After a 2-0 start to district play, three more teams stand in the way of a third straight district championship for the East Bernard Brahmas (5-1, 2-0).
The Brahmas latest test will come from the Rice Consolidated Raiders (2-4, 1-1) this Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Both East Bernard and Rice Consolidated will come into the game off bye weeks.
Rice Consolidated is new to Class 3A-DII after dropping from 3A D1 following the latest realignment. Despite being new to East Bernard’s division and district, the two schools played each other in non-district play the last two seasons.
The Raiders last year went 5-5 and finished third in their district. In the first round of the playoffs, they lost to Hallettsville 47-6.
Rice Consolidated this year has had to break in new players after graduating most of their offense. The Raiders have gone young, turning their offense over to sophomore quarterback Rafael Herrera. While they aren’t a pass-heavy team, Herrera, through six games, is 55 yards shy of throwing for the Raiders total passing yards last season.
Herrera struggled early this season, but seems to have found his footing in district play completing 16 of his 21 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The Raiders’ ground game does not have a bellcow running back. Instead, Rice has four different runners with 40 or more carries this season.
East Bernard’s defense through six games is allowing 11.6 points a game. Despite teams forced to pass against the Brahmas’ tough run defense, East Bernard is giving up fewer than 100 yards per game through the air. East Bernard junior defensive back Bryan Olvera leads the district with, four interceptions. The Brahmas defense has 21 takeaways this season.
Rice Consolidated’s defense will try and do what only Shiner has done this year and, that’s slow the Brahmas run game.
Raiders junior linebacker Michael Flores is active and leads the team in tackles and tackles for loss. Flores’ and the Raiders’ defense task will be tough as East Bernard, through six games, has run the ball for more than 1,800 yards this season. Rice Consolidated is allowing 28.6 points a game this season.