Little Cypress-Mauriceville won its tenth game of the season last week. The Bears defeated Columbia 42-21 and advanced to the third round of the state playoffs.
Coach Eric Peevey said the Bears are healthy and playing well through 12 games this season. LC-M is as healthy as it can be with no major injuries.
The Bears played great football against Columbia limiting the Roughnecks to about 36 snaps on offense which was a big key since the Roughnecks had been controlling games with their offense. Little Cypress-Mauriceville kept its offense on the field controlling the clock and putting points on the board with four drives of ten or more plays. Bear running back Da’Marion Morris had over 200 yards in the game.
Peevey was excited how the Bears played in the decisive victory. Peevey expressed, “They’re just getting better each week.”
The competition gets tougher this week as the Bears play El Campo. Peevey points out the Ricebirds are led on offense by their outstanding running game. They run the Power-I and variations off the I-Formation including the old school T-Formation.
El Campo’s main focus is to get the football into the hands of tailback Reuben Owens. In two playoff games for the Ricebirds, Owens has run for over 300 yards in each game. For the season he has 2,787 yards rushing resulting in 43 touchdowns.
When Owens gets tired the Ricebirds turn to Johntre Davis who is their power running back and looks to punish tacklers when he runs. Davis averages over ten yards a carry like Owens does and has surpassed 1200 yards on the season with 17 touchdowns.
There’s not much fancy about the El Campo offense and it does not throw the ball much with Owens and Davis running it, but quarterback Isaiah Anderson will throw usually to wide open receivers. He is also involved in trick plays which the Ricebirds do like to use on occasions.
The game plan for El Campo is to get Owens just a junior the football and let him work his magic. “They’re not going to mess themselves up by not giving the ball to number 4, and make sure that Owens gets the ball as many times as he can,” Peevey predicted.
Head Coach Chad Worrell is in his first year at El Campo. Worrell previously was a defensive coordinator at Celina from which he brings the defense used by the Ricebirds according to Coach Peevey. The 10-1 Defense includes cover zero and bringing as much heat as possible on opposing offenses.
The Ricebirds use three-man fronts and four-man fronts with multiple edged defenders. Their defensive players do not really have designated assigned positions. They are going to move their best defensive players around to matchup with key offensive players on the other team.
Peevey and the Bear coaches have a pretty good idea how El Campo will lineup to try to stop the Bears, but they really will not know until the teams get on the field. Middle linebacker Jacob Lopez is an anchor for the Ricebirds. He stays in the box and calls the defensive sets for them.
A Ricebird the Bears will want to locate and block every play is Reed Jung. He can play safety, outside linebacker, inside linebacker, El Campo moves him around constantly, and is the Ricebirds’ primary blitzer. Peevey advised, “You constantly have to find him, you have to find where he is, and what he’s doing.”
There are no weak teams left in the playoffs now with only sixteen teams remaining. Peevey analyzed El Campo and how the Bears can beat the Ricebirds. Owens is probably the best running back LC-M has faced this year, but the El Campo offense may not be as well-rounded as some of the other Bears’ opponents. Peevey believes the Bears have played teams with better defenses than the Ricebirds.
Playing the tough preseason and in the very comparative district that Little Cypress-Mauriceville does has prepared it to play at this level now. “We’re going to have to pursue really well and do what we do, but my message to the kids each week is we cannot worry about the team across from us, we’ve got to worry about us number one, and we’ll figure out the rest later,” Peevey concluded.
The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears play the El Campo Ricebirds on Friday. The game will be at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah with the kickoff at 6:00 PM.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-