EARLY ó The Early Longhorns entered their final 2012 District 3-2A Division I game with a 3-6 overall record and a 3-2 mark in district play, with wins against Grape Creek, Ingram Tom Moore and Brady. †
The Comfort Bobcats owned an identical overall record and an identical won/loss record in district, right down to having also beaten Grape Creek, Ingram Tom Moore and Brady.
Longhorn fans could not have asked for a better setting for a showdown in Week 10 with the winner advancing to the playoffs. Not only would the Horns be facing what appeared to be a pretty evenly matched team to themselves, Early owned the home field advantage and the Bobcats had to ride their busses almost three hours to play the game.
The scenario was an easy one to diagnose, for both teams it was the same: win or go home. A win for the Longhorns would send them to the playoffs as the third seed from 3-2A, and give Brad Bowden his first playoff appearance in six years as a head coach, the last three at Early.
As simple as the scenario seemed at the start, the Comfort Bobcats took the opening kickoff and began to confuse things for the Longhorns right away, then continued to ask questions for which the Longhorns had no answer, all the way to a 54-12 victory over Early.
When asked about missing the playoffs after coming so close, Bowden said ďI just didnít get the job done, thatís the bottom line, and thatís what I told them. You know we had a lot of kids come back out for football and that showed me a lot about their character and their heart. We improved, and in a lot of ways a lot of those kids got better. We werenít quite strong enough, werenít quite skilled enough, but bottom line our kids came out tonight and they played and they fought and you hate for it to end this way. Itís just my job to coach and do a better job and win and I didnít get it done and thatís on me, but Iím proud of those kids.Ē
The night was not without some outstanding plays on offense by senior quarterback Cameron Denison, senior wide receiver Austin Isom and tailback Jake Fisher, who broke for several runs including one for 49 yards in the third quarter.
On defense, season leading tackler Cody Morrison punished the Comfort ball-carriers throughout the night but for all their efforts, the Bobcats proved to be just too much for the Longhorns to keep in check.
After falling behind 7-0, the Horns fought back with a 47-yard pass from Denison to Isom on the last play of the first quarter, but the extra-point attempt would set the tone for the rest of the game ó Brandon Brownleeís kick was blocked and the Bobcats were able to scoop up the loose ball and race 95 yards to score two points and extend their lead to 9-6.
The Bobcats never looked back from there, taking a 19-6 lead into the locker room at the half and stretching the lead to 48 points before Charlie Tongate punched the ball into the end zone for six points with 1:12 left in the game for a 54-12 end to the 2012 Early Longhorn season.