The El Campo Ricebirds (7–1, 3–1) used a dominant defensive performance Friday night to shutout the Sealy Tigers (4–2, 1–2) 28–0 at Ricebird Stadium.
With the victory, El Campo solidifies their second-place standing in the district. Sealy remains in fifth with their second straight loss.
The Ricebirds offense came out swinging on their first drive, with junior quarterback Cullen Braden hitting freshman Rueben Owens on a wheel route for a 31-yard touchdown. Charles Shorter capped the drive with a successful two-point conversion, putting the Birds up 8–0.
After a turnover on downs by the Sealy offense, Braden threw another long pass to senior tight end Conner Williams, making a toe-dragging catch along the sideline for a 32-yard gain. Three plays later Shorter scored on a four-yard run with 11:15 remaining in the 2nd quarter. With the extra point the Ricebirds went up 15–0 and took that lead into the half.
“(Cullen Braden) made great decisions all night long, he made some big plays in the passing game,” Ricebirds Head Coach Wayne Condra said.
Behind sophomore running back Johntre Davis, El Campo rushed for 148 yards in the second half and chewed up the majority of the clock.
“That’s our game,” Condra said, “We’re going to control the football on offense, (and) we were able to hit some big plays in the passing game which was a big plus.”
Davis and Owens both scored rushing touchdowns, and with one extra point blocked, the Ricebirds’ score reached 28 by the end of the third quarter.
El Campo’s defense stifled Sealy’s offense all night, particularly in the second half. The Tigers only mustered four yards in the third quarter, and 52 yards on their only drive of the fourth before turning the ball over on downs.
Sealy running back Matthew Lord, who entered as the fourth leading rusher in the district, was held to 46 yards on the night, while quarterback Carter Cryan was limited to 8/18 passing for 72 yards. The Tigers finished with a mere 162 yards of offense on the evening.
Davis led the Ricebirds with 169 yard of total offense. Shorter added 66 yards rushing and a score, while Owens had 29 yards and a touchdown on the ground to go along with his 31-yard touchdown reception. Braden went 5/9 for 101 yards and a touchdown in his best game yet since taking over Clay Jung who’s out with an injury.
“(Braden) gets better and better every week,” Condra said.
The Ricebirds have a bye week before going on the road to face Bay City in two weeks. Sealy will face Bay City next week.