No. 4 Kennedale Pulls Away to Beat Athens, 47-26, in Area Round
ENNIS -- Athens' season came to an end Friday at the hands of No. 4-ranked Kennedale with a 47-26 loss at Ennis Lion Memorial Stadium.
With the loss, the Hornets finished the season at 8-4 and bi-district champions.
“You always want to keep winning. No one is happy unless they win the state championship. I am very pleased to have coached these young men,” Athens coach Paul Essary said. “This team overachieved and played together and with a lot of heart. I am proud to have been their head coach and to go 8-4 and win a bi-district championship is a heck of a job for anyone.”
Athens senior running back Logan Fuller had another strong performance, finishing with 45 carries for 227 yards and three touchdowns. With the performance, Fuller eclipsed 6,000 rushing yards for his career as Essary said he was the first back he has coached to reach that milestone.
In the first quarter, Fuller scored the opening touchdown on a 15-yard run. He had eight carries during the drive for 64 yards. Oscar Rios missed the extra point for the 6-0 lead.
Fuller scored his second touchdown with 1:47 remaining in the first half on a three-yard run. Rios booted the extra point good for the 13-0 lead at the half.
Kennedale's senior running back Quadriz Wadley was held to eight yards on just three carries in the game. He was pulled in the first quarter after dealing with an injury suffered last week.
In the second half, the Kennedale offense came alive as senior Dailyn Wells opened the scoring with 11:52 remaining on a 48-yard run for the 13-7 deficit. The score capped off a two-play drive for the Wildcats.
Wells finished the night with 16 carries for 289 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
The Wildcats took their first lead with 8:55 remaining as quarterback Kaiser McGlothen blasted his way for 56 yards. Jase Zeller booted the extra point good for the 14-13 lead.
“In the second half, we made a couple of minor mistakes and they are a good football team. I told the coaches at halftime that they are two plays from being ahead,” Essary said. “I said they are so fast that if they pop it they are gone. We played so well in the first half and I think we played with great effort in the second half.”
Brandon Boyd gave Athens the lead again with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter on an 11-yard run for the 19-14 lead.
With 10:52 remaining in the game, senior center Josiah Jones with down with an injury. Essary said it appeared to be a broken leg.
Kennedale then scored three straight touchdowns starting with a three-yard touchdown by DJ Kirven with 10:44 remaining in the game. Wells added another touchdown with 9:11 remaining on a 56 yard touchdown run for the 33-19 lead.
Kirven would add another touchdown with 8:54 remaining on a 33-yard run for the 33-19 lead.
Athens got it's final touchdown of the game on a 10-yard run by Logan Fuller for the 33-26 deficit.
Kennedale ended the scoring with a 73-yard run from Wells and a 37-yard run by Wells with 1:40 remaining for the 47-26 finale.
“I am proud of our guys and they played hard,” Essary said. “They did everything we asked of them and tonight Kennedale was better than the Athens Hornets.”