After beating a top 10 team, from a larger classification by 35 points the El Campo Ricebirds hope to carry on that momentum into the next week.
However, for the Ricebirds (4-1), after their dominant win over the Boerne-Champion Chargers (4-1), they will not have the opportunity to play this Friday night. Instead, they’ll be off with a bye before district play.
“The way we responded to that game it made us feel good about where we are at after five games heading into our bye week before district started,” El Campo head coach Chad Worrell said.
El Campo played two larger 5A Division II schools this season. Fulshear earlier in the season shocked the Ricebirds handing them their only loss. Afterward, the Ricebirds kept building and got better defensively, culminating with their big win over the Chargers last Friday night.
The defense through the first three games allowed 35.6 points per game. In the final two games against Wharton and Boerne-Champion, the defense played behind the line of scrimmage and wreaked havoc for the opposing team, bringing their overall average down to 27.6 points per game.
El Campo junior Rueben Owens II and seniors Jacob Lopez and Jackson Jensen picked off a pass last week. Ricebird senior Kerry North and juniors Reed Jung and Casen Braden added in a sack each. Lopez and Jung combined for 29 tackles.
Since the second drive of the second half against Wharton, El Campo’s defense is making the offense work for yards by not allowing many broken or missed tackles.
Hurting El Campo on defense were penalties and were called for numerous neutral zone infractions. Despite allowing some free yards, El Campo’s defense allowed under three yards a play to the Chargers last week.
Worrell credits the Ricebirds team-wide for adapting to everything he has brought in and taught them this season.
“From a new offense to new defense, everyone looks at that,” Worrell said. “What they don’t see is everything we do on special teams is brand new. All the terminology, all the assignments are brand new. What we do on game days, the practices during the week is different for them. What we do on Thursdays (is new). Everything we do is new and the kids have learned everything. It seems like we’re starting to get comfortable with our pre-game routine. I think you saw a lot of that playing out in our non-district.”
Through the first three games, the special teams had a tough time, giving up turnovers. As Worrell shared, with the team getting more comfortable with assignments, El Campo’s games have gotten a lot cleaner as the weeks wore on.
El Campo will get a little head start on preparing for the Stafford Spartans next Friday night towards the end of the week. With no freshman or junior varsity games as well, El Campo will get in three days of practices.
“We’re going to spend the first couple of days working on things that we’ve struggled on or things that we need to clean up,” Worrell said.