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Quick start propels Longhorns past Merkel 31-20

Joey D. Richards
Abilene Reporter-News
Longhorns running back Alex Jacobs scores on a 28-yard run in the first quarter.

MERKEL — The Early Longhorns rolled to a 29-0 halftime lead and then held on to beat Merkel 31-20 in a nondistrict football game Friday at Badger Stadium.

Alex Jacobs' second touchdown run of the night, a 5-yarder, gave the Longhorns (2-2) 29-0 lead with 3:32 left in the first half. It was set up by a Jeremy Brown interception at the Merkel 45-yard line. Three plays later, Jacobs ran for the TD. He also had the game’s first score – a 28-yard run with 8:17 to play in the first quarter.

Early added a safety less than two minutes later after Jacobs' first score, dropping Merkel punter J.J. Myers in the end zone after a high snap.

Quarterback Jaxyn Price had a 4-yard TD run with 4:53 left in the opening quarter, helping Early to a 16-0 lead before Merkel even had a first down, and backup QB Tucker Hale tacked on a 1-yard TD run with 5:39 remaining in the half.

Early's Tre Beam, left, prepares to drop Merkel punter J.J. Myers for a safety and a 9-0 lead with 6:57 left in the first quarter. A high snap forced Myers to scramble on the play in the end zone. Early won the game 31-20 on Friday at Badger Stadium.

Merkel (2-2) stormed back in the second half – scoring on the Badgers first three possession.

Isaac Sebastian got the comeback started with a 71-yard TD run on the Badgers’ second play from scrimmage in the half, and Joey Zink threw a 7-yard TD pass Jace Thomason on Merkel’s next possession.

Then one play after Myers hauled in a 26-yard pass from Zink on a fourth-and-14 play, Zink scored from a 1-yard out with 10:46 left in the game. All Merkel needed was a PAT to make it a one-possession game. But the snap on the kick attempt rolled across the ground, and Zink – the holder – picked it up and threw an incomplete pass.

Early then ate up the clock with a 18-play drive that died at the Merkel 20 with 1:50 to go. The Longhorns later sacked Zink in the end zone to cap a 31-20 victory.