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Ricebirds rally for for sixth-straight win over Blackcats

By MIKE FORMAN
Oct. 27, 2011 at 5:27 a.m.

Bay City running back Devon Mitchell runs for a touchdown as El Campo defensive back Tamall Terrell leaps to attempt a tackle during the first quarter of Friday night's game at Bay City Memorial Stadium. ANGELI WRIGHT/AWRIGHT@VICAD.COM

BAY CITY - Bay City's Derek Brown ripped El Campo's gut out, but the Ricebirds still had heart.

El Campo put together a 66-yard drive capped by a Montray Johnson 2-yard touchdown run with 9 seconds left in the fourth quarter to claim a 38-32 District 23-4A win over the Blackcats on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

"It's El Campo-Bay City at its best," said El Campo coach Bob Gillis. "Their kids battled, our kids battled. It doesn't matter what the records are. That really isn't what you play for. What a great game."

The Ricebirds (5-3) improved to 2-2 in district with their sixth straight win over the Blackcats in the 106th version of the state's oldest continuous rivalry.

Bay City (3-5) fell to 1-3 in district and saw its playoff hopes all but evaporate.

"The kids played their hearts out; we just came out on the short end of the stick," said Bay City coach Robert Blackmon. "I take my hat off to coach Gillis and El Campo. They did a good job and made plays and we didn't."

Brown, who was a force on offense and defense, appeared to make the play that would send Bay City to its first win over El Campo since 2005.

Brown, who rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown and passed for 290 yards and two touchdowns, was almost sacked as he was spun around in the backfield. But he somehow kept his balance and found Dennis Martin for a 62-yard touchdown pass.

Shane Reynal's extra point gave the Blackcats a 32-31 lead with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter.

"Derek has made plays for us all year," Blackmon said. "Some good and some bad. That's just the price you pay. I'd take Derek anytime. He's just a playmaker. Derek is going to make plays."

El Campo took over at its 34 and needed only one pass completion - a 23 yarder from Cullen Schoener to Tanner Schoener that Bay City protested was caught out of bounds - to rally for the win.

"We told our guys we've got two timeouts, we've got plenty of time," Gillis said. "We're going to get in a hurry, but we're not going to get crazy or anything like that. Just do what we do and it worked out pretty good."

The Ricebirds converted a fourth-and-two from the Bay City 32 when Cullen Schoener took the snap in the shotgun and ran up the middle for 12 yards.

"I've been wanting that play all night and coach Gillis said he'd give it to me," said Schoener, who threw a pair of touchdown passes to Devontay Allen in the first half. "I'm glad he gave it to me that play."

Bay City got the ball back with 7 seconds left and Brown scrambled for 15 yards as time ran out. But the Blackcats were plagued by turnovers and plays they didn't make.

Bay City lost a fumble on a botched snap at the El Campo 5-yard line and Tamall Terrell intercepted a Brown pass to set up a Ricebirds touchdown.

"It's definitely frustrating when you see the errors that you could eliminate and have some success and win ballgames," Blackmon said. "But I say to myself everyday, they're still kids and you have to move on."

El Campo hopes to advance to the playoffs and can do so with wins over Brazosport and Lamar Consolidated.

"We've got some things we've got to work on," Gillis said. "Bay City puts a lot of pressure on you. I told Robert (Blackmon) after the game those kids played hard for four quarters. They did a good job and I'm proud of our guys too."

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