[By Joe Elerson, Athens Daily Review]

ATHENS — The Athens Hornets had a hard time containing Crandall Pirates running back Tyson Gatewood in a 49-21 loss Friday.

In the loss to Crandall (4-4, 2-2 in district), Gatewood finished the game with 23 carries for 224 yards and two touchdowns.

“He (Gatewood) has been good,” Athens coach Paul Essary said. “We have been playing against him for three years. He has been good all three of these years. He is a good athlete and plays hard. He is fun to watch if you are not trying to stop him.”

Essary said even with the loss, he was proud of how the guys fought during the game.

“They played hard for the last senior night on Bruce Field,” Essary said. “I am proud of them and they played hard. It is always sad when you lose a senior class because you have put so much work together with them. You want them to go out on a win. We have been fortunate here, and it may be the first one that we have not been successful on. They played hard, and I am proud of their effort.”

The contest was senior night for the Hornets as 12 players were involved in their final game at Bruce Field.

Athens (2-7 overall, 1-4 in district play) is open Friday, and wraps up the regular season Nov. 10 on the road at Brownsboro. The Bears defeated Terrell, 42-20, Friday in Brownsboro.

“We will work and try to get better for that last ballgame at Brownsboro,” Essary said. “In open week, we focus on ourselves with fundamentals and trying to get healthy. It could be the last game, and I don't know what the playoffs look like. Regardless of what it is, it is another game and we want to do our best. The guys will work hard and the coaching staff will work hard.”

Gatewood scored the games opening touchdown on an eight-yard run with 4:17 remaining in the opening quarter.

Athens was able to take a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter on two touchdowns following fumbled kickoff returns by Kaufman.

The first score came on an 18-yard run by quarterback Xavius Fulton with 6:36 remaining in the first half.

The second came on a 33-yard pass from Andrew McBride to Gary Lyons with 4:58 left. Dakota Anderson booted both PAT's good.

Crandall quarterback Josh Redding then added a five-yard TD run to tie the game at 14 with 1:57 remaining in the first half.

In the second half, McBride capped off a nice drive with a one-yard plunge to give Athens a 21-14 lead with 8:54 left in the third.

Crandall then scored the final 35 points to put the game out of reach. The Pirates had a 34-yard pass from Redding to Keionte Robertson and a one-yard run by Redding to end the third quarter at 28-21.

“We battled with them for almost three quarters,” Essary said. “We gave up some big plays, and penalties hurt us at crucial times. You get a couple of penalties and it got us off track. We need to be driving the football.”

In the fourth, Gatewood had a three-yard run, a 52-yard pass from Steven Dearman to Hayden Pruitt and a 15-yard run by Doneric Rivers for the 49-21 finale.

“We made a few mistakes and gave up a couple of big plays tonight,” the coach said. “They were able to capitalize, and Crandall is a good football team. They are close to win about six-or-seven games right now. They are as close as can be right now.”

Athens was led by Jerquindon Taylor with six carries for 60 yards, while McBride had 17 carries for 49 yards. McBride was 1 of 2 passing for 19 yards, which went to Taylor.

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