[Joe Ellerson, Athens Daily Review]

ATHENS — The Hornets had one of their best offensive performances of the year in a 61-36 loss to Waco Robinson Friday at Bruce Field.

With the loss, Athens dropped to 0-4 on the season and Robinson broke a two-game losing streak to the Hornets. Coach Tommy Allison's squad improved to 4-0 with the victory.

“They are as good as I expected them to be,” Athens coach Paul Essary said. “We knew that we would have to score some points and take some chances. Some of those things paid off and some of those things didn't. We knew we needed to take those chances. We knew on the two-point conversion that we had to get every point that we could get.”

The two-point conversion came with 1:04 remaining in the first half after senior Noah Bush ran in his third touchdown of the frame. Bush had touchdown runs of eight, eight and four yards. 

The third touchdown by Bush gave the Hornets a 22-21 lead going into the intermission. 

In the first half, the Hornets had 310 yards of rushing offense. By the end of the game, Athens finished with 422 yards rushing.

Junior quarterback Xavius Fulton finished with 22 carries for 236 yards. Fulton was 5-of-17 passing for 37 yards.

In the first quarter, Bush led off the scoring with 5:49 remaining on his first eight-yard touchdown run. Dakota Anderson booted the point after good.

Robinson tied the game when Chase Allison found Braxton Ashcraft on a 7-yard touchdown reception with 4:11 remaining.

The duo of Ashcraft and Allison connected on five touchdowns. Ashcraft had touchdown receptions of 37, 76, 55 and 46 yards.

In the second half, the Rockets got the 55-yard, go-ahead touchdown reception by Ashcraft with 11:11 remaining in the third quarter. The came came fourth-and-9.

The Hornets fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which was recovered by the Rockets.

Allison then found Ashcraft on the 46-yard touchdown reception as he raced down the Rockets sideline for the score for a 35-22 lead.

“Shooting ourselves in the foot regardless of what it may be -- If it is a fumble or an inappropriate time to get an illegal procedure or jumping offsides,” Essary said. “Those things there we need to keep practicing and we have got to get better.”

Essary added the Hornets are getting better as a team. He knows with the District 8-4A Division I schedule around the corner, every game matters from this point.

“We are working hard," he said. "We have some key injuries that are hurting us right now, but everybody else does too. It is football and you will have those things. Our saying right now is, Next man up,' and I thought the guys had to fill in did a great job. They are working extremely hard and the coaches are working extremely hard.”

Kamion Tanner had seven carries for 80 yards for Athens. Maalik Hall had 11 carries for 59 yards, Bush had 14 carries for 56 yards and Taylor had five carries for 35 yard and two touchdowns. 

JaQuaylon Bowman had seven carries for 15 yards.

Athens returns to action next Friday as they travel to Mabank for the district opener. The game is set to start at 7:30 p.m.

“We have to continue to get better as we head into district next week,” Essary said. “Everybody is 0-0 in district.”