Athens Notches Playoff Berth With 35-12 Defeat of Crandall
[By Joe Elerson, Athens Daily Review]
ATHENS -- The Athens Hornets rolled to a 35-12 victory over Crandall on Senior Night against the Crandall Pirates, Friday at Bruce Field.
With the victory, the Hornets improved to 6-3 overall and 3-1 in District 8-4A Division I. The victory secured a playoff spot for Athens with one game left at Wills Point next Friday night.
“I am proud of these seniors. It was hard to walk out of the back of the field house with the last time being on Bruce Field with them,” Athens coach Paul Essary said. “I am happy that I have at least two more weeks with them. To clinch the state playoffs is our first goal and we are there.”
The Hornets ran through the Pirates all night for 442 yards of total offense, led by senior Logan Fuller, who finished with 22 carries for 190 yards and four touchdowns.
Fuller opened the scoring with 6:06 remaining in the first quarter on an 8-yard run for the 7-0 lead. Fuller gave the Hornets a 14-0 lead with 35 seconds remaining in the first, rumbling his way 29 yards to paydirt. He added his third touchdown on a 12-yard run with 6:04 remaining in the first half.
The Hornets dominated the first two quarters, outgaining Crandall, 222-75, in total yards.
“I think our offense challenged themselves because they were disappointed last week,” Essary said. “They came out with a purpose and did a great job of coming off of the football and controlling the tempo of the game.”
In the third quarter, the Hornets scored with 5:58 remaining as senior Jeremy Bateman scored on a 6-yard touchdown run. Oscar Rios tacked on the extra point for a 28-0 lead. The rout continued as Fuller added his fourth touchdown with a 2-yard run for a 35-0 advantage.
Crandall scored its first touchdown of the night on a 74-yard pass from Michael Dearman to Chris Young. The point after was blocked by Bateman.
The final touchdown of the game came on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Dearman to Jordan Bryant.
“We talked about keeping our focus and being fundamentally sound with ball security. I thought the guys did that with playing until the game was finished,” Essary said. “I thought they did a great job of doing all of those areas. I am happy to get out of here with a win. I was happy to get off the field before the flood gates opened up.”
Travon Fuller had 11 carries for 90 yards, Brandon Boyd had 10 carries for 78 yards, and Maalik Hall had eight carries for 68 yards. Bateman rounded out the night with five carries for 16 yards.
Crandall finished the night with 293 yards of total offense. The Pirates were led by Dearman, who had four carries for 74 yards rushing. Coy Finch had 10 carries for 63 yards.
Dearman was 5 for 17 passing for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Young had three catches for 91 yards in the game.
“I thought the defense played well and played smart,” Essary said. “We gave up a couple of long pass plays at the end but that was OK, and they played hard. We made them earn everything they got.”