When the last seconds ticked away on the El Campo Ricebirds season last year, they found themselves on the losing end of a round three playoff game. While the Ricebirds lost, the season ended with El Campo being one 16 4A teams in the state to make it that far.
The Ricebirds a season ago shook off a down year and took a lot of people by surprise outside of the program. Instead of keeping that momentum and continuing to build all offseason, the COVID-19 outbreak around the state halted everything.
Despite not being able to gather and workout until June, El Campo players don’t feel like the energy they had from last season is gone.
“I think we’re still (carrying) some momentum with us,” senior quarterback Cullen Braden said. “We know (everyone) isn’t against us. (Everyone) is on our side now and they think that we’re going to do really good, so that helps us out a little bit.”
Pads and full contact are still a few days away. On their first day back, the Ricebirds spent three hours late Monday afternoon doing footwork drills and they spent time focusing on the offense and defense.
While it hasn’t been a normal offseason, the conditioning was good for their first official day back.
“We finished our fourth quarter drill pretty easily. It was fine,” Braden said.
With the season now fast approaching week two is looking more and more like it will be a bye-week. The Ricebirds have still not found a replacement for the dropped Fulshear game. The Ricebirds in week five will play the St. Thomas Eagles. The Eagles last season made to the third round of the TAPPS playoffs, losing to the eventual state champions.
In week five, before the UIL moved 5A and 6A schools, the Ricebirds were going to play Boerne-Champion, one of the best 5A teams in the state. With the added game against the Eagles, the Ricebirds will get to have a tough game like they wanted before they start district play.