Jayson Larson/Special to the Review
The Athens Review
The records are falling as fast as the opponents.
The Athens Hornets clinched their first district championship since 1992 with a 55-20 win over the Mineola Yellowjackets Friday night at Meredith Memorial Stadium. With the win, the Hornets are now 9-0 (4-0 in District 15-3A) heading into next week’s home game at Bruce Field against the rival Brownsboro Bears – who will be trying to keep Athens from completing the first perfect regular season in school history.
While those marks are well within reach, a 37-year-old school record has already bit the dust and a newer one is in danger, too.
Athens sophomore fullback Logan Fuller broke Kenneth Sessions’ record for most rushing yards in a season with a 189-yard, four-touchdown performance. Sessions’ mark of 1,293 yards, set in 1976, went down on a 14-yard Fuller run in the fourth quarter. On the next play, Fuller scored his fourth touchdown of the night and 21st of the season – leaving him just three shy of tying Kendall Sanders’ 2010 record for most touchdowns in a season. Fuller will enter that game with 1,322 rushing yards.
Mineola (4-5, 1-3) loaded the line-of-scrimmage with defenders but couldn’t stop the Hornet rushing game, which racked up 435 of Athens’ 498 total yards. Junior Ladarius Jordan ran for 114 yards and classmate Devin Hall nearly popped the century mark, as well, with 96 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns.
The Yellowjackets made a game of it for a half, keeping the Hornets to within 15 points at the half, 28-13. The Hornets abused the ‘Jackets over the next 16 minutes, scoring 34 unanswered points. Senior Anthony Sanders hit fellow senior and SMU commit Chris Jefferson on a 25-yard touchdown pass to kick off the run of points, which was completed by three Fuller touchdown runs and Hall’s second score of the game that increased the lead to 55-13.
The only other time the ‘Jackets were close to the lead was in the first quarter, when Hall’s first touchdown was followed by Rhett Self’s seven-yard scoring run for Mineola. Self finished with 73 yards rushing. The ‘Jackets’ other scores came on a pair of touchdown passes from Jeremiah Crawford to Casey Gilbreath.
In addition to the Hornets’ regular offensive standouts, two more players came up with special nights. Nikell Roberts ran a first-quarter kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown and Travon Fuller grabbed two more interceptions to run his team-leading total to six on the season. One of those interceptions was an acrobatic leap in the end zone that prevented a touchdown.
Athens 55, Mineola 20
Athens 21 7 14 13 -- 55
Mineola 6 7 0 7 -- 20
A – Devin Hall 15 run (David Cedillo kick), 5:28
M – Rhett Self 7 run (kick blocked), 3:06
A – Nikell Roberts 99 kickoff return (Cedillo kick), 2:52
A – Logan Fuller 53 run (Cedillo kick), 0:20
M – Jeremiah Crawford 24 pass to Casey Gilbreath (Willie Tinajero kick), 8:40
A – Anthony Sanders 25 pass to Chris Jefferson (Cedillo kick), 5:41
A – Fuller 4 run (Cedillo kick), 10:20
A – Fuller 1 run (Cedillo kick), 5:39
A – Fuller 19 run (Cedillo kick), 11:04
A – Hall 1 run (kick fails), 8:00
M – Crawford 25 pass to Gilbreath (Tinajero kick), 2:39
First downs 22 16
Rush-yards 46-435 44-164
Passing yards 63 124
C-A-I 4-5-0 9-16-2
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Punts-avg. 1-29.0 2-30.5
Penalties-yards 11-80 2-15
Rushing — A: Logan Fuller 18-189; Devin Hall 14-96; Ladarius Jordan 6-114; Chad Head 2-(-3); Anthony Sanders 2-15; David Cedillo 3-13; Kynden Crist 1-11. M: Rhett Self 22-73; Jeremiah Crawford 16-66; Tino Elias 4-7; Juan Vargas 1-9; Aaron Stanford 1-3.
Passing – A: Anthony Sanders 4-5-63-0. M: Jeremiah Crawford 9-16-124-2.
Receiving — A: Chris Jefferson 2-34; Travon Fuller 2-29. M: Blake Whitney 3-29; Tino Elias 2-17; Casey Gilbreath 2-49; Kourtland Sinches 1-19; Rhett Self 1-10.