Using an aerial attack not seen by the Dillos in several years, the Early Longhorns defeated San Saba 35-7 last Friday night at Longhorn Stadium. Nick Lyle of Early completed 21 of 34 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns. It is the most yards passing against the Armadillos since Kris Heavner of Johnson City had 366 yards on 21-32 passing and four scores in a 47-39 loss to San Saba in 2002. The Dillos only had 195 yards total offense in the game. The score was close until the final stanza.
Early received the opening kick and drove the field. They stalled and Kelton Darden came on to try a 28 yard field goal. The kick was wide to the left and San Saba took over at the 20.
The Armadillos earned one first down before having to punt. Diego Gonzalez came on and pinned the Horns deep at the 8 yard line.
On the first play, Ryan Plumley stripped the ball and recovered the ball at the Early 15. It took the Dillos six plays to score. Dustin Morgan scored from a yard out. Gonzalez was good on the PAT and San Saba led 7-0.
As the second quarter opened, Early was facing a 3rd down and 36 yards at their own 45. Seth Coolbaugh got behind the Dillo defense and Nick Lyle hit him with a long pass for the touchdown. Darden added the PAT to tie the game at 7-7.
The rest of the half was dominated by defense. Tucker Cromer recovered a Longhorn fumble and a dropped pass on a fake punt ended drives by both teams. Gonzalez also kept Early pinned deep with his punts. Three times the Horns had to start inside the 20 yard line.
San Saba opened the second half with the ball. A fumble gave the ball to Early at the Dillo 17 yard line. Nick Lyle found Cody Bullard with a pass for the score on the next play. The snap on the PAT was bad and the Dillos stopped the attempt. Early had the 13-7 lead.
San Saba fumbled again on its next play, but Tucker Cromer got the ball back with his second recovery of the game. After getting a first down, Diego Gonzalez was on to punt. He put the Longhorns back at their own 28.
Ryan Parks picked off a Lyle pass giving the Dillos good field position at the Early 28. The Armadillos failed on a 4th down play at the 2 and the Horns took over.
Anthony Salinas recovered another early fumble at the Horn 37 but the Dillos failed to gain a first down and Early had the ball back at the 28.
Seth Coolbaugh caught another Lyle pass and got some down field blocks for a 51-yard touchdown. Chase Reeves caught the Lyle pass on the PAT and Early led 21-7 in the 4th quarter.
San Saba had to punt again. The punt by Gonzalez went out of bounds at the Horn 27.
Cody Bullard capped the drive with his second touchdown catch of the game. This one from 35 yards. Kelton Darden kicked the PAT and Early was ahead 28-7.
A penalty on San Saba on the next possession pushed the Dillos back to the 10 yard line. Unable to move, Gonzalez was on to punt again. The kick was returned to the Armadillo 35.
After a loss on first down, Riley Cason got loose on a dive play and scored from 37 yards. Darden was true on the kick and early had the 35-7 lead.
San Saba ran off the final seconds to end the game that was close through three quarters.
The Armadillos were lead by Dustin Morgan with 84 yards rushing and the lone score. Jack Whitten had 67 yards and Ryan Plumley added 33 yards before leaving at halftime with a concussion. The panel voted Morgan as player of the game with Whitten having some support.
The defense had several key players. Hayden Oliver made an early bid for player of the game. Jack Whitten and Bobby Pairett had big stops. Anthony Salinas, Jose Garcia, Tucker Cromer, Ryan Plumley, Zac Verette, Ryan Parks and Joseph Henry came on in the final three periods to add to the effort. The panel voted Tucker Cromer as player of the game.
In other district action, Brady remained perfect with a 56-21 win over Comanche and, in a battle for first place, Bangs defeated Coleman 9-7. This was the first loss on the year for Coleman.
This week the Armadillos have the bye. Bangs travels to Dublin, Early makes the short drive to Comanche and Brady has to go to Hufford Field in Coleman for a tough game.