GC Sports Corsicana December 2018 - Page 17

DISTRICT 7-3A DII Rice BULLDOGS Head Coach Andy Mills 2018 record: 4-6 Last Playoff Appearance: 2018 and make a playoff run. They did. Rice opened the district with a 50- 17 win over rival Blooming Grove and set its path to the playoffs just as Robinson set his eyes on the end zone. After a slow start, Robinson took off and finished with 2,049 yards on 235 carries (8.7 yard average) and ran for 23 touchdowns. He had two 300-plus yard games, and ran for 292 and five touchdowns on the night Rice clinched the playoff spot with a 34-27 win over Scurry-Rosser. Turns out the key to Rice’s playoff run took place right here in the Golden Circle because the two wins against their biggest rivals (Blooming Grove and Mildred) lifted the Bull- dogs into the postseason, especially their 45-22 victory over Mildred in which Robinson ran for 305 yards to complete an unreal three-year run against the Eagles. He ran for 263 as a sophomore, 395 as a junior and 305 yards in 2018 to finish with 963 yards against Mildred, Robinson ran for 325 yards in Rice’s 56-0 regular season finale vic- tory over Dallas Gateway, but he was only one reason the Bulldogs fin- ished strong before losing to Clifton in the playoffs. Austin Scott, an All-District and All-Golden Circle two-way lineman, and Dylan McDonald, an All- District and All-Golden Circle tight end/defensive end, emerged as lead- ers and Rocha was the GC kicker and district’s MVP kicker. Jerry Montgomery was a first- team All-District defensive lineman and Saul Diaz and Angel Banda were first-team All-District two- way linemen for a Rice team that improved all year and marched back to the playoffs. 2018 SCHEDULE at Groesbeck  Crawford   at Palmer *   Blooming Grove  Buffalo *    at Mildred*  Edgewood *  Scurry-Rosser *   Gateway Charter *  Clifton    L 60-3 L 36-3 L 34-0 W 50-17 L 55-17 W 45-22 L 70-41 W 34-27 W 56-0 L 49-7 *District Game LLD RICE – You can’t keep the Rice Bulldogs out of the playoffs. That statement says as much about where the program is today as any, but to appreciate what it really means you have to understand that before coach Andy Mills showed up four years ago the Bulldogs had only been in the postseason twice (2004 and 2005), and Mills took over a program that was in a 10-year playoff drought. But when the Bulldogs arrived in the Class 3A playoffs right on time this year it marked their fourth season in a row of success. These Dawgs can tell the world they were a playoff team in 2015, ‘16, ‘17 and ‘18. No other senior class at Rice can say that. And this year’s story of success is a pretty good one because back in September it was hard to see the playoffs beyond the horizon. The Bulldogs not only started the season with an 0-3 record, but they scored just six points in their first three games (that’s a total of six points on two Jose Rocha field goals). Dee Robinson, who had rushed for more than 2,000 yards as a junior and was the Golden Circle Offen- sive Player of the Year, gained only 63 yards in an opening night loss to state powerhouse Groesbeck. During that early stretch the Bull- dogs couldn’t get a break, and a game in Rio Vista that Rice would have clearly won was washed out by a rain storm that cancelled games all over this part of the state that night. The Bulldogs opened the District 7-3A DII season without a win. And that’s why 2018 was arguably Mills’ best season as a coach. Mills knew he had some holes to fill and a long road ahead of him, but he never doubted his kids and be- lieved his team would come together G C F O OT B A L L 1 8 |   C O R S I C A N A DA I LY S U N | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 17