With three 100 plus yard runners the El Campo Ricebirds showed why their run game is so lethal after practically running the Brazosport Exporters out of Hopper Field on Friday in a 51-17 District 13-4A D-I victory.
It was a run game that saw El Campo sophomore Jontre Davis go for 182 yards on 27 carries; freshman Rueben Owens had 114 yards on 17 carries and junior Charles Shorter gain 113 yards on 14 carries.
“It starts upfront with the offensive linemen,” Ricebirds Head Coach Wayne Condra said. “I thought the running backs did a much better job blocking for each other. When all that falls into place you get big plays. We told them, just keep pounding. It was three yards here, four yards there, then five, sooner or later the holes are going to start popping open and that’s what happened in the second half.”
Brazosport held an 17-12 lead at the half, but were outscored 39-0 in the final 24 minutes of play by the Ricebirds.
The Exporters fell to 1-1 in district and 4-2 overall and had a bit of momentum going into the locker room, but it turned out to be a tale of two halves.
El Campo improved to 2-1 in district, 6-1 overall as they went on a roll after getting the second-half kickoff. They went nine plays covering 68 yards with Davis taking care of the final yard to take the lead for good 18-17 after missing the extra point.
Brazosport’s hopes of staying close or even regaining the lead took a big blow on its first drive in the third quarter. Senior Daraell Preston took a big hit after a two-yard gain on second down and fumbled the ball away to the Ricebirds.
Preston stayed down and eventually was helped off the field but did not return. That kind of took the wind out of the Ships.
El Campo took Preston’s fumble and turned into another touchdown for Davis this one for 5 yards, 24-17. El Campo’s sophomore running back went onto to score twice, more including a 75-yarder in the final quarter where he just zig-zagged through the Ship defense to make the game 45-17.
El Campo opened the scoring in the game on its first drive going 60 yards for a 6-0 lead. But it was a short-lived advantage for the Ricebirds as Kevin Davis took the kickoff at the seven-yard line and faked a handoff to Ray Bell and took off 93 yards down the sideline. After Zeke Vergara’s extra point the Ships led 7-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, Davis recovered a pooch kick when no Ricebird player went after the ball. Brazosport needed six plays to cover 35 yards with Preston barreling into the end zone, 14-6.
“We knew coming into the game with the wind, special teams was going to be big and we weren’t able to do a couple of things there,” Condra said. “Overall, we played a well-rounded game. We came in at halftime, made the adjustments, kids came out and executed and we were able to take control of the football game.”
But the Birds came right back with a 12 play, 63 yard drive as Owens topped it off with his nine-yard scoot into the end zone, 14-12.
Vergara added a 30 yard field goal before halftime, but it was quite difficult for the Exporters to move the ball on the Ricebird defense in the first half gaining only 24 yards on the ground and 44 by the pass for 68 total yards.
The 50 points scored by the Ricebirds was the most they had in a game since the beating Houston Kashmere in the first round of the playoffs in 2017.
The Ricebirds next week will be home for the Sealy Tigers who had a bye.