[Joe Ellerson, Athens Daily Review]

ATHENS -- Athens is in a spot its has not seen since the 2005 football season following a 42-21 loss to Red Oak in the home opener Friday at Bruce Field.

The Hawks, from Class 5A, improved to 2-1 on the season after ending a 21-game losing streak last week.

“That is a good football team over there," Hornets head coach Paul Essary said. "They are a lot better than they have been the last two or three years. They are a great 5A football team who took Corsicana into overtime and had a chance to win it. They won last week against another good 5A team.”

Athens (0-3) will try to pick up its first win of the season next Friday when they host Robison for homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Robinson is 3-0 on the season following a 56-14 victory against Troy Friday night.

“I need to see execution and not giving up the big play on defense," Essary said. "We need to execute on offense and Robinson is a high potent offense. They are averaging over 50 points a game, and according to what they did tonight, they may be averaging 60. It will be a good test and we will just continue to get better.”

In the loss to Red Oak, the Hornets scored the opening touchdown as JaQuaylon Bowman rumbled his way into the end zone from 11 yards out. Dakota Anderson booted the PAT good for the 7-0 lead with 7:15 remaining in the quarter.

Red Oak scored 28 unanswered points starting at the 11:52 mark of the second quarter. Senior quarterback Chris Bugg found Jordan Munoz for a 17-yard touchdown to tie the game. Edgar Perez booted the PAT good.

The Hawks took the lead for good with 9:30 remaining in the opening half. Bugg found Brock Houston on a 41-yard touchdown.

Following a fumble by Athens on the kickoff, Red Oak recovered on the 1-yard line. Juwan Jones powered his way into the end zone with 9:13 remaining for the 21-7 lead.

The Hawks were not done. With 6:01 remaining in the half, Bugg ran in a 12-yard touchdown for the 28-7 lead.

Athens' Xavius Fulton found Noah Bush for a 32-yard touchdown with 1:57 left in the half to cut the lead in half.

“I thought our guys were right there in it," Essary said. "We had a chance to pull back in it in the second half, and made some crucial mistakes. We have to continue to get better and cut out the mistakes. We have one more week to get better to get ready for district.”

In the second half, Red Oak extended the lead back to three touchdowns once Houston hauled in a 6-yard touchdown reception from Bugg with 8:35 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The final touchdown for Athens came with 6:08 remaining. Fulton found Bush on a 68-yard throw for a 35-21 deficit.

The Hawks wrapped up the scoring with 2:54 remaining. Blake Sonnier rumbled for 83 yards straight up the gut.

Fulton finished the night 2-of-8 passing for 100 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. He had 15 carries for 29 yards rushing.

Athens finished the night with 270 yards of offense, compared to 416 yards for Red Oak.

“I think we improved this week," Essary said. "We are still making mistakes against good teams that we cannot continue to make. I thought we moved the ball a lot better. The offensive line is getting better, and they are really coming along. I am proud of the effort. I don't think they made as many mistakes as they did last week. If we continue to do that, we will be better for district.”