Red Once More

El Campo senior fullback Johntre Davis runs away from a number of Needville defenders last Friday night at Ricebird Stadium.

 

The El Campo Ricebirds get a final chance to shine at Ricebird Stadium against the Jack Yates Lions in the first round of the playoffs tomorrow at 7 p.m.

The Ricebirds lost a home and home flip with Yates last year, forcing them to play on the road. Yates, this year finished the season as the fourth seed in District 11. With El Campo earning the District 12 championship, they got to return the favor.

Home playoff games are rare and El Campo will look to take their first step in what they hope will be a long playoff run with a win over Yates.

“You can’t win a state championship in the first round of the playoffs,” El Campo head coach Chad Worrell said. “You can lose one (in the first round). We’re going to focus on winning our game this week. Our scouting report says their record is 0-0, and our record is 0-0.”

El Campo has been on a tear, winning eight games in a row following a crushing week two loss against Fulshear. Since that loss, the Ricebirds had scored at least 45, hitting 60 points or more three times during the eight games.

“We’ve been practicing harder,” senior offensive/defensive lineman Kerry North said. “They came in here and won our homecoming game. It woke us up.”

Fully focused, the Ricebirds closed the year as one of the best teams in the state (see rankings at left).

Now El Campo (9-1, 5-0) ventures into the playoffs. Yates (5-5, 3-4) might have finished fourth, but Worrell sees a big and athletic team coming to Ricebird Stadium.

The line ranges between 270-280 pounds, including a very large 6’3” offensive and defensive tackle.

“They’re as athletic as anyone we’ve played,” Worrell said. 

Yates senior wide receiver Randy Masters is a three-star recruit. He was a move-in from Shadow Creek’s state champion team. Masters along with fellow seniors running backs Demario Albert and Jarubein Spain and quarterback Dominick Martin will be a focus for the El Campo defense. 

Yates might have five losses, but Worrell says they can score on any given play if El Campo isn’t sound on defense.

The Ricebird defense, after allowing 34 points or more in their first three games, have brought their overall season average under 30 points. However, they had two outings in district in which they needed to outscore their opponents to keep their win streak alive.

“It’s just a lot of formations that we’ve got to learn and sometimes we get lined up wrong,” North said. “But we’re starting to click.”

Yates defense will be tasked with stopping the best offensive unit in 4A DI, the Lions this season are allowing 18.9 points.

El Campo has shown they don’t mind throwing the ball. However, their bread and butter are their two workhorse backs in senior fullback Johntre Davis and junior running back Rueben Owens II. The pair have terrorized teams, one touchdown shy of 50 between them. Owens has more than 2,200 rushing yards while Davis eclipsed 1,000 in the finale against Needville.

The offensive line they are running behind is slightly different from how they started the season, but the senior line of Jack Dorotik, Juan Leal, Lucas Pfeil, Carter Hlavinka and North has shown their strength this year. Against Needville on a fourth and three late, Davis plowed behind the offensive line. It looked like the Blue Jays held, but the offensive line kept moving their feet forward, pushing the ball past the first down marker.

“We feel good. We’ve been playing with the (backs) for a long time so (they know we’ve got them),” North said.

The Ricebirds last season beat Yates 63-6.

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