Derrick Daniels, Opportunistic Defense Carry Gladewater to 25-14 Win Over Athens
GLADEWATER — It wasn't as impressive or pretty as their previous two wins, but the Gladewater Bears will take it.
The Bears used a pair of defensive touchdowns to improve to 3-0 on the season with a 25-14 win over the Athens Hornets (1-2) Friday night at Jack V. Murphy-Bear Stadium. The Bears are off to an impressive start in 2012, claiming wins over Daingerfield, Pittsburg and Athens — a regional finalist two seasons ago.
Gladewater quarterback Derrick Daniels had another standout performance, running for 118 yards and a score and accounting for 209 total yards. But it was the defense that shined brightest, taking full advantage of five Athens turnovers.
Athens struck first on a 61-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Sanders to Javonte Johnson. With Gladewater defensive back J’Mal Barnes in his face, Johnson jumped and tipped the pass to himself and ran the remaining 30 yards to make it 7-0.
But Gladewater scored 25 unanswered points to take control of the game, starting with Daniels’ 68-yard run with 4:40 left in the first quarter that tied the game at 7-7.
Marcello Martinez put Gladewater ahead, 13-7, when he grabbed a tipped Sanders pass out of the air and returned it 91 yards for a touchdown. Both of Sanders’ interceptions happened after his pass was tipped.
The Bears increased their lead to 19-7 late in the third quarter when Daniels hit Nick Johnson with an 18-yard scoring pass following Athens’ second lost fumble. The Hornets’ third and final lost fumble was a back breaker, as punter Jesse Durham couldn’t field a bad snap on a punt attempt in the fourth quarter. Gladewater defensive lineman Daylon Mack picked up the loose ball and rumbled 12 yards for a touchdown, putting the game away.
Athens added a late touchdown by Raheem Morris, but the Hornets’ ensuing onside kick failed and Gladewater ran out the clock.
Sanders had his best rushing night of the season with 82 yards on 10 carries, while Devin Hall finished with 70 yards on 20 carries for Athens.
Gladewater running back Tyler Price was held to 47 yards on 16 carries.