The Athens Hornets concluded their annual homecoming festivities with their homecoming game on Friday night as they hosted the Yellowjackets from Ferris, with both teams looking to bounce back from Week 3 losses.
The teams exchanged the lead and many scoring drives in the first half before the Hornets came out of halftime and clamped down to build on their intermission lead and never look back in a 52-29 victory.
The Hornet defense came out and immediately forced a turnover on downs by the Yellowjackets.
Athens’ first drive was highlighted by a 17-yard run by Chase Frederich to Ferris’ 19-yard line. Three plays later, Jerquindon Taylor ran in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown and the 6-0 lead after a failed extra point.
On Ferris’ next drive, they took advantage of three straight penalties against Athens’ defense and after some big double-digit yard plays, they capped off with a 29-yard touchdown run from Matthew Nunez and tied it 6-6 after a missed two point conversion.
The Hornets began the next drive at their own 23 and after some big runs from Nathan Sims and Taylor, they would hold the ball at Ferris’ 42 after the first quarter. Right as the second quarter started, Sims picked up a 40 yard run and Frederich would score a six-yard touchdown run as Athens took the lead back at 13-6.
With the Yellowjackets starting at midfield, they would reach Athens’ 35 and went for it on 4th-and-9 as Nunez scored his second touchdown on a 35-yard catch, which made it 14-13 with 8:22 until halftime with two points added on.
The Hornets then only took three plays to score as Godwin caught a 16-yard pass, Frederich ran for 27 and Sims capped it off as he ran in for 32 and Athens led 19-14 following a missed extra point.
Ferris took advantage of a Roughing the Passer call on their next possession and even though they reached the Hornet 18, Athens’ defense made a key stop as they settled for a field goal and trailed 19-17 with 5:22.
Two plays after a 28-yard run by Taylor, Sims would put in his second touchdown of the night as he dashed in 35 yards on the next Hornet drive and Athens led 26-17, which would be the halftime score after the Hornets’ defense forced a second turnover on downs by the Yellowjackets deep in the red zone.
Shortly after Rowdy Godwin’s 17-yard catch out of the break, Sims could not be stopped as he picked up a 55-yard touchdown run, his third score, and Athens led 33-17.
Ferris settled for a 41-yard field goal on their next drive and it was 33-20.
The Hornets had another quick drive, highlighted by a 32 yard run by JeCorey Roberts, a 16 yard run by Frederich and capped off with Roberts’ 14-yard TD run to make the lead 40-20 with 6:19 in the third quarter.
Roberts’ second touchdown run to start the fourth quarter, a 35 yarder, put the game out of reach as the Hornets led 46-20.
The final score would be 52-29. A later Hornet scoring play was a pick-six from Justin Young.
Frederich completed six of 10 passes for 103 yards. Sims led rushers with three touchdowns on 14 carries for 221 yards, Roberts had two scores on 126 yards on 11 carries, Taylor and Frederich both had a TD on nine carries plus 82 and 83 yards respectively.
Athens improves to 3-1 and stays home to welcome the Bullard Panthers next Friday at 7:30 p.m.