BULLARD – The Athens Hornets put together an impressive showing in the final non-district game with an 84-51 victory over the Bullard Panthers.

“I thought we improved in all phases,” Athens coach Paul Essary said. “The defense did give up 51 points, but they did a great job of throwing and catching the football. I was proud of the way that we tackled better, and we flew around to the football. We scored in all three phases, and I am proud of them. It was a great game to go out on effort wise and playing together before the open week.”

With the win, coach Paul Essary's Hornets are 2-2 heading into the open week next week. Athens opens District 9-4A Division I play Oct. 12 at Bruce Field against Waxahachie Life.

“I think we are right where we need to be,” Essary said. “We have to improve a little bit next week, and the following week to get ready for Waxahachie Life. Everybody is back to 0-0, and the kids and coaches feel good about themselves. It is good to go into an open week after a game like this.”

Athens held a 42-13 lead at the break. Athens had a 34-yard touchdown run to open the scoring by sophomore Nathan Sims to open the scoring with 9:05 left in the first quarter.

The special teams got involved in the second touchdown as RheJhi Sherfield recovered a blocked field goal and went 95 yards for the touchdowns.

Bullard's Reece Ricketts had a 72-yard run to cut the Athens lead to 14-7 with 2:42 remaining in the first quarter. Ricketts also had a 14-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Jerquindon Taylor had a 32-yard touchdown run to cap off the first quarter scoring at 21-7.

In the second quarter, Chase Friedrich found Nathan Sims on a 23-yard touchdown, while Sherfield had a 65-yard run for a 35-13 lead.

The final touchdown of the first half came with 33 seconds left on an 11-yard pass from Friedrich to Andrew McBride.

In the second half, Bullard (1-4) had a touchdown from Mason Kelley to Nic Hooley, a 2-yard run by Ricketts and a 53-yard pass from Kelley to Hooley.

Athens had touchdowns by Taylor of 36 yards, Sherfield for 29 yards, Taylor for 32 yards, Roberts with scores of 3 and 41 yards and a 52-yard kickoff return by Sims.

“Jamaze Roberts played his first game back in over a year,” Essary said. “It was about this time last year that he went out with an injury. He had not even practiced football until a couple of weeks ago. We gave him the ball and let him get acquainted to the game again.”

Bullard scored its final touchdown with no time left on the clock for the 84-51 finale.

“I have never been a part of one of scoring that many points before,” Essary said. “I will give Bullard credit because they had to keep scoring. We just kept running the football.”

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