GATESVILLE — In the first of three state qualifiers for Early, the Longhorns finished with an 0-3 mark in pool play against Saturday against Gatesville, Lampasas and Rockdale.

Early first dropped a 27-26 decision to host Gatesville in the closing seconds, then fell to Lampasas, 39-6. The Longhorns ended the day with a 32-25 defeat at the hands of reigning Class 3A Division I state champion Rockdale.

“We actually played well against the bigger teams and found out things we need to work on,” said Early head coach Blake Sandford, who observed the action. “We were more physical than the other teams and threw and caught the ball well. We’re farther along than we were at this time last year.”

Early will next compete in the Jim Ned state qualifier on June 15 followed by the Brownwood qualifier June 22.