The Early Longhorns struggled on both sides of the ball Friday night in a 62-0 loss to district foe Jim Ned at Longhorn Stadium.
The Indians (6-2, 2-1) outgained the ‘Horns (3-5, 1-2) 399 yards to 87 on the night, with a vast majority of those yards coming in a dominant first half. Early managed just three first downs in the game and was led on the ground by junior Jose Pesina, who picked up 34 yards on four carries. Quarterback Ryan Trompler threw for 53 yards, and Early turned the ball over three times on fumbles while recovering two fumbles of its own.
Jim Ned quarterback Coalby Rives went 13 for 19 for 243 yards and five touchdowns, including three completions over 40 yards.
The Indians announced their presence on the first drive of the game after Early won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Jim Ned took the ball at its own 40 and needed just four plays to drive 60 yards for the score, with junior running back Cooper Castro taking the second handoff 42 yards into the Early red zone. Running back Riley Perry found the end zone from 5 yards out to put Jim Ned up 7-0.
Early went three-and-out on its first opportunity, getting behind the chains with a 3-yard loss from senior rusher Hayden Barker to start the drive. When the ‘Horns punted the ball back to Jim Ned, the Indians took possession near midfield and proceeded to score again in just five plays.
This time it was a 43-yard bomb to receiver Casey Hall, placed perfectly over his shoulder by Rives, that put Jim Ned in the end zone. The Indians failed in a two-point conversion attempt, limiting their to 13-0, but that would be one of the few setbacks for Jim Ned on the night.
Early’s second drive lasted just two plays before a botched handoff between Trompler and Pesina was jumped on by Rhett Payne, who secured the ball at midfield for Jim Ned. It took the Indians 10 plays this time, but the end result — a 9-yard touchdown pass from Rives to Josh Richey — was the same. The Indians were up by 20 when the first quarter finally expired.
The Indians would go on to score touchdowns on their next two possessions, while Early punted on its next three, all three-and-outs. With 5:14 left in the second, Jim Ned coughed the ball up at its own 40 and junior Longhorn defensive tackle John Griffin fell on it to give Early good field position. But the ‘Horns threw three incompletions and turned the ball over on downs.
Jim Ned fumbled the ball a second time on its next possession after Jordan Torrez ran the ball 40 yards deep into Longhorns territory only to be stripped by Early’s Ethan Rhodes at the end of the play. Trailing by 34 and desperate for a momentum change, Trompler couldn’t connect on second- and third-down passes and was again forced to line up for the punt.
But Trompler, handling the punting duties, couldn’t corral the long snap and fell on the ball for a turnover on downs deep in Early territory. Jim Ned scored in two plays, and when Early fumbled the ball back to Jim Ned on the first handoff of its next drive the Indians scored again in just one play. It was Jim Ned’s second touchdown in 17 seconds, and it gave the Indians a 48-0 halftime advantage.
Early managed two first downs in the second half but was held back by several untimely holding penalties and couldn’t find the end zone. It was Early’s second shutout loss of the season.
The Longhorns face their final road test of the season next Friday night as they take on the Merkel Badgers (4-4, 1-2) at 7:30 p.m. Merkel defeated Brady on Friday night 43-7.