ATHENS – The Athens Hornets scored a pair of touchdowns a little more than a minute apart in the fourth quarter to come from behind to beat the Kaufman Lions on Friday night at Bruce Field, 31-25.

The Hornets, who were beaten in last year's season opener by Kaufman, 44-14, got a big night from senior Anthony Sanders, who returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown to start the scoring. He later tacked on a rushing touchdown and two passing touchdowns.

Kaufman quarterback Clay Rhodes gave his team a 25-16 lead on a 50-yard touchdown run with 10:39 left in the fourth quarter. Athens responded almost immediately when Sanders found sophomore Travon Fuller wide open over the middle of the field on a 63-yard bomb that trimmed the Kaufman lead to 25-23 with 9:34 to go.

Athens recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff and scored six plays later when Sanders found Devin Hall on an over-the-shoulder touchdown pass with 8:09 on the clock. Sanders hit fellow senior and SMU commit Chris Jefferson with a two-point pass for good measure.

Kaufman was forced to punt on its next possession, and Athens burned the final seven minutes to secure the victory.

Athens sophomore fullback Logan Fuller finished with 26 carries for 117 yards. Sanders rushed for 82 yards and passed for 91, while Hall – last year's Offensive Newcomer of the Year in District 15-3A – carried the ball 11 times for 64 yards.

Rhodes finished the night with 93 yards rushing and 70 passing – including a 32-yard strike to Cameron Duncan that cut Athens' lead to 13-12 at the half. Josh Ramirez also rushed for a touchdown and finished with 54 yards rushing.

David Cedillo, making his varsity debut, booted a 27-yard field goal for the Hornets.

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Athens 31, Kaufman 25

Kaufman  0  12    6    7 –  25
Athens     7    6    3   15 –  31

First Quarter
A – Anthony Sanders 38 INT RET (David Cedillo kick), 5:04
Second Quarter
K – Josh Ramirez 6 run (kick fails), 11:50
A – Sanders 1 run (kick fails), 7:38
K – Clay Rhodes 32 pass to Cameron Duncan (run fails), 4:31
Third Quarter
K – Ramirez 4 run (run fails), 6:42
A – Cedillo 27 FG, 2:20
Fourth Quarter
K – Rhodes 50 run (Eric Mata kick), 10:39
A – Sanders 63 pass to Travon Fuller (Cedillo kick), 9:34
A – Sanders 7 pass to Devin Hall (Sanders to Chris Jefferson pass), 8:09

KAU                ATH
First downs         15                    19
Rush-yards         42-270             58-289
Passing yards     70                     91
C-A-I                   4-10-2             4-12-0
Fumbles-lost       0-0                  1-0
Punts-avg.          2-48.5             4-37.0
Penalties-yards  2-10                3-16

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING – K: Clay Rhodes 6-93; Josh Ramirez 14-54; Laxavier Battee 6-20; Brandon Dabney 2-6; Desmond Williams 7-49; Jacob Holley 6-44; Kevin Morrow 1-4. A: Logan Fuller 26-117; Ladarius Jordan 5-3; Anthony Sanders 13-82; Devin Hall 11-64; Travon Fuller 3-23.
PASSING – K: Clay Rhodes 4-10-2-70. A: Anthony Sanders 4-12-0-91.
RECEIVING – K: Jackson Fritz 3-38; Cameron Duncan 1-32. A: Chris Jefferson 1-7; Chris Givens 1-14; Travon Fuller 1-63; Devin Hall 1-7.