BANGS — Behind 708 yards of total offense — 403 through the air and 305 on the ground — the Early Longhorns played spoiler to head coach Kyle Maxfield’s first game with the Bangs Dragons.
What started as a close contest ended up in a 60-20 Early victory over its archival Bangs.
Fans from both schools were looking for a back-and-forth contest for the duration, as early on the Longhorns held onto a tight 13-12 lead following a 74-yard scoring sprint by Dragon Seth Anderson.
But Early (1-0) wasted little time in separating from Bangs (0-1) as senior Ryan Trompler — who completed 23 of 33 passes for 403 yards and three touchdowns — connected with junior Timmy Smithson from 42 yards out to extend the Longhorns’ lead to 19-12. Just a few minutes later, Trompler — who also rushed for a team-high 96 yards — would use his legs to find the end zone from 13 yards away, one of his three rushing touchdowns, after a fumble.
Bangs, which suffered its 17th consecutive loss overall, continued with a few deep drives in the first half, but turnovers — four for the game — and the inability to find the end zone widened the gap.
Trompler found Smithson — who grabbed seven receptions for 148 yards — once again from 23 yards out near the end of the first half, sending the Longhorns to the locker room with a 33-12 lead at intermission. Ty Schafer added a game-high eight catches for 189 yards for the Longhorns.
The second half saw the Dragons once again driving behind the strong running of Anderson, who picked up 124 yards and two touchdowns, and Ethan Sanchez, who generated 122 yards, but were unable to capitalize. Early’s defense gave up 351 yards, with 269 coming on the ground.
Trompler seemed to wear down a Bangs defense that spent a lot of time on the field. A late third quarter score by the Longhorns on a 30-yard toss from Trompler to Jesson Tarrant, who also rushed for a 15-yard touchdown, gave Early a 46-12 lead over its cross-county rivals. Another Early score, a 3-yard touchdown carry by Stephen Holt, widened the lead, 53-12.
In a bright spot that fired up the home crowd, Bangs junior Riley Taylor returned a kickoff to the Longhorn 40 yard-line. Two plays later however, Early grabbed another interception, giving the Longhorns another opportunity to score.
In one of the rare offensive mistakes of the game, Trompler was picked off late in the game by Bangs’ Anderson, who was all over the field throughout the entire game. The Dragons were able to score again, on a 38-yard toss from Justin Wilson to Anderson, making the score 53-20 but it was too little, too late. The Longhorns scored one last time on a 44-yard Brent Grooms scamper, leaving Bangs with a 60-20 deficit.
The Longhorns will target a 2-0 start next week at Coleman, as the Bluecats are coming off a 69-0 season-opening loss. The Dragons will attempt to avoid an 0-2 start as they venture to Hawley, which knocked off Roscoe, 49-21, in its opener.