Early eviscerates Hico in 63-0 homecoming triumph

Longhorns tally first shutout in 10 years, most points since 2013

Derrick Stuckly dstuckly@brownwoodbulletin.com
Timmy Smithson (4) caught eight passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns in the Early Longhorns' 63-0 homecoming win over Hico Friday. [Photo by Steve Nash]

EARLY — With their two-game win streak falling by the wayside, the Early Longhorns responded in a major way, throttling the winless Hico Tigers in a 63-0 homecoming victory Friday night.

The Longhorns (3-2) were eager to re-establish positive momentum following last week's 47-28 road loss to Hamilton, as Early begins District 3-3A Division I action at Eastland on Oct. 11 following next week's bye.

“This was very important,” Early fifth-year head coach Blake Sandford said of the victory. “First off, getting a win is always hard in Texas high school football and our kids responded well, flushed last week's game and had a really good week of practice. This is good for our confidence level knowing the things that you work on in practice can translate into the games. We have our work cut out for us going forward, but it's good to have a great outing tonight. We're just proud of our kids and the effort they've shown.”

The Longhorns recorded their first shutout in a decade with the last occurring on Oct. 30, 2009 in a 28-0 decision over Coleman. Hico (0-4) mustered just 143 yards of total offense — 111 through the air on 14 of 25 passing and 32 rushing yards on 28 carries.

“The defensive coaches have been working diligently trying to get things where we want them to be,” Sandford said. “We did a good job with our assignments, a good of stopping Hico and not letting them get many first downs. That's one of the things we want is to get three-and outs, make teams punt the ball and get good field position.”

Offensively, Early generated 647 yards of total offense — 354 rushing and 293 passing — and the Longhorns' 63-point outburst was the most scored since Oct. 11, 2013 in a 64-27 victory over Grape Creek.

“We felt like we could do a lot of different things, get the ball in a lot of different playmakers' hands,” Sandford said. “I was really pleased with the way the o-line was working. We talked before the game about putting everyone on their backs and taking the game over, and they responded really well.”

Quarterback Brent Grooms completed 13 of 15 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 46 yards and two more scores.

“I thought Brent did a really good job at quarterback of distributing the ball,” Sandford said. “Five people caught passes and he ran the ball well when he needed to run the ball.”

Timmy Smithson hauled in a team-high eight receptions for 230 yards and three touchdowns while Carlos Moreno secured a 12-yard scoring catch. Rylie Hill added two grabs for 31 yards, Reece Bolton caught a 12-yard pass of his own and Alex Jacobs hauled in an 8-yard reception.

On the ground, Tre Beam led the way with 112 yards and a touchdown, Cale Wade rushed for 91 yards, Jacobs contributed 90 yards with two trips to the end zone and Smithson tacked on 15 yards to the tally.

“I thought the running backs ran extremely hard,” Sandford said. “We were close to have three rushers with 100 yards apiece.”

Once district action begins, the Longhorns will be attempting to halt a playoff drought that extends to 2008.