So this is what it was:
1. a slow start that resulted in a 1-4 record;
2. an embarassing loss among those first five games; and
3. an offense trying to find a niche and a defense looking for playmakers.
Welcome back to 2009.
In Paul Essary’s first year as head coach of the Athens Hornets, all of the above was true.
Actually, the Hornets started 1-5 before putting the pieces together and making the playoffs (where they led 2008 state finalist Waco LaVega until the fourth quarter of their bi-district game).
In 2012, all of the above has been a reality for the Hornets. They’re 1-4 heading into Friday night’s District 15-3A opener against the Canton Eagles (4-1) and coming off the worst loss of the three-plus-year Essary era — a 49-0 defeat at the hands of the Palestine Wildcats before last week’s open date.
Friday night’s game, however, marks the beginning of contests that will separate the playoff teams from all others.
“I think the kids understand everybody’s 0-0 going into district right now,” Essary said. “And half the teams are going to be 1-0 and half the teams are going to be 0-1 after Friday night.”
Essary said coaches spent the open week breaking down schemes, teaching and reviewing while continuing to work toward getting healthy.
“There were some things I think that were maybe a little confusing,” he said. “So hopefully we’ll understand the scheme a little bit better now.”
The Eagles — coached by former AHS chief Robert Ivey — are a high-scoring outfit. Canton claimed a 62-38 win over Wills Point two weeks ago and, the week before that, beat Carrollton Ranchview, 45-24.
Ivey’s club hasn’t been involved in a game decided by less than 17 points — which was a 47-20 loss to Fairfield in Week 2.
The Eagles’ wins have been by 21, 21, 21 and 24 points.
“Canton’s got a balanced offense, and what makes them dangerous is they do a lot of different things,” Essary said. “And they do them well.”
Despite 1-4 record, arrival of district play means new life for Athens
So this is what it was:
REGION XIV TOURNAMENT: College of champions
The No. 1-ranked Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals survived a ferocious attack by the No. 11-ranked Tyler Junior College Lady Apaches in a 72-62 win at UT-Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center.
REGION XIV TOURNAMENT: Burned by Dragons
The No. 8-ranked Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals tried to deliver the knockout blow early on, but the Paris Dragons battled back for the Region XIV title on Saturday.
ATHENS HS SPORTS: Athens wraps Princeton Tournament with big wins
The Athens Hornets wrapped up play in the Princeton Tournament over the weekend with an 11-5-1 overall record.
TVCC basketball teams headed to National Tournaments
The No.8-ranked Trinity Valley Cardinals and No. 1-ranked Lady Cardinals will be heading to the NJCAA national basketball tournaments in Hutchinson, Kansas and Salina, Kansas respectively the week of March 17-22.
REGION XIV TOURNAMENT: Survive and advance
The No. 1-ranked Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals survived a ferocious attack by the Jacksonville Lady Jaguars in the semifinal round of the Region XIV conference tournament with an 84-73 victory at UT-Tyler.
HIGH SCHOOL POWERLIFTING: Record setting lift
Athens lifter Jose Rodriguez and Brownsboro lifter Aaron Chitwood advanced to the Class 3A state meet March 22 in Abilene.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Athens picks up two wins at Princeton tournament
The Athens Hornets won their first two games in the Princeton tournament on Thursday.
REGION XIV TOURNAMENT: Soaring to the semifinals
The No. 8-ranked Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals advanced to today’s semifinal round with a sweep of the Lee College Runnin’ Rebels at UT-Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center.
HIGH SCHOOL TRACK: Eustace teams start season strong at Bulldog Relays
The Eustace LadyDogs and Bulldogs finished as the top two teams at the Eustace Bulldog Relays Feb. 27.
3-7 East Texas Fishing Report
Here is the East Texas Fishing Report for this week:
ATHENS — Water level is at normal level and fairly clear. Water temp in the 40s, 50s. No report available from Lake Athens Marina.
- More Sports Headlines
- REGION XIV TOURNAMENT: College of champions