Robert Ivey Returns to Athens, Coaches Canton to Win Over Hornets, 48-23
ATHENS -- Robert Ivey’s return to Bruce Field was a good one.
Ivey, who coached the Athens Hornets in the early 2000s, watched his Canton Eagles use one big play after another to score a 48-23 win Friday night in the District 15-3A opener.
The Eagles (5-1, 1-0) set the tone on the first play of the game when Chandler Eiland caught the opening kickoff and then threw it backward across the width of the field to his brother, Connor, who then ran 89 yards for a touchdown.
Though the Hornets (1-5, 0-1) would lead, 16-12, midway through the second quarter, the Eagles were just getting started.
They took a 19-16 lead on Reece Sumner’s 3-yard run with four minutes left before halftime, and Canton outscored Athens by a margin of 36-7 the rest of the way.
Sumner had a big night for the Eagles, rushing for 130 yards on eight carries. Included in that lot was a 91-yard run on which he was tackled by Athens freshman Travon Fuller one yard short of the Hornet goal line.
Sumner’s near-score and big gainer was among a handful of big plays on the part of the Eagles. Including the kickoff, they had five plays of 47 yards or more.
Dakota Hesskew added an 83-yard touchdown pass from Chandler Eiland midway through the third quarter, and Sumner caught a 74-yard touchdown from Eiland midway through the fourth. Canton also got a 47-yard run from Hesskew, who finished the evening with 99 yards rushing.
The Hornets pulled to within five at 28-23 with 3:13 left in the third quarter on sophomore Devin Hall’s four-yard touchdown run, but the Eagles responded with Sumner’s 74-yard touchdown catch to push the lead back to double digits. Canton’s next score, on Sumner’s 21-yard touchdown run, was made possible by one of three Athens turnovers.
Kicker Jesse Durham provided a bright spot for Athens early, booting a school-record 48-yard field goal about four minutes into the game.
Anthony Sanders finished with 126 yards rushing on 14 carries for the Hornets. Hall added 58 on the ground. Javonte Johnson caught three passes for 52 yards.