Kaufman Ends Athens’ Five-Game Winning Streak As Time Expires
[By Joe Elerson, Athens Daily Review]
KAUFMAN --- The Athens Hornets had a five-game win streak snapped at the hands of the Kaufman Lions at a rainy Lions Stadium Friday in Kaufman.
Kaufman senior kick Mateo Cruz hit the 22-yard, game-winner with no time remaining to give the Lions a 25-22 victory.
The loss sent the Hornets to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in District 8-4A Division I play. They will host Crandall next Friday.
“They kicked the field goal with no time on the clock, and made it by about six inches and were able to win the game,” Athens coach Paul Essary said. “It was a real heart-breaker tonight. We should have not been in the positions we were in tonight and they made the plays.”
With the victory, Kaufman improved to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the district race. The win sealed a playoff spot for the Lions with two games remaining.
The Lions scored the opening touchdown of the game with 2:05 remaining in the first quarter as quarterback Austin Gomez found Desmond Williams with a 14-yard touchdown for the 7-0 lead.
Athens responded with a 2-yard touchdown run by Brandon Boyd to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:46 remaining in the first half.
Kaufman regained the lead at 16-7 as Williams found a seam and went for a 53-yard touchdown with 11:43 remaining in the third quarter. The Lions went for two as Dru Prox ran in the conversion.
The Hornets responded again as Boyd powered his way in from 1 yard out with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter.
Kaufman extended the lead to 22-14 as Dru Prox found an opening and blasted his way for an 81-yard touchdown with 5:59 remaining in the third.
Travon Fuller then tied the game at 22-22 with a 46-yard touchdown run. The Hornets went for the two-point conversion as Boyd went around the left side of the Kaufman defense for the score with 8:49 remaining.
“I thought we played hard. They came in and had a good defense and they did a good job of trying to stop what we do,” Essary said. “We were still right there in the ball game to make the plays at the end. My hat goes off to Kaufman and they made the plays when they needed to.”
Williams had 15 carries for 153 yards, and Dru Prox had 14 carries for 126 yards.
Athens was led in rushing by Travon Fuller, who had nine carries for 95 yards. Xavius Fulton had one carry for 54 yards.
Hornets senior Logan Fuller was held to just 46 yards on 13 attempts, while Jeremy Bateman had 12 carries for 40 yards rushing. Maalik Hall had 38 yards rushing and Bateman had 16 yards rushing for the Hornets.
“Our kids played their hearts out as well as did Kaufman's players tonight,” Essary said. “These were two of the best teams around playing tonight, and I am very proud of our players.”