The Athens Hornets traveled to Quinlan on Friday to face the Ford Panthers, in search of their first district win on a rainy night.
With Athens leading by five points at halftime, the Hornets once again made great adjustments to pull ahead big, but the Panthers were able to shift momentum in their favor with some big plays. In the end, it was the Hornets coming out on top thanks to a late interception to seal the 34-28 road win for their first district win.
The Hornets got to work while the rain was falling, and marched down the field to bring in a 13 yard touchdown catch by Cam McDonald and the 7-0 lead.
After Quinlan punted to start, it took two plays by Jerquindon Taylor, including a 34-yard TD run, for the 13-0 lead after a missed extra point.
Derek Killingsworth recovered a Panther fumble on the next drive. However, Athens could not capitalize and their ensuing punt was blocked as Quinlan took over at the Hornet 10, and they got on the board trailing 13-7 after a 10-yard rushing score by Cayson Hoff.
At the start of the second quarter, Sims charged through to convert two fourth downs, including a 20-yard TD run to lead 19-7 with 7:43 until halftime after two points failed.
Quinlan cut the deficit to 19-14 with 45 seconds thanks to Kaiden Roden’s 15-yard touchdown run, and that would be the halftime score.
After Quinlan punted to start the second half, Athens took over five minutes and, after Rowdy Godwin’s first catch of the night for 16 yards, Sims scored on a 17-yard catch for the 27-14 lead after two points were added with 6:08 in the third quarter.
The Hornets forced their second turnover on another fumble recovery with 3:01. Three plays later, Chase Friederich punched in a 16-yard touchdown run for Athens to lead 34-14. Quinlan was not done yet.
After the fourth quarter started, Quinlan answered big with Roden’s second touchdown, this one for nine yards, and the score was 34-21 with 8:14 left in the game.
Athens fumbled the ball and the Panthers got it right back. Four plays later, it was a six point game at 34-28 with a ten-yard TD run from Rowdy Rowan with 5:42 left to play.
McDonald fumbled the ball and Ford had a chance to take the lead with 2:19 to play. They marched down to the Hornet 19 yard line, but McDonald redeemed himself with a big interception to seal the 34-28 win and snap a two-game skid.
The Hornets improve to 5-3 and 1-2 in district and play their road finale next Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Mabank Panthers.