[By Joe Elerson, Athens Daily Review]

KAUFMAN – The Athens Hornets dropped their second straight district contest with a 40-13 loss Friday on the road at Lions Stadium.

The game was homecoming for Kaufman, who came in with a record of 4-2 and and 2-0 overall. When the final horn sounded, the Lions remained tied for the District 8-4A lead with the Van Vandals.

With the loss, the Hornets dropped to 1-6 overall and 1-2 in district play. Athens will look to even up the district record Friday as they host the Terrell Tigers.

Terrell defeated Crandall, 28-21, in their contest Friday. In the other district contest, Van defeated Brownsboro, 49-7, to remain undefeated, while Mabank had the night off.

“We still are in the playoff hunt,” Athens coach Paul Essary said. “Our thing is trying to fight through the stuff and getting healthy. Kaufman is hurt and I am sure Terrell has people beat up. We can't worry about no one else and we have to try and get better everyday. They are going to work hard and they are competitors. They will continue to work hard the rest of the way.”

In the loss Friday, the Hornets stayed with the Lions in the first 12 minutes of play. Kaufman held a 7-0 lead heading into the second quarter on a 61-yard touchdown run by Marquithias Johnson. The score came with 1:45 remaining in the first quarter as Abraham Garcia booted the PAT good.

The Hornets tied the game at 7 early in the second quarter as Fulton powered his way in from one-yard out. Fulton's touchdown came with 11:54 remaining in the half as Dakota Anderson booted the PAT good.

Kaufman then blew the game open with 21 unanswered points for a 37-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The run started as Johnson scored his second touchdown of the game on a 23-yard run with 7:43 remaining in the first half. Garcia booted the PAT good for the 14-7 lead.

Later in the quarter, Dre Prox blasted his way for an 11-yard touchdown with 4:18 remaining in the half. The PAT was no good as Kaufman led, 20-7.

Kaufman wrapped up the first half scoring with nine seconds remaining as Garcia booted a 25-yard field goal good for the 23-7 lead.

In the second half, the Hornets were forced to go with backup quarterback Javiry Bowman as junior Xavius Fulton was unable to continue following an injury suffered last week.

“Xavius was injured and he tried to go in the first half. He did not practice and we held him out all week,” Essary said. “He is a fighter and tried to go, but it just was not happening for him tonight. He wants to do everything right and perfect and win. Javiry had worked at quarterback all week so we thought let's give him a shot. He got medical released three weeks ago and was playing quarterback, running back and receiver there. He did a great job for us tonight.”

In the third quarter, Prox added touchdown runs of 25 and 54 yards for a 37-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Prox's final touchdown came with 4:15 remaining in the third quarter.

In the final frame, Athens added a 44-yard touchdown reception from Bowman to Noah Bush for the 37-13. The PAT was no good as it went wide right.

Kaufman added the final points of the game with 4:52 remaining on a 24-yard field goal for the 40-13 finale.

Athens was led by Jerquindon Taylor with eight carries for 86 yards, Javiry Bowman with six carries for 31 yards, senior Maalik Hall with 10 carries for 26 yards and Jaquaylon Bowman with four carries for five yards.

Fulton was 7-of-13 passing for 27 yards with one interception. Bowman was 2-of-6 passing for 51 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“I am proud of the passing game opening up with both quarterbacks,” Essary said. "The protection was better than we have had before. We have to get better on our tackling and not give up the big plays.”

Kaufman was led by Prox with 10 carries for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson had six carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns.