Ricebirds win Texas' oldest continuous rivalry for 8th straight time (photo gallery)


Sept. 14, 2013 at 4:14 a.m.

Bay City's Da'Shaun Smith gets taken down by El Campo's Ryan Drapela and other defenders during Friday night's game at Ricebird Stadium. The Ricebirds defeated the Blackcats 42-25.

Bay City's Da'Shaun Smith gets taken down by El Campo's Ryan Drapela and other defenders during Friday night's game at Ricebird Stadium. The Ricebirds defeated the Blackcats 42-25.   Angeli Wright for The Victoria Advocate

EL CAMPO - B.J. Flagg grew up watching Bay City and his cousin, Terrance, beat El Campo.

He's been more than happy to help the Ricebirds return the favor over the last four years.

Flagg rushed for a career-high 234 yards and three touchdowns to lead El Campo to a 42-25 win over the Blackcats on Friday night at Ricebird Stadium.

"It's a great feeling," Flagg said. "They're our rival. It's one of the biggest ones in Texas. You've got to beat them all four."

The Ricebirds (3-0) made it eight straight over the Blackcats (0-2) in the 110th meeting overall and the 94th consecutive matchup of the Wharton and Matagorda county schools.

El Campo took the lead just before halftime and put up 28 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters.

"We'll take it," said El Campo coach Bob Gillis. "We had a lot of things go wrong in the first quarter, and our kids hung in there and hung in there and came out in the third and fourth quarters and played like I thought we could play."

The Ricebirds put the ball in the hands of Flagg and Jarrin Henderson, and they pounded the Bay City defense.

The Ricebirds picked up 238 of their 386 rushing yards in the second half.

"That's what we talked about at the half," Gillis said. "Let's do what we do. Let's come off the ball, make them make tackles, and let's don't turn it over and play a little field position. I felt like that last score before half, when we went almost 80 yards, that was a big key and gave our kids a boost."

Flagg scored on runs of 4 and 5 yards in the second quarter and added a 69-yard touchdown run in the second half, when he had five runs of 10 or more yards.

"I just had to turn it up and keep going because the team needed me right then and there," Flagg said. "It was just the leads up the middle. They were wide open and sometimes to the outside."

Gillis was happy to see Flagg, who had 25 carries, have a breakout game.

"He's getting better, better and better," Gillis said. "B.J. didn't play much running back for us last year. He's a power guy like we said, and he just . when he runs, he has a chance to be pretty special."

Bay City started fast, taking advantage of a pair of El Campo turnovers, and trailed only 14-12 at halftime.

But the Blackcats were penalized 12 times for 121 yards and had their losing streak go to 17 straight games.

"We had them right where we wanted them in the first half, but in the second half, we self-destructed and fell apart a little," said Bay City coach Dan Burk. "Penalties killed us. That was a big factor."

El Campo's defense held Bay City scoreless until the Blackcats converted two late touchdowns when the game was out of hand.

"We went into halftime and lined up to their formations, and we covered them really well," said El Campo defensive back Clayton Harp, who had two interceptions. "Our line tackled real well, and our secondary covered them. It's always a test when we play Bay City. They're big rivals and try and come out and play hard against us. We overcame it."

El Campo did what it does best in the second half. The Ricebirds lined up and ran right at Bay City to extend their lead in the series to 58-43-9.

"Them with their experience and doing what they do," Burk said. "They did a great job of that. In the second half, we didn't play as disciplined as we needed to and let them take it to us."



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