The Athens Hornets hosted the Crandall Pirates on Friday for Senior Night and a district contest to close the regular season.
The teams exchanged the lead early in the first half before Crandall’s defense made stops to help them preserve a two-score lead at halftime. The Hornets cut the lead to ten late in the third quarter, but the Pirates never let up and set sail to the 52-28 victory.
Despite a chop block penalty on the Pirates during their opening drive, Billy Myers took a 48-yard touchdown catch for the 7-0 Crandall lead.
Athens marched down on their first drive and on a 4th and 1 at the Pirates’ 8, Nathan Sims squeezed through for an eight-yard TD run as Athens tied it at 7-7 with 3:05 in the first quarter.
Crandall led 14-7 after Damerian Wiginton’s 14-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds.
One play after Cedric Lowe’s kickoff return, Jerquindon Taylor caught a 38-yard TD pass and it was tied at 14-14.
The Pirates possessed the ball at their 45 as the second quarter started and would reach the Hornet 11 after a 34-yard run by Wiginton. After the Hornet defense forced a fourth down, they settled for three and led 17-14.
Crandall made the first stop of the night when they stuffed Nathan Sims as he ran on a 4th and 3, turning it over on downs.
After Javon Reedy caught a pass for 30 yards, the Pirates built the lead to 24-14 after Holt Reese dashed for the 18-yard score with 6:45 until the break.
The teams would exchange stops and turnovers for the rest of the quarter as 24-14 was the intermission score.
The Hornets began the second half at their own 39. But after reaching the Pirate 22 after a 17-yard catch by Rowdy Godwin, Athens lost the ball on a fumble.
Crandall would march down the field and following a 24-yard run by Shabrun Booker to the Hornet 24, Chris Abron broke tackles and ran in for a 24-yard score and the 31-14 Pirate lead.
Athens marched down as well and went for it on 4th and goal from the Pirates’ 4 as Taylor caught a four-yard TD catch and the Hornets trailed 31-21.
However, that would be it for Athens as Crandall kept their foot on the pedal the rest of the way and outscored the Hornets down the stretch, 21-7, en route to the 52-28 win.
Chase Fredrich completed 13 of 23 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns and an interception.
Sims rushed for 61 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. Taylor also ran for 61 while catching eight passes for 133 yards with three touchdowns.
Sims recorded 10 tackles on defense while Cedric Lowe had an interception.
Athens finishes the regular season at 6-4 and 2-3 in district. They clinched a second-straight playoff berth and play Carthage in the bi-district round Friday at the Tomato Bowl in Jacksonville at 7:30 p.m.