Defense set the tone for the Early Longhorns in their first scrimmage of the season Friday night, as they prevented the Goldthwaite Eagles from reaching the end zone.

“Hustle and effort were pretty high and I was proud of our guys for that,” said Early fifth-year head coach Blake Sandford. “We were trying to get 11 hats to the ball. We ran a stock defense and were just wanting to see pursuit and great tackling and I thought we did really well with that.”

On the offensive end, Early scored one touchdown “and had two or three called back,” according to Sandford.

“It was a very controlled scrimmage and we just ran limited offense to see how we were coming off the ball,” Sandford said. “There's some minor things we need to work on like cleaning up some blocking.”

Sandford also reported that the Longhorns did not sustain any injuries in the scrimmage.

Early's second and final scrimmage will take place Thursday at Old Bobcat Stadium in San Angelo against Reagan County, then the Longhorns open the 2019 regular season at home Friday, Aug. 30 against the rival Bangs Dragons.

Goldthwaite, under first-year head coach Keith Virdell, will scrimmage again Thursday at Cross Plains. The Eagles, looking to bounce back from a 1-9 campaign in 2018, open the season Friday, Aug. 30 at home against Winters.