And then there was one.
After the El Campo Ricebirds fell to Liberty Hill last Friday night, the East Bernard Brahmas are the only Wharton County team still alive in the playoffs, chasing the state championship.
With the Brahmas still rolling, if you haven’t been paying attention, it’s time. The Brahmas’ bandwagon, I’ve been told always has room for more.
If you still need some extra convincing, I’ve got three reasons why you should start keeping an eye on the Brahmas starting this Friday when they take on district opponent, the Ganado Indians, in the fourth round of the playoffs.
The little 3A school at the edge of the county, year in and year out produces deep playoff runs. They’re now two wins away from making it the state championship.
County-wide, in the past decade, the area has only been represented three times. El Campo and East Bernard, both made state in 2012, and the Boling Bulldogs were the last to do it in 2016.
It’s not something that happens often and when someone looks like they’re about to break on through you should take notice.
“East Bernard has always been know as The City of Champions. For decades, East Bernard athletes have dominated the region from volleyball to softball (and) football to baseball. Winning is nothing new to those families, it’s expected,” Wharton County Judge Phillip Spenrath said. “I can remember back years ago when I coached in Ganado. We had some real wars on Friday night. (East Bernard has) incredible athletes, respectful parents (and) outstanding community support. East Bernard continues to be one of the brightest stars shining over Wharton County. We are all proud of their continuing accomplishments.”
NOT JUST A
East Bernard’s wing-t offense is hard to stop. With so many different motions to watch for, finding the ball is near impossible when it’s executed well.
Now mix in worrying about them throwing the ball, well, that’s just unfair.
The Brahmas ran into a little bit of trouble last week against Comfort as the running game averaged under four yards a carry. Rather than keep forcing the run, East Bernard picked up yards through the air and sophomore quarterback Dallas Novicke threw for 229 yards.
Passing yards isn’t something East Bernard is known for and the 229 yards, isn’t something that happened this year or last. Now that they know they can do it, teams have a lot more to be worried about.
During East Bernard’s championship season, they gave up 7.4 points a game. This year through 13 games, they’re allowing 6.69 points a game.
Against Comfort, they gave up a touchdown on the first play of the game but blocked the extra point and nearly ran it back for a score.
All-out hustle and focus help the Brahmas. If you lose focus even for one moment against them they’ll take advantage.
Comfort later in the game had a sure-fire taken away from them when Kameron Matthews forced a turnover. Matthews sprinted 60-yards downfield to catch the quarterback, who had broken loose on a busted play. Matthews caught him and knocked the ball out of his hand as he neared the endzone.
East Bernard has forced five turnovers in their three playoff games, allowing just over 220 yards a game as a defense.
Like most seasons, the Brahmas are led by a heavy senior core. Cole Lee leads the team in tackles for loss with 16 and in sacks with seven. Reagan Whitley leads the team in tackles with 133.
East Bernard has been a good team all year long and the scariest part is they feel like there is still room for improvement. In their last five games, which includes three playoff wins, they’ve beaten opponents 228-13 (yikes).
The Newton Eagles who won the last two 3A D2 state championships lost last Friday, meaning there is guaranteed to be a new state champion this season. East Bernard is one of the final eight teams still standing in 3A D1 and their chances are just as good as anyone else.
Wharton County Sports Editor