Bulletin Staff Report
EARLY — The Early Longhorns assured themselves of at least a share of the District 6-2A title with Friday night’s 42-7 win over San Saba. But the celebration remains on hold.
There are even taller mountains ahead to climb.
Early is no stranger to the district throne, having owned it outright two years ago and owning a share last year.
Ballinger’s 14-13 win over Coleman in overtime Friday means the Longhorns must collect a win when they travel to Runnels County next Friday to claim sole ownership of the district crown for 2007. A victory would send the Longhorns into the state playoffs with the momentum they’ve grown accustomed to having after winning six straight.
Early left no doubt this week in the minds of fans at McDonald Field that the Longhorns have earned their third consecutive crown in handling the Armadillos. Collin Rome rushed for 161 yards on only 10 carries, while Shane Morris picked up 75 yards on 10 rushes.
Meanwhile, Early quarterback Nick Lyle passed for 299 yards, completing 13 of 17 attempts with one interception.
San Saba quarterback rushed for 100 yards on 24 carries, and also passed for 100 yards, going 8 or 17, but he was intercepted by the Longhorns three times.
The Longhorns scored two touchdowns in each of the first three quarters, opening a 28-0 halftime lead, and collecting all its points before San Saba could break the ice.
Lyle hit Cody Bullard with an 11-yard pass with 9 minutes left in the first quarter, and Mitchell Bailey kicked the first of his six points-after. Rome ran 5 yards with 6:30 left in the first period for Early’s second score.
Lyle and Guy Henry hooked up for both second period touchdowns receptions, the first coming on a 79-yard play with 9:21 left in the half and the second on a 15-yard pass with 24 seconds remaining. But Henry’s 94 yards were still second for honors as the game’s top receiver as teammate Seth Coolbaugh had four catches for 97 yards.
Early added two touchdowns in the third period when Rome ran 14 yards with 11:22 remaining and Coolbaugh caught a 65-yard Lyle pass with 7:42 left.
San Saba avoided the shutout by scoring with 2:36 left in the game when Robert Ramirez ran it in from the 12.