[By Joe Elerson, Athens Daily Review]

RUSK -- The Athens Hornets used a devastating rushing attack to upend the Rusk Eagles, 49-21, Friday night at Eagle Stadium behind 277 yards from senior running back Devin Hall.

Hall scored three touchdowns as he took over the load for junior running back Logan Fuller, who was out with an injury.

“It was important to me tonight but I want to thank the offensive line,” Hall said. “Without the offensive line, I would not be able to do it. I would like to thank the backs because they were blocking nice and I want to thank the receivers for their blocking.”

The Hornets finished the game with 65 carries for 439 yards as the Rusk defense was unable to figure out a way to stop them throughout the night.

Athens junior wide receiver Travon Fuller added 123 yards and two touchdowns to help the Hornets improve to 2-2 overall.

Athens sixth-year head coach Paul Essary was pleased with the effort of the Hornets following a 41-21 loss to the Hallsville Bobcats last week at Bruce Field.

“I thought we did great. We were a better football team this week than we were last week,” Essary said. “We worry about ourselves and try to get ourselves ready for district play.”

Athens returns to Bruce Field next week for its final non-district game against the Robinson Rockets. The homecoming kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Athens opened up the scoring with a quick strike on its opening drive as Travon Fuller blasted his way for 32 yards with 10:03 remaining. David Cedillo booted in his first of seven PAT's good.

Rusk sophomore quarterback Jake Hugghins tied the score at 7-7 as he found Jonathan Rojo for a 29-yard pitch and catch with 7:09 remaining in the first quarter.

Hugghins finished the game 12 of 23 for 190 yards and two touchdowns. The two touchdown throws went to Rojo in the first half of play.

“They exploited the defense with the passing game in the first half,” Essary said. “I thought our coaches put them in the right positions in the second half. We put some pressure on the quarterback with some sacks tonight.”

Athens was able to score 21 unanswered points on a 3-yard run by Hall, a 14-yard run by Fuller and a 27-yard pass from senior quarterback Chad Head to junior tight end Grant Hirsch.

Head finished the game 3 of 8 passing for 69 yards. Hirsch led the way with two catches for 60 yards.

“I thought we executed in the passing game better tonight,” Essary said. “We had a couple of guys open that we didn't hit but we got to work on it and it was good.”

Hall said the backs stepped up tonight in the absence of Logan Fuller.

“It comes with hard work in practice,” Hall said. “We kept our heads in it this week and when one of us goes out, the rest of the guys are going to be good.”

The Hornets finished the game with 508 yards of total offense, compared to 227 for the Eagles.

“We have to learn to play 48 minutes instead of 36 minutes,” Essary said. “Overall I was very pleased with them and I was pleased with the offense being physical.”

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