Diboll Stuns Athens, 36-34, to Give Hornets Surprising 0-2 Start to the Season
ATHENS -- It was a tough one for the Athens Hornets on Friday in their home opener at Bruce Field.
The Diboll Lumberjacks spoiled the home opener for the Hornets with a 36-34 thriller to send Athens to 0-2 on the season.
“We are a young team that was relaxed after being up 22-0,” Athens coach Paul Essary said. “We made mistakes and let them get back into the ball game. I don't know how many turnovers we had, but when you have that many you are not going to beat a good football team.”
The Hornets will look to pick up their first win of the year next week when they travel to Hallsville. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Athens came out on fire in the first half, taking a 22-0 lead with 6:01 remaining on a 16-yard touchdown run by Logan Fuller.
Fuller finished the night with 27 carries for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He went over 4,000 career rushing yards in the first half.
The Hornets scored the first touchdown of the game with 5:16 remaining in the opening quarter as Travon Fuller scored on a 9-yard touchdown reception from Brandon Boyd. Boyd scored on the two-point conversion.
With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Athens extended the lead to 15-0 as Boyd found Xavius Fulton for a 54-yard touchdown. Christian Chairez booted the PAT good.
Following Logan Fuller's first touchdown of the game, Diboll's Desmond Shelby cut the deficit to 22-6 with a 9-yard touchdown run. The Lumberjacks missed the conversion attempt.
Shelby finished the game with 36 carries for 251 yards and three touchdowns rushing.
“I knew he was a good player. We have a young defense and we are going to have to grow up fast,” Essary said. “We have to make plays and do a better job of coaching them with technique and fundamentals. There is enough blame to go around everywhere and it starts with me.”
Diboll sent the game into half time down 22-14 as Jamarcus Polk caught a 24-yard touchdown reception from Kevin Hurley with 1:19 remaining in the first half. Shelby ran in the two point conversion.
Diboll was able to tie the game at 22-22 with 4:18 remaining in the third as Shelby scored from one yard out.
The run continued for the Lumberjacks as Shelby added his third touchdown of the game from 20 yards out with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter for the 30-22 lead. Hurley ran in the two-point conversion.
Diboll scored their final touchdown of the game with 11:49 remaining as Hurley found Jesse Villanueva on a 25-yard completion for the 36-22 lead.
Logan Fuller scored the final two touchdowns on run of six and five yards for the 36-34 finale.
Essary said they will spend this week making sure they are getting better before District 8-4A play begins Oct. 9 at home against the Van Vandals.
“Like I told the kids, we need to be ready when district hits. We have three more weeks to get better and we will get better. It is tough to be 0-2 right now,” Essary said. “There is nothing we can do about tonight but get ready to take on Hallsville next week.”