Bulletin Staff Report

BRADY - The undefeated Brady Bulldogs exploited the injury-riddled Early Longhorns for a 34-23 District 8-2A victory Friday night. Yet even in a loss, Coach Robbie Tindol saw some things that bode well for his team.

“I saw the kids come together,” Tindol said after the game. “If we can get healthy again and get on a roll, there’s still some things this team can do. There’s a lot of good things that can happen… By halftime, I saw them come together. They just kept on fighting.”

Brady scored two touchdowns in the first half, and added a third early in the second stanza to go up 22-0 before the Longhorns got on the scoreboard.

Early’s first touchdown came with 6:54 left in the first half when quarterback Chase Reeves hit Cody Bullard with a 4-yard pass. Kelton Darden’s kick made it 22-7.

But Brady answered quickly when Prennis Williams, the game’s leading rusher with 219 yards on 22 carries, darted 73 yards with 6:36 left.

Early narrowed the gap before halftime, thanks to a 5-yard pass from Reeves to Roman Lykes with only 10 seconds remaining before intermission. Darden’s kick made it 28-14.

Brady opened the second half scoring with a 64-yard run by Dustin Williams with 9:53 left in the third, and a 2-point attempt failed. But the Longhorn defense kept Brady out of the end zone the rest of the way.

Early rallied again with a 1-yard run by Zach Green with 7:35 left in the third, and Darden’s kick was again true.

The Longhorns threatened to score again midway through the fourth quarter, but Brady’s defense kept Early off the scoreboard with a goal-line stand. But Brady fumbled while trying to get away from the shadow of its goal post, and Early got 2 points on a safety when the Bulldogs covered the loose ball.

Sean Aly led the Longhorns’ ground game with 97 yards on 17 carries, and Reeves passed for 166 yards on an 8 for 19 performance. Bullard was the leading receiver for Early, catching five passes for 101 yards.

Brady put the ball up 10 times, mostly for short yardage, as Bulldog quarterback Mackenzie Hirt hit 7 of 9 for 37 yards.

“We’ve got a big challenge in front of us, but the top three teams go to the playoffs,” Tindol said. The two-time defending district champion Longhorns will get everybody’s best, he added, but next week’s open date arrives none too soon to give injured starters a chance to heal.

Early is now 0-2 in district and 2-4 for the year, while Brady is 1-0 in district and 5-0 for the season.