Bulletin Staff Report
COMANCHE - Early’s Longhorns found themselves in a shootout with the Comanche Indians Friday night, and it appeared they had fired the winning salvo when Collin Rome’s four-yard touchdown run and Kelton Darden’s kick put the Horns ahead 38-31 with 1:35 left in the game.
But the Indians sent the homecoming crowd home happy to have a one-point win after a rally for a touchdown and a two-point conversion with 15 seconds left.
The 39-38 District 8-2A setback dealt a serious, but not terminal, blow to the Longhorns’ playoff aspirations. Early, the district champions for the past two years, can still reach post-season play with the right combination of wins and losses by other district teams, but they no longer are control of their own destiny with a 1-3 district record and two games left.
The defeat also spoiled a stellar offensive performance by Early quarterback Nick Lyle, who passed for 465 yards while completing 28 or 46 attempts - without an interception. Riley Cason led Early rushers with 88 yards on 11 carries.
Early’s Cody Bullard caught 10 of those passes for 214 yards, and Seth Coolbaugh had nine catches for 155 yards.
Comanche quarterback Jerick Roberts had 219 yards passing on a 14 of 24 performance, with one interception, and he also threw the winning 2-pointer to Cody Biggs with 15 seconds left in the game. Roberts was the game’s leading rusher with 15 carries for 105 yards. The Indian running game was aided by a 93-yard effort by Josh Feaster on 29 carries.
Biggs was the Indian’s leading receiver with 8 catches for 104 yards.
Comanche opened the scoring with 7:35 left in the first quarter on a 6-yard run. Carmelo Herrera’s kick was good. Early answered with a 55 yard TD pass from Lyle to Bullard with 11:45 left in the second period, but a 2-point attempt failed. Comanche padded its lead with a 19-yard Herrera field goal with 2:57 left in the half. Early took its first lead of the game with 1:05 left in the half when Chase Reeves caught a 6-yard pass from Lyle, and Darden’s kick was good. Early owned a 13-10 lead at intermission.
Early scored twice in each the third and fourth quarters. Rome ran 9 yards with 9:05 left in the third, and Cason scored on a 2-yard run with 50 seconds left. In the fourth, Rome had a 2-yard scoring run with 3:50 left and then the four-yard run with 1:35 left.
Comanche in the third quarter when Biggs caught a 15-yard pass from Roberts, and added three touchdowns in the fourth. Before the winning score, Feaster caught a 51-yard Roberts pass with 6:05 left, and added a 98-yard kickoff back for a touchdown.
Early returns home next Friday to host Coleman, who lost to Brady this week. The Longhorns’ final regular season game will be on the road at Dublin.