ing ways hosting the 2018 4A-Division 2 State Champion Cuero Gobblers with a dominating 42-0 win. Though the offense seemed to click on all cylinders, the defense stole the show, making play after play ensuring there would not be a repeat of last year.
The Ricebirds stalled on their first drive, but Charles Shorter swung the momentum back in El Campo’s favor, intercepting Cuero quarterback JD Notaro’s pass and returning it to the Ricebird 24 yard line. Freshman running back Rueben Owens got El Campo on the scoreboard with his first touchdown of the year, a 12 yard run with 6:27 left in the first quarter.
The defense stepped up again for the Birds early in the 2nd quarter when senior tackle Javien Williams stripped the ball from Notaro and completed the scoop and score with a 35-yard scamper to paydirt.
“Our guys play with a lot of excitement. That’s big. Every time you see the ball, you’re going to see at least six El Campo Ricebirds around it. That’s a great effort by the defense,” said Head Coach Wayne Condra.
Williams would recover another Gobbler fumble on the following drive.
The El Campo offense exploded for three more touchdowns in the second quarter. Junior running back Charles Shorter scored on a 21-yard run and sophomore Johntre Davis added two scores including a 78-yard pass reception from senior quarterback Clay Jung and a 29 yard run after blasting out of the middle of a scrum of Cuero defenders.
The Gobblers managed a mere 28 total offensive yards in the first half. Defensive back Nathan Willis collected an interception right before the Birds headed to the locker room with a 35-0 advantage.
Cuero received the ball first in the second half, but El Campo’s defense forced another punt. It took 54 seconds for the Ricebirds to find the end zone once again. Shorter found a crease in the Gobbler defense and sprinted for 59 yards and the final score, making it 42-0.
Shorter finished with four carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Davis led all rushers with 106 yards on seven carries and a score. Jung completed two of five passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
“We’re feeding off of (the team’s success),” Condra said. “We’ve got a great opportunity in front of us and we’ve got to go out there and take it.”