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Jirmyrion High (1) runs down Kaufman running back Lester Camp (3) as Michael Cox (7) tries to step in for a block during Friday night’s game. The Lions held off the Hornets, 35-26.

KAUFMAN — There was no stopping the Kaufman Lions Friday night.

The Lions rushed for 471 yards and amassed 27 first downs on their way to a 35-26 win over the Athens Hornets.

Kaufman’s first win sent the Hornets to a 2-3 record to wrap up non-district play. The Lions improved to 1-4.

Second-year coach Jim Wommack’s Hornets have this week off in preparation for their District 14-AAA opener at home on Friday, Oct. 13. It will also be the AHS homecoming game.

The Hornet defense had its hands full with the Kaufman offense, especially tailback Justin Kapp. Kapp used his slashing running style to assault the Hornets for 193 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries.

Kapp wasn’t alone in causing the Hornets misery. Quarterback Michael Cox ran for 94 yards, Lester Camp 87 and Aaron Miles 72 in his first varsity appearance.

The Lions struck for touchdowns on their first two possessions of the second half to build a commanding 35-14 lead. To their credit, the Hornets came back and scored twice, but miscued on both PATs and needed two scores instead of one late in the game.

After Miles scored his second touchdown on a 22-yard run, the Hornet defense made a couple of stands to at least momentarily shift the tide. That opened the door for a 12-yard Jirmyrion High touchdown run and a 57-yard pass from Wesley Starkes to Dhe’Ryan Jackson for another score.

The Starkes-to-Jackson scoring connection with 6:27 to go in the game left the Hornets with plenty of time. The PAT was squandered when holder Holden Kirksey tried to convert a low snap into points only to be swamped. That left AHS down by nine.

The Hornets attempted an on-side kick after the Jackson touchdown. Camp made the recovery for the Lions.

The AHS defense kept Kaufman off the scoreboard the rest of the way, but the Lions were able to kill enough time to make the chances of a comeback slim.

Forrest Elder, Rex Laird and High (twice) made tackles for losses in the closing minutes to keep AHS hopes alive. Kaufman failed to convert on a pair of fourth down situations both times after the negative plays.

The Hornets’ final possession was their most productive — minus points. Starkes completed 7-of-11 passes to lead the Hornets deep into Kaufman territory. But Dexter Warfield came up inches short of a first down on fourth and 10 and the ball went over to Kaufman with 28 seconds left.

Starkes finished the game completing 18-of-29 passes for 210 yards. He had two touchdown passes, the other going to Simeon Neal from six yards out in the second quarter to tie the score at 14-14.

Jackson set up the Neal touchdown when he blocked a punt and returned it 37 yards to the Kaufman six-yard line. Jackson also scored the first AHS touchdown on a 46-yard run on the Hornets’ second play of the game.

Jackson picked up 70 yards on eight carries.

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