Athens Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive With 42-13 Win Over Mineola
ATHENS — The Athens Hornets are peaking at the right time.
The Hornets won their second straight game to stay alive in the District 15-3A playoff race, hammering the Mineola Yellowjackets on Friday night, 42-13, at Bruce Field.
The win, combined with Brownsboro’s 35-13 loss to Canton, left Athens in a tie for third place at 2-2 in district. Athens and Brownsboro will play next week, with the winner qualifying for the playoffs.
The Hornets (3-6) did most of their damage in the first half, with junior quarterback Anthony Sanders throwing four touchdown passes. Sanders was 5 of 9 for 132 yards, and he also rushed seven times for 35 yards.
Adam Stallings got the Hornets on the board first with a two-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Athens’ first scoring drive was set up in prime position after a nine-yard Mineola punt, and the Hornets got new life after the Yellowjackets were called for pass interference in the end zone.
Sanders heated up after the Stallings score. He hit Raheem Miller with a 61-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0 with 3:46 left in the quarter, and after recovering a fumble on defense, hit Kody Ingham on a 28-yard scoring pass to push the score to 21-0.
Mineola quarterback Tyler Hudson broke free on an option keeper and ran 31 yards for a score to cut the lead to 21-7 with about four minutes to go in the first half, but Athens turned a pair of Yellowjacket turnovers into touchdowns about a minute apart to run push the lead to 36-6 at the half. Those scores came off Sanders scoring tosses to Chris Jefferson from 27 and then four yards away. Athens scored 22 points in the second quarter.
Mineola, which dropped to 0-4 in district and 3-6 overall, was led by Dac Shaw, who ran 14 times for 97 yards. Hudson rushed for 66 yards on nine carries. Harry Elhallaoui caught six of Hudson’s eight passes for 76 yards. The ’Jackets’ effort was hurt by mistakes, including 11 penalties for 101 yards.
Stallings led Athens with 64 rushing yards, while Miller added 50. K.J. Cumby had an interception for Athens, and Jefferson finished with a sack.