[By Joe Elerson, Athens Daily Review]

ATHENS -- The Athens Hornets reached a season high in points scored against their Henderson County rival Friday night at Bruce Field.

The Hornets scored the first 35 points in a 35-7 victory over the Mabank Panthers in District 8-4A Division I action.

“I am proud of them tonight. We probably left another 14 to 21 points on the field that we can't leave out there,” Athens coach Paul Essary said. “I am tickled to death about the win, and proud of the guys and the coaches. They worked hard this last week, and I know we got better throughout the week. I am excited for them to show out in front of the homecoming crowd and the alumni and the whole community of Athens.”

Athens freshman Nathan Sims rushed for 167 yards and one touchdown, while senior quarterback Xavius Fulton capped off his final homecoming game with 13 carries for 91 yards and four touchdowns.

The victory for the Hornets improved them to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in district play. The Panthers dropped to 1-4 overall and 0-1.

“Mabank played hard, and they are a well coached team,” Essary said. “They fought all the way to the end, and there are some tough kids over there.”

Athens returns to action next week against the No. 9-ranked Van Vandals. Van (5-0, 1-0) comes in undefeated following a 34-14 victory over the Crandall Pirates on Friday.

“I knew we had Mabank tonight, and I was going to look at the schedule later to see who we had next,” Essary said. “Again, it will be the same thing just like this week. We have to worry about the Athens Hornets. We are still young and making mistakes at crucial times. We did better and we got to let everybody play at least a play or two in homecoming. We have to make sure we are ready to go this week.”

Mabank returns to action Friday for homecoming as the Brownsboro Bears come to town. Brownsboro was open Friday, and is 3-1 overall.