CLASS 4A DIVISION I AREA ROUND

Athens Hornets (8-3)

vs.

Kennedale Wildcats (11-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Lion Memorial Stadium, Ennis

Coaches
  • Athens: Paul Essary
  • Kennedale: Richard Barrett
Last week
Next week
  • Winner faces winner between Pittsburg and Argyle, regional semifinals

Playmakers

Athens

 

  • RB Logan Fuller, Sr., 5-7, 210
  • WR/DB Travon Fuller, Sr., 6-2, 175
  • OL Josh West, Sr., 6-3, 305
  • LB Noah Bush, Jr., 6-1, 230
  • RB/DB Jeremy Bateman, Sr., 5-8, 145
  • QB Brandon Boyd, Sr.

 

 

Kennedale

  • HB Quardraiz Wadley, Sr., 6-1, 180
  • FB Dailyn Wells, Sr., 5-11, 185
  • QB Kaiser McGlothen, Sr., 5-6, 160
Just the facts
  • Friday's game is a rematch of last season's Class 4A Division I area round game.
  • Athens is trying to avenge a 30-26 heartbreaker to Kennedale. The Wildcats moved on to the regional semifinals, where they nearly upset an Argyle team which advanced to the state championship game.
  • Kennedale defeated the Hornets by scoring with 18 seconds left in regulation.
  • For the second straight year, Kennedale enters the meeting 11-0 while Athens is 8-3.
  • There's known college talent in Friday's game.
  • Kennedale halfback Quardraiz Wadley is being recruited by UTEP. Athens athlete Travon Fuller has been a Texas A&M commitment since the summer of 2014.
  • Both teams share Kaufman as a common opponent.
  • Kennedale handed Kaufman its only loss of the season, 43-35, in Kennedale on Sept. 18. Athens fell to Kaufman, 25-22, at Kaufman on Oct. 23.
  • The Hornets' trip to Ennis will be about 52 miles. Kennedale will travel 45 miles one-way.
  • Kennedale is a Ft. Worth suburb, just southeast of Interstate Loop 820 and west of Arlington.
Athens linebacker Noah Bush can have a big say in Friday's game. Kennedale will be running right at him most of the night. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Athens' running game against Kennedale's running game.

This is the first time this season the Hornets' extremely run-oriented offense does not hold much of an advantage. Kennedale also utilizes T-formations and is even less of a passing threat.

Neither defense should be confused about individual assignments, usually an inherent advantage of running the T in this era of predominantly spread offenses within Class 4A Division I. Both sides spent all of summer camp working against the opposing offensive scheme they will face Friday.

Every possession is going to count. Both offenses are capable of time-consuming drives, so it's important to finish each series with points. This is a game where giving up the ball twice without scoring becomes a dicey proposition.

Kennedale has two backs past 1,000 yards rushing. Halfback Quardriz Wadley has 2,267 yards while fullback Dailyn Wells 1,198. Combined, they average 11 and 12 yards per carry, respectively.

Athens, once again, is headlined by running back Logan Fuller. He's near 2,000 rushing yards, just as he was the last time the Hornets faced Kennedale. But Devin Hall gave head coach Paul Essary's offense a physical one-two punch last season and graduated the school in May. This campaign, Texas A&M defensive back commitment and all-around athlete Travon Fuller gives the team a bit more athleticism as he nears 1,000 rushing yards.

Not much separates these two teams. The offenses will have to be efficient.

 

Don't be surprised if: The game comes down to the final eight minutes. A running team should be able to go 100 yards at a natural pace in that timespan. If the offenses match each other point for point, the winning team will likely be the one that puts the ball in the end zone with under three minutes to play.

The late trailing offense will have to reach out of its comfort zone to get within scoring position before time expires. That flusters everyone. It’s the point where teams abandon what they do best and hang hopes on big plays in succession. It’s the prime time for a game-clinching turnover or turnover on downs.

But, if it's Athens in that desperate position once again, Travon Fuller has the big play potential to save the day.

Kennedale doesn't. No one on its team has more than 56 receiving yards through 11 games.

Athens athlete Travon Fuller (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)