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Top moments of El Campo's season

By Taylor Mitchell
Dec. 14, 2012 at 6:14 a.m.


Bryce Brandl sends the Ricebirds to the state final with a touchdown on fourth and goal

• SITUATION: Down 25-22 with 2:26 left in the fourth quarter, El Campo faced a fourth and goal from the two-yard line.

• WHAT HAPPENED: Quarterback Bryce Brandl did what he's done all season long and bullied his way through Carthage's defensive line, which was led by Texas A&M commit Isaiah Golden. The Ricebirds began the drive after recovering a fumble by Carthage at the nine-yard line. The first two plays brought El Campo to within two yards, but a false start penalty sent them back to the seven. Wayne Hargrove got the Ricebirds back to the two-yard line on third down, setting up Brandl's game-winning touchdown.

Good fortune paves way for El Campo's comeback victory over Carthage in semifinals

• SITUATION: After leading 14-10 at halftime of the Class 3A, Division I state semifinal game, El Campo fumbled twice, threw an interception and punted on the first four drives of the second half to go down 25-14.

• WHAT HAPPENED: El Campo began the fourth quarter with a 15-play, 52-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by Bryce Brandl. However, the two-point conversion only made the score 25-22 and after being flagged for being offside on the onside kick attempt, all Carthage needed was to kill three minutes to win. On the second play of their possession, the Bulldogs tried to catch El Campo off guard and managed to catch themselves unprepared as they fumbled the ball inside their own 20-yard line and the Ricebirds recovered the loose ball at the nine, setting up Brandl's game-winning touchdown.

El Campo wins first regional title since 1967

• SITUATION: El Campo has fielded several good teams over its long history, but the Ricebirds hadn't won a regional championship in 45 years.

• WHAT HAPPENED: Against Ingleside, at Victoria's Memorial Stadium, El Campo built a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter on a pair of Montray Johnson runs and held on for a 31-20 victory. Ingleside cut the deficit to 17-14 in the third quarter, but the Ricebirds' defense wouldn't allow any more points until late in the fourth quarter.

Ricebirds overcome record number of penalties to defeat Bellville 28-7 in the District 25-3A opener

• SITUATION: El Campo had won its first four games of the season with relative ease, but hurt itself with 16 penalties that accounted for 165 yards.

• WHAT HAPPENED: It was a record head coach Bob Gillis didn't want to break, but the Ricebirds did when they committed 16 penalties against Bellville. However, the defense for El Campo turned in one of its best performances of the season, holding Bellville to just 95 yards of total offense. El Campo went on to win 28-7 thanks to touchdown runs by Bryce Brandl, Montray Johnson and Jack Davis.

Four first-quarter touchdowns spark El Campo to its first playoff victory in two years

• SITUATION: El Campo hadn't won a playoff game since the 2009 season when it defeated Houston Yates in the area round of the 4A state playoffs. The next week the Ricebirds lost 17-16 to Dayton and went one-and-done in the next two playoffs.

• WHAT HAPPENED: Bryce Brandl scored twice in the first quarter, Jack Davis scored once and B.J. Flagg recovered a fumble in the end zone to build El Campo a 28-0 lead over La Grange in the bi-district game at Victoria's Memorial Stadium. Johnson added a touchdown in the second quarter as the Ricebirds rolled to a 35-21 win, their first playoff victory in two years. The win sparked El Campo's run in the playoffs, which has led the Ricebirds to this week's state championship game at Cowbosy Stadium in Arlington.

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