The Athens Hornets head into Week 2 looking for a bit of revenge in their first road trip.
Athens (1-0) travels to Waxahachie to face the Life Mustangs (0-1) on Senior night Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Mustang Stadium.
Waxahachie Life lost it’s opener to Godley 50-27 last week.
“They graduated a few seniors from last year,” Athens coach Zac Harrell said. “They only have eight returning lettermen on their roster. They have less experience than we do. They have changed schemes by switching from a Slot-T, Air Force type offense to more of a spread throwing attack. It is a different team than we played last year, but still a good, quality football team.”
In last year’s meeting, Athens lost in district play to the Mustangs, 55-35, at Waxahachie Life. Harrell said it is time for some payback in this years game.
“We are really looking forward to that game, and it is a great challenge,” Harrell said. “Those guys got us last year, and that is a game we felt like we could win. We are really looking forward to trying to get some revenge and get better. We need to improve and get ready for that game.”
This is the first of a two-game road trip as the Hornets head to Fairfield next week.
“A lot of these guys have never traveled to a varsity football game,” Harrell said. “Our travel procedure will be the first time they have done it. It is definitely different and we treat our road trips like a business trip. We will focus on our jobs and have scouting reports on the bus, and it will be a new experience for a lot of these guys.”
The Hornets’ will need to keep an eye on Waxahachie Life receivers Christopher Gillespie and Jalen Mann.
Gillespie had eight receptions for 97 yards and one touchdown, while Mann had two receptions for 47 yards and one score.
The Mustangs’ used two quarterbacks in the opener in freshman Kaden Mayfield and junior Justin Tims. The duo combined to go 22-of-41 for 270 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
“The freshman is actually the brother of the quarterback they had last year,” Harrell said. “He was a great player and Kaden is going to be a great player. When he is not playing quarterback, they are playing him as a slot receiver. Both of those guys are great players and the other guys is a dual-threat quarterback.”
Sophomore De’tyrian McCoy is another player to watch after recording five receptions for 84 yards in last week’s loss. Elyjah Berry led the team in rushing with 15 carries for 36 yards and one touchdown.
“Our secondary will definitely be tested this week,” Harrell said. “This week will be a good test for our corners and safeties to see how they respond to a team that wants to throw the ball.”
Defensively, the Mustangs base out of a 4-2 defense, with man defense on the corners. They will blitz and play straight man defense, according to Harrell.
Harrell said the Hornets keys to victory this week is are simple.
“We want to be better than we were last week at each position,” Harrell said. “We want to start fast this week and dictate the game early, we can’t give up the big plays, we then challenged the offensive line to play better and do our jobs. We want to be selfless and be a great teammate.”
In the 42-28 win over Brownsboro, the Hornets accounted for 271 yards of offense with 215 of those coming on the ground.
Sophomore quarterback Ty Arroyo finished with 11 carries for 160 yards and four touchdowns. Nathan Sims had six carries for 30 yards and one touchdown, while JeCorey Roberts had five carries for 25 yards.
“A lot of that was the tempo of the game,” Harrell said. “Our snaps were very limited on offense. Both of those players (Sims and Roberts) had about 20 snaps on offense. It was due to the fact of how they played us and our limited amount of snaps.”
Cedric Lowe led five Hornet receivers with two receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown, while Caleb Bennett had one reception for 12 yards.
Defensively, the Hornets had three players with double digit tackles in Connor Clay with 18 tackles and a fumble recovery, Derek Killingsworth with 11 and Drew Horn with 10 and a caused fumble.
Athens scored on six of its 11 drives with the longest play drive being a 10-play, 59 yards drive. The longest yardage drive was a five-play, 77 yards drive.
“The initial thoughts were we played really hard, and our effort was really good. I was extremely proud of that,” Harrell said. “I thought we played harder as a team in that game than we ever did last year. That shows great improvement and that is what we are trying to do every day. We are still a young team and there is a lot of inexperience in a lot of areas that we need to get better in. Overall, I could not be more pleased with our guys effort.”
Notes:The visitors' side at Mustang Stadium has a capacity of 500. Tickets will only be sold at the AHS field house for $6 each; no tickets will be sold at the gate or online. Tickets are required for all ages to enter. Tickets will be available Thursday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Friday from 8 a.m.-noon. After noon on Friday, no more tickets will be available for the game.