[By Joe Elerson, Athens Daily Review]

WILLS POINT -- The Athens Hornets put together a dominating effort in the regular season finale at Ken Autry Davis Field in a 42-14 victory over the Wills Point Tigers.

With the victory, the Hornets finished out the regular season at 7-3 overall and 4-1 in District 8-4A Division I play.

“We are five points away from being 9-1 this year,” Athens coach Paul Essary said. “It does not matter and we are still 7-3. I am so pleased with how far this team has come and we are continuing to improve. We are going to continue to improve next week also.”

Athens will open the Class 4A playoffs on Friday (Nov. 13) at Mesquite E.H. Hanby Stadium against the Princeton Panthers. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Senior Logan Fuller had a big night for the Hornets in the finale with 31 carries for 191 yards and five touchdowns rushing.

This was his second game in his career in which he had five rushing touchdowns in a game.

“It was a great job by all of them with the backs and the offensive line blocking tonight,” Essary said. “Brandon Boyd did a great job throwing the football. That is one area we wanted to improve on and the offensive line did a great job protecting him tonight.”

The Tigers opened up the scoring with 5:37 remaining in the first quarter as senior Marques Crouch capped off a seven play, 58-yard drive with a one yard touchdown for the 7-0 lead. Vincent Tobias booted the extra point good.

In the second quarter, the Hornets scored 28 unanswered points as Logan Fuller had three touchdowns in the quarter.

His first touchdowns capped off a 17-play, 67 yard drive as he scored from eight yards out. Oscar Rios booted the extra point good with 8:52 remaining.

The Hornets scored the next 21 points in less than two minutes as Fuller scored his second touchdown from three yards out. The score came with 1:40 remaining for the 14-7 lead.

With under a minute remaining, Zach Carson recovered a Wills Point fumble and on the next play, Fuller scored his third touchdown from 23-yards out.

Following a stop by the Athens defense, Athens got the ball on their 45-yard line. Brandon Boyd completed a 32-yard pass to Xavius Fulton to get the ball down to the 23 yard line with nine seconds left.

On the final play of the half, Boyd found Fulton down the left sideline for a 23-yard touchdown with three seconds remaining for the touchdown. Rios kicked the extra point good for the 28-7 lead at the half.

“I thought once we woke up after the first quarter, we played football,” Essary said. “We came out and broke that long one and thought it was going to be easy. We had a holding penalty and we were sleep walking. We went out on defense and they marched it down and we acting like we were in practice. I was really thrilled with the guys in the last three quarters.”

In the second half, Fuller scored on a one yard run with 3:26 remaining in the third quarter. He capped off the scoring with 10:41 remaining in the game on another one-yard touchdown for the 42-7 lead.

Crouch scored the final points of the game with a one yard run with 5:19 remaining for the 42-14 finale.

Essary said he was pleased with the way the defense responded in the victory.

“After the first drive, I was really pleased with the defense. The first drive we have got to be ready and I don't think that will be a problem being awake in the playoffs,” Essary said. “They know that any game is your last game. I am excited with how far they have come this year and it is still not over with.”