A night before Halloween, the El Campo Ricebirds (7-1, 4-0) defense was not tricked one bit by the West Columbia Roughneck (4-4, 1-3) offense as they won in a rout Friday night at Ricebird Stadium.
The Ricebirds offense and defense had big games as they beat the Roughnecks 41-13, to remain perfect in district play.
To start the game, West Columbia picked up three first downs on their first drive. However, the El Campo defense hardened and forced a turnover on downs on a fourth and short.
With the energy from holding West Columbia, the Ricebirds running backs behind their offensive line picked yards in chunks. On the seventh play of the drive, junior fullback Johntre Davis broke to the outside and scored from 20-yards out.
Special teams gave the ball right back to the offense. Freshman placekicker Diego Gutierrez pooched the kick and on the in-between hop, the Ricebirds recovered the ball.
Sophomore running back Rueben Owens ll added the Ricebirds second score, beating the West Columbia defense to the outside for a 43-yard touchdown putting them ahead two scores.
“I thought our kids came out really pumped up and ready to go,” Ricebirds Head Coach Wayne Condra said. “(Our) defense played lights out. (West Columbia) has a great rushing attack and we got to the football and did some great things and really shut them down early. (Our) offense came out clicking. (West Columbia) gave us a bunch of different looks on the defensive side but our guys did a great job of picking things up.”
West Columbia, facing a punt on their next drive gambled at mid-field and faked it. The fake worked and the Roughnecks found new life.
West Columbia picked up a first down to move them close to the red zone. Coming into the game averaging three passes a game, the West Columbia quarterback threw his sixth pass of the first quarter towards the end zone, only to have junior cornerback Isaiah Anderson jump in front of the receiver and pick off the pass.
The Ricebirds defense did not allow a first down to West Columbia on their next four possessions.
El Campo’s offense took advantage and added a third score before half-time.
Senior quarterback Cullen Braden found senior tight end Kaden Alcalais in the back of the endzone for a 13-yard touchdown to cap off a five-play, 76-yard drive to put El Campo in control 20-0 after a made two-point conversion.
The offense stayed hot adding two more scores from Davis and another from Owens as El Campo went up 41-0 at the end of the third quarter.
In district play the defense has taken a step forward, allowing 12 points a game on average.
“We’re getting more pumped up during practice. We’re motivating our guys and we strive to be better,” senior linebacker Oziel Alanis said.
El Campo will go on the road to play the Needville Bluejays next week to decide the district championship.
“I’m really excited,” Alanis said. “Our team has been looking forward to winning our district. Because our district is pretty hard (so it will mean a lot).”
Needville Friday night beat Bay City 56-49.