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El Campo hopes the numbers add up

By MIKE FORMAN
Nov. 10, 2011 at 5:10 a.m.
Updated Nov. 11, 2011 at 5:11 a.m.


El Campo Ricebirds vs. Alvin Manvel Mavericks

Class 4A, Division II Bi-District

7:30 p.m., Friday

Hopper Stadium, Freeport

Radio: KULP, 1390 AM

EL CAMPO - El Campo and Alvin Manvel will play for the first time in the Class 4A, Division II bi-district playoffs, and it could be the last time.

El Campo turned in an average daily attendance of 975 and will likely drop to Class 3A in the University Interscholastic League's upcoming reclassification and realignment for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.

Manvel turned in an ADA of 2,150 and is expected to become a Class 5A school.

But the only numbers that will matter when El Campo (7-3) and No. 6 Manvel (10-0) meet Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Hopper Stadium in Freeport will be the ones on the scoreboard.

"Certainly we're going to be the underdogs," said El Campo coach Bob Gillis. "They're a good football team. But last year we were undefeated and got beat, Brenham was undefeated and got beat so why not his year."

The Ricebirds lost to long-time playoff nemesis La Marque in last season's bi-district playoffs and expected to face the Cougars again this season.

But Friendswood's District 24-4A win over Texas City last Friday night sent the Mavericks from Division I into Division II.

Gillis was thankful to avoid a rematch with La Marque, but is well aware that Manvel beat the Cougars 29-14.

"They're undefeated for a reason," he said. "They're solid all the way across the board. What we see is they don't have one guy who stands out because they've got a lot of guys. You can't focus on just one guy. I think that's why they're so dad gum good."

El Campo closed out District 23-4A with three straight wins to finish third. The Ricebirds are coming off a 30-0 thumping of Lamar Consolidated in Rosenberg.

"We've got three wins in a row now so we want to go get that next one," said senior lineman Joey Hunt. "It would stop their undefeated season and the best we've done since I've been here is go three rounds and I want to go deeper than that this year."

District 24-4A swept 23-4A in the bi-district round last year and La Marque advanced to the state final.

"The first ballgame is real tough, especially because we're playing that other district," Hunt said. "We've just got to approach this game like it could be our last game. Just like last year we were unbeaten. It can be done."

The Ricebirds come into the game as healthy as they've been this season.

Gillis plans to add a few wrinkles, but will stick with what El Campo does best, which is run the ball and play solid defense.

"We know we're going to have to make first downs," he said. "We know we're going to have to keep that offense off the field for us to have a chance.

"When we don't turn the ball over, we've got a chance to be a pretty good team. If we don't turn the ball over, we'll have a chance and all you want is a chance."

The winner will advance to the area round against the winner of Thursday night's Houston Yates-Houston Kashmere game.

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