PORTER -- The El Campo Ricebirds fell behind by 14 points but reeled off the game's next 28 to knock out defending state champion Carthage, 28-21, Friday night in their Class 4A Division I Region III area playoff at Texan Drive Stadium.

El Campo (11-1), which also handed Carthage a loss in the 2012 state semifinals, will face top-ranked Navasota (12-0) next week in the regional semifinals. Carthage finished its season at 6-6.

Carthage's Jarod Blissett celebrates his touchdown catch during the Bulldogs' 28-21 loss to El Campo in their Class 4A Division I area playoff Friday night in Porter. (Bud Worley, ETSN.fm)

Kevin Dove led the way for El Campo with 163 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. His 1-yard scoring run with 6:56 remaining in the third quarter gave the Ricebirds a 28-14 lead after they fell behind 14-0 in the opening quarter.

Carthage quarterback Jarod Blissett fired an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jarrod McLin on the Bulldogs' next possession, cutting the deficit to one score. But El Campo shut down Carthage for the remainder of the game.

Blissett finished the night 14 of 31 for 163 yards with the touchdown and one interception. He also hauled in a 7-yard scoring reception from Hunter Townsend, which gave Carthage a 14-0 lead with 2:42 remaining in the opening quarter.

Townsend's 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to begin the game put the Bulldogs in front early, 7-0.

But once the second quarter began, El Campo began to find its way. DJ Washington hit Clayton Harp for a 34-yard score to get the Ricebirds on the board, and Dove's 1-yard run tied the game at 14-14 with 7:15 remaining in the half.

Washington's 6-yard scoring run with 2:32 to play until halftime put El Campo up to stay at 21-14.

Brewster Griffith led Carthage with 56 yards on 13 carries. He also added three catches for a team-high 62 yards in the losing effort.

[Stats courtesy, Chron.com]