Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Sports

July 9, 2014

Another district title?

Athens picked to finish first by the Old Coach Magazine, Fuller recognized Best of ‘16

Athens — The excitement is building on the upcoming football season across the  Henderson County area.

As prognosticators make their predictions and fans start to debate how good their teams will be, the Old Coach Friday Night Football magazine has released its predictions for our area.

One county athlete is recognized as a Best of 2016  defensive back in the state of Texas.

Athens junior Travon Fuller (5-11, 160 pounds) is one of 10 athletes selected by the magazine.

Fuller is also a member of the All-4A team at defensive back with West Orange-Stark’s Johnny Shaw and Gonzales athlete Darrance James.

Fuller verbally committed to the Texas A&M University Aggies during the spring with coach Kevin Sumlin.

During his sophomore season, Fuller was an all-state defensive back and the Athens Review All-Henderson County sophomore of the year.

He finished the year with 53 total tackles, seven interceptions with one returned for a touchdown.

He had 15 carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns, returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown and had 15 receptions for 305 yards and two touchdowns.

In Class 4A, the Hornets are picked as the No. 10 ranked team in the top 50 4A, Division I teams in the state.

Coach Paul Essary’s squad finished the year at 10-1 after losing to the Chapel Hill Bulldogs in the bi-district round.

The Bulldogs are picked as the No. 9 ranked team in the state according to the magazine.

Class 4A

In District 8-4A, Division I, the Hornets are picked as the favorites to win another district title.

Following realignment, the Hornets are in a district with the Kaufman Lions, Crandall Pirates, Van Vandals, Mabank Panthers and Wills Point Tigers.

“We’re in a new district, which should be interesting,” Essary said in the magazine.

Five of the six district teams qualified for the playoffs last season.

In Essary’s five seasons at Athens, the Hornets have qualified for the playoffs in four of those seasons.

The Hornets return 18 lettermen, including six offensive starters and eight defensive starters.

With their summer training program coming to a conclusion, Essary is pleased with their work ethic.

“We’ve got some experience coming back and we’re working hard to get better,” Essary said.

The backfield is solid as junior Logan Fuller and senior Devin Hall return following 1,000 yard rushing seasons.

Fuller set a school record in rushing yards and touchdowns as he finished with 1,727 yards and 27 touchdowns.

For Hall, he wrapped up the year with 1,234 yards and 14 touchdowns

Fuller was named as the Athens Review All-Henderson County offensive player of the year, while Hall was named a first team running back.

A team that is looking to rebound this season is the Mabank Panthers.

Coach Jared Wingfield’s Panthers are predicted to finish in fifth place by the magazine.

They come into the season following a 2-8 finish to the 2013 campaign.

Mabank returns 15 lettermen and will be looking for offensive lineman to step up.

Wingfield had five players graduate from the line as junior Xavier Ewing is a player to watch for the Panthers.

On the offensive side of the ball, Panther quarterback Cody Thompson returns after throwing for 965 yards and eight touchdowns last year.

His top target last season was senior Dalton Reeder — who had 33 receptions for 366 yards and three touchdowns.

In District 9-4A, Division I, the Brownsboro Bears are picked to finish in last place by the magazine.

In coach Jason Hooker’s first year at the helm, the Bears finished with a record of 2-8 overall.

Brownsboro is in a district with the Carthage Bulldogs, Kilgore Bulldogs, Chapel Hill, Palestine Wildcats and Henderson Lions.

In new ‘District of Doom’ has last year’s Class 3A, Division I champion Carthage, the Division I runner up in Kilgore, state quarterfinalist in Chapel Hill and a playoff team in Palestine to deal with this season.

The Bears return six offensive starters and five defensive starters from last year’s team.

A player to watch is senior wide receiver and free safety Will Bailey.

Bailey wrapped up the 2013 campaign with 40 receptions for 524 yards for an average of 13.1 yards per catch.

On defense, he had 65 tackles with two interceptions. He was also the Bears punter averaging 33.8 yards per punt on 44 punts with a long of 51 yards.

Top underclassmen according to the magazine are Tamrick Pace, Caleb Seale, Wyatt Rinehart and Mardarion Chivers.

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