Area Champions

El Campo Ricebird freshman wide receiver Hal Erwin sprints to the sideline full of excitement after the team takes a 35-7 lead right before the end of the half. The Ricebirds know who their next opponent is and will play Liberty Hill after beating La Feria 66-7 to advance to the third round as well.

 

ootball Friday night in Port Lavaca’s Sandcrab Stadium beating the Beeville Jones Trojans 49-13, moving them on to the third round of the playoffs.

The Ricebirds (10-2) came two plays away from pitching a shutout over Beeville (11-1).

A punt return led to a one-play touchdown late in the first quarter and a trick play 60-yard score with the game 49-7, was all the Trojans, who came into the game undefeated, could manage. Overall, the Ricebirds defense held Beeville to four first downs.

The offense came through and played complementary football, scoring seven touchdowns, all on the ground.

“It starts up front on the offensive and defensive line and those guys coming off the ball did a tremendous job,” El Campo Head Coach Wayne Condra said.

After being held to three and outs on two of their first three drives, the offense caught fire and scored four straight times to take a commanding 35-7 lead into the half.

The push on the offensive side of the ball opened big holes. Sophomore running back Johntre Davis scored four times while junior Charles Shorter had two and junior quarterback Cullen Barden added another with a one-yard keeper which took them in the locker room with 28-point lead.

“Offensive line came off the ball hard, like they’ve been working all week in practice and all year,” Shorter said. “All the credit really goes to them, they give us a hole and we hit it.”

Along with the starting offensive line, sophomore middle linebacker Jacob Lopez was called upon to lead the way on some running plays to open up creases.

“I think the running backs did a great job blocking for each other and Jacob (Lopez) came in tonight and got some big blocks for us,” Condra said. “Overall, it was a great team effort.”

Early and often, the defense put pressure on the Beeville offense. El Campo came out with a handful of sacks and countless tackles for loss.

With heavy pressure from senior defensive tackle Javien Williams, the Beeville quarterback at the 20-yard line lobbed the ball in the air. Senior defensive end Conner Williams came down with it for the interception. Six plays later, the Ricebirds paid off his play with a touchdown from Braden.

“Everyone had a monster game on defense,” Williams said. “Everything for our team was going good and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

The Ricebirds defense took the ball away from Beeville Jones three times, not counting a turnover on downs.

“Defense stepped up and played a wonderful game,” Shorter said.

With the win, the Ricebirds will be moving on to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since Condra took over the program in 2015.

“It feels great (to advance),” Williams said. “Last year, we didn’t make it to the playoffs and I think that kind of lit up everyone on the team that came back.”

“I’m awfully proud of these players,” Condra said. “They came into this year with a goal in mind and they’ve worked their tails off. Tonight I think we played one of our best games and we’re going to enjoy that. But we’re going to come back and look at how we can improve and get better.”

The Ricebirds will play Liberty Hill (7-5) next week (find out when and where on the Wharton County Sports Facebook page). Liberty Hill beat La Feria 66-7 to advance to the third round.

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