EARLY — The Early Longhorns were again denied a District 3-3A Division I victory in their final home game of the season as the Jim Ned Indians ended a two-game slump of their own with a 45-22 triumph Friday night.
The loss was the fourth straight for Early (3-6, 0-4) since concluding the pre-district slate with a 63-0 homecoming victory over still winless Hico. The Longhorns, who last reached the postseason in 2008, have been outscored 177-52 in their four district outings and wrap up their season next week at 3-3A champion Wall (9-0, 4-0), which is coming off a 20-6 victory over Breckenridge.
Friday against Jim Ned (7-2, 2-2), the Longhorns yielded the first 19 points of the game and trailed 25-2 at halftime. Early's lone points of the opening half were the result of a blocked extra point returned for two points after Jim Ned's third touchdown.
Jim Ned scored first-half touchdowns on runs of 1, 15 and 20 yards by quarterback Josh Kelso, along with a 4-yard carry by Xavier Wishert.
Early produced the first points of the second half as a 15-yard touchdown run by Jesson Tarrant closed the gap to 25-8.
Wishert and Riley Perry followed with 1-yard touchdown runs for Jim Ned, which boosted its lead to 38-8 through three periods.
In the fourth quarter, Tarrant completed touchdown passes of 1 yard to Timmy Smithson and 17 yards to Carlos Moreno to account for Early's final two touchdowns.
Jim Ned scored once more on a 23-yard scoring toss from Tate Yardley to Cade Ford.
The Longhorns finished with 348 yards of total offense — 231 rushing and 117 passing — and one turnover.
Tarrant rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown and completed 8 of 12 passes for 100 yards and two more scores. Starting quarterback Brent Grooms was 2 for 4 for 17 yards and lost 5 yards on 5 carries.
Smithson led the Longhorns with five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, Moreno added three for 31 with a scoring reception and Tre Beam caught two passes covering 17 yards.
Cale Wade chipped in 94 yards on the ground while Alex Jacobs rushed for 32 yards.
Jim Ned generated 437 yards — 324 rushing and 113 passing — and did not commit a turnover.
Kelso amassed 157 rushing yards and three scores, Perry finished with 71 yards and a touchdown and Wishert added 63 yards and two scores.
Through the air, Kelso was 6 of 9 for 86 yards while Yardley went 2 of 5 for 27 yards with a scoring toss.
Ford caught three passes for 52 yards while Austin Martin pulled down two receptions for 40 yards for the Indians.