First meeting in nearly 3 decades

By Robert Proctor

The Cuero Record

For the second time in the last three weeks, Cuero will welcome a team from District 13-4A Division I with the El Campo Ricebirds taking on the Gobblers Friday night. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1989, a 35-0 El Campo win in Cuero.

El Campo has started the season with back-to-back wins over Texas City (28-21) and Rockport-Fulton (26-21).

Seventeen starters from Wayne Condra’s 2017 area finalist team graduated, but 24 lettermen have returned, including three starters on offense and two on defense. The Ricebirds finished 8-3 last season.

Defensive linemen Javien Williams leads a talented Ricebird defense. As a sophomore, Williams totaled 44 tackles and four sacks. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football picked Williams as the district’s preseason defensive MVP.

On offense, quarterback Lynn Osina will be under center after accounting for 502 passing yards and seven touchdowns last season. JeVeon Cunningham rushed for over 300 yards in four games in 2017.

Through two games, Cuero is averaging 338 yards per game, 169 yards rushing and passing. The Gobbler defense has allowed 294 yards per game (201 rushing and 93 passing).

Chance Albrecht has 59 carries for 302 yards (5.1 per carry) and six touchdowns. Devin Whittington leads all Cuero receivers with six receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown. He’s followed by Trent Haynes (3-112-1) and Deandre Lang (10-94). Michael Barta has completed 20 of 31 passes for 304 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

El Campo is projected to finish second in their district behind Sealy and ahead of Bay City, Needville, Freeport Brazosport, West Columbia and Fulshear. The Ricebird were ranked 20th in Campbell’s 4A-DI preseason poll.

“They are a very good football team, a very good program, a perennial 10-win team every year, well-coached,” Cuero coach Travis Reeve said of El Campo. “We have a lot of respect for them. It’s another big ball game. We just have to get better.”

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