CLYDE — The Early Longhorns traveled to the new Bulldog Stadium to take on the Clyde Bulldogs with plans to play spoiler for the Clyde homecoming court, but the Bulldogs had plans of their own.

Early fell to 0-3 in pre-district play with a 14-7 loss against the Clyde Bulldogs, who improved to 2-1 on the season.

The Longhorns came within 12 minutes of their first win of the year and managed to claim their first lead of the season in the second quarter on the Longhorns’ biggest play of the game. Sophomore Ethan Horton threw a strike to Zac Fox for a 68-yard completion and touchdown with 5:51 left in the first half. The Zac Fox PAT put the Longhorns ahead for the first time this season,7 -6.

The Longhorns tallied a total 111 passing yards on the night, with Chase Reeves again helping to shoulder the load in the fourth quarter. The ground attack for the Longhorns showed 51 total yards spread among three players.

At half-time, Early head coach Robbie Tindol saw his team in its best position all season, stating “Our kids played with a lot of heart the first half… they came out ready to play.”

Prior to the game, Tindol marked one of the game keys as kick coverage, and Fox helped his coverage team as much as he could. Fox pounded the ball with his leg, averaging 31.4 yards on seven punts, including a touchback with 8:24 left to play in the game. Fox also pinned the Bulldogs on their own 4-yard line at the 4:12 mark in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldog rushing attack was too much for the Longhorns to handle.

Tindol expected the Bulldogs to run the ball, and they did not disappoint their fans. The Bulldogs’ Rogers led all rushers with 164 yards on 19 carries with three more players from Clyde chipping in an additional 142 ground yards. The Bulldogs’ first score came with 0:15 left in the first period, but the Longhorns blocked the PAT to keep the score at 6-0

Though the Bulldogs only threw seven times for two completions, their second completion of the game sealed the game. A stinging 3-yard throw for quarterback Landon Liles to Josh Henson for a touchdown moved the Bulldogs into a 12-7 lead and the Landon Liles run for the 2-point conversion set the final score at 14-7 with 11:53 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Longhorns had an opportunity to tie the game late in the fourth quarter as the ‘Horns defense forced a Bulldog punt with 1:18 left in the game. A 26-yard punt started the Longhorns in Clyde territory at the 49 yard-line. A first down sack and the consistent pressure of the Bulldogs’ defense forced the only interception of the game. Clyde was content to let time run off the clock and secure the victory.

The Longhorns will attempt to gain momentum and their first win before heading into district play next Friday as they visit the Ballinger Bearcats.