield which had a good showing in week one. The defense will also look to take another step forward and see if they can get off the field on third and long.

After Rockport-Fulton, things won’t get easier for the Ricebirds as they take on last year’s 4A D2 state champion Cuero Gobblers at home in week three.

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