Tag: Early Longhorns

GAME STORY: Early’s best season in 14 years ends with loss to Shallowater

CLYDE — A week removed from earning their first playoff win since 2007 with a stunning victory over Pilot Point, the Early Longhorns were hoping to spring another surprise area round. 

Unfortunately for the ‘Horns, the Shallowater Mustangs arrived at Bulldog Stadium fully prepped for a difficult matchup and defeated Early going away, 43-14. 

The Mustangs pounded out 291 yards rushing en route to the win, led by Keagan Campbell’s 96 yards on 14 carries. SHS now advances to face Whitesboro (8-4) in the Region I-3A DI semifinals next week.  Shallowater never trailed and was never threatened after building a 23-0 halftime lead.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Jim Ned dominates Early, hands EHS first loss of 2021

TUSCOLA — For the upstart Early Longhorns to have any shot at upsetting defending Class 3A DI state champion Jim Ned, they absolutely had to do two things: quickly seize the momentum and win the turnover battle. 

Neither objective was met. On the contrary, it was Jim Ned which started strongly and closed with a 3-1 turnover ratio in a 48-7 win in the Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

Xavier Wishert rushed for 215 yards and four scores on only 16 carries to lift Jim Ned (6-0, 1-0 District 3-3A DI) to a lopsided win in the district opener for both clubs.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Clyde, Early meet in important District 3-3A DI matchup

LAST WEEK: 32-2, .941
OVERALL: 282-64, .815

With two straight weeks of hitting over 90 percent on my picks, I’m feeling ready for the home stretch. But our Big Country Preps Game of the Week and at least three other area games, are virtual tossups. So keeping this pace up will be a challenge.

Our spotlight game: Clyde (3-4, 2-0) facing Early (4-3, 1-1) in a game that in the end, may decide the No. 3 playoff seed.

But this game offers a bit more than that.

The Early Longhorns haven’t reached the playoffs since 2008 — 12 straight years of sitting at home in late November. But a win here would nearly lock up a playoff spot, assuming the Longhorns defeat winless San Angelo TLCA on Oct. 30. 

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Football is fast approaching, and we at BigCountryPreps.com are committed to bringing you the information you need to prepare for your favorite team’s season.

We’ll be releasing our Big Country Preps Preseason Football Preview, the most comprehensive look at the upcoming Big Country football season anywhere, on Friday, Aug. 14. But you won’t have to wait until then to sate your gridiron appetite.

Leading up to the first day of fall football practice on Aug. 3, we’ll be spotlighting each 11-man team in the area and posing some of the key questions they’ll face in 2019 as part of our “Countdown to Two-a-Days” series.

After featuring Clyde on Wednesday, we stay in District 3-3A Division I with the Early Longhorns. On Friday, we will take a look at the Jim Ned Indians followed by the Wall Hawks on Saturday.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Price forced to put football and promising spring on back burner

The “What Might Have Been” feature series is Big Country Preps’ effort to celebrate area athletes who have seen their seasons affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The series will continue through June 15. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

For much of his career, 39-year-old Daniel Price had been patiently waiting to get his shot. 

He had long wished to be the man on the headset, manning the sidelines in crucial situations and leading a football program of his very own.

In February, he was given that opportunity when Early ISD named him to replace athletic director and head football coach Blake Sandford, who resigned in December.

All the pieces were in place. All that was needed was to develop a plan and implement it.

Then it happened — a statewide lockdown of all high school spring sports implemented in by the University Interscholastic League in March as a safety measure against the COVID-19 outbreak. 

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 10 Report

Eastland 42, Clyde 27 Behren Morton was 22 of 36 for 288 yards and four scores as Eastland recovered from its first loss of the year (at Wall on Oct.


25) with a big win over Clyde. 

Anthony Bonilla was Morton’s favorite target, hauling in seven catches for 142 yards and a score. He also rushed eight times for 69 yards and two more touchdowns as the Mavericks improved to 8-1 overall and 3-1 in district play. 

Dylan Neuman led Clyde (6-3, 2-2) with 231 yards passing, including a 37-yard TD pass to Jax Roam in the fourth quarter.

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 7 Report


Wall 35, Clyde 7  In a high-profile game between the district favorite and perhaps the most-improved team in the league, the Hawks got the better of the upstart Bulldogs. 

Mason Fuchs threw for 79 yards, rushed for 23 and threw one TD pass to lead Wall (6-0, 1-0), tallied 222 rushing yards via committee. 

Leading 14-0 at the break, third-ranked Hawks blew the game open with a 5-yard TD run by Cinch Dickey at the 7:30 mark and a 17-yard TD jaunt by Chase Rios at 0:53. 

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 4 Report

Jim Ned 28, Mason 19 — The Indians (4-0) passed their most difficult test of the early season in workmanlike fashion.


Trailing 6-0 early on, the Jim Ned gained a permanent upper hand with three straight touchdowns — the first of which came at the 0:16 mark of the first quarter on a 1-yard run by Riley Perry. 

Perry added a 3-yard TD with 4:08 left in the half before a 65-yard punt return by Jamin Harwell put the Indians up by three scores with 9:07 left in the third quarter. 

Continue reading “District 3-3A Division I: Week 4 Report”

FEATURE: Early’s Smithson a small, but determined target

EARLY — At only 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, Early receiver Timmy Smithson doesn’t cast an imposing shadow. In fact, some may say he barely casts a shadow at all. 

That is, until one looks at his résumé. 

Smithson, who earned all-state honors as a junior last season, accomplished this feat despite getting extra defensive attention while playing in one of the most difficult 3A districts in Texas. 

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EARLY TEAM PREVIEW: Longhorns making no excuses in brutal district

EARLY — If one were to cite the chief problem with the Early football program, it may very well be geography. 

After racing out to a 4-1 record during the non-district portion of their 2018 schedule, the Longhorns jumped headlong into what one computer power rating service ranked as the second toughest 3A district in all of Texas. 

They closed with an 0-5 finish, a 4-6 overall mark and spent Thanksgiving at home.  By season’s end that same computer service rated Early (despite its last-place finish) high enough to have reached postseason play in several other districts. 

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned escapes Early upset bid (box score, two videos & photo gallery included)

COLEMAN — Cruising along with a comfortable 37-25 lead after three quarters in Monday’s 3A bi-district game with Early, the Jim Ned Indians were poised to advance into the area round. 

There was just one problem: The Early Longhorns. 

Staging a furious rally through the final quarter, Early opened the period with a 10-0 run to cut the gap to 37-35 with 17 seconds to play, only to see Jim Ned escape the upset with a 39-35 win at Coleman High School.  

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Longhorns believe they can prove experts wrong

When the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment took place over the winter, much of the talk centered around which programs would benefit from the shifts and which ones would be hurt.

The media hashed out its opinions. So did the coaches. And at the end of the day, one team that was consistently mentioned among those who were given a tough road were the Early Longhorns.

Placed in the six-team District 3-3A Division I, the Longhorns were tossed in with five teams — Wall, Breckenridge, Eastland, Jim Ned and Clyde — that earned playoff spots a year ago. And as if that weren’t difficult enough, at least three of those teams expect to be significantly better in 2018.

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Early Longhorns banking on experience

With one of the area’s top returning quarterbacks and an experienced offensive line, the Early Longhorns are a virtual lock to field a better product than they did in 2017.

Whether or not they can improve on their 3-7 record, however, is the question for a program that hasn’t fielded a winning team in 10 years.

Shifted to the extremely difficult District 3-3A Division I during the UIL realignment, Early isn’t the only team on the block expecting to be better than a year ago. As a result, the fact that the Longhorns have improved might get blurred by a murderous league slate.

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BCP Podcast No. 8: Early’s Sandford talks Longhorn football, baseball scouting

Early’s Blake Sandford

Blake Sandford took a unique path to becoming Early’s head football coach that included time as an amateur scout for Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, among other clubs.

This week, Sandford spent some time chatting with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about his time in baseball, the season outlook for his Early Longhorns and his philosophy as an athletic director on this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss the wealth of quarterback talent and depth in the Big Country this season.

BCP Podcast No. 7: Evan, Dan talk football with Wichita Falls’ Zach Duncan

Zach Duncan

Like Big Country Preps co-founders Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood, Wichita Falls Time Record News area writer Zach Duncan has been covering high school sports in his market for a long time.

Entering his 15th football season with the Wichita Falls newspaper, Duncan has seen more great games than he can count and worked with some outstanding coaches and players. This week, he took some time to share some his favorite football stories and talk shop with Evan and Daniel.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss District 3-3A Division I and District 7-2A Division II — two all-area leagues that should be competitive from top to bottom.