Aug. 27—An Athens Hornets stop with the game in the balance secured a 34-27 win over the Brownsboro Bears at Bruce Field on Friday night.
The Bears trailed early 21-0, but rode a hot hand to twice climb within seven in the second half. Faced with fourth and one on the Athens 35, quarterback Jaxyn Rogers threw just short of dangerous receiver Gekyle Baker to turn the ball over to the Hornets.
"We got a little tired and kind of let them get back in it," Athens Coach Zac Harrell said. "We had to find a way in the second half when we're tired to finish the game."
Harrell said his team had two chances to put the game away when they were up by two scores, but left the door open for Brownsboro's comeback attempt.
A six yard run by Athens quarterback Ty Arroyo turned out to be the winning points for the Hornets. Brownsboro answered with a 19 yard pass to Baker with 4:22 left.
The game started as a possible repeat or the 41-7 thrashing Athens put on the Bears last year. The Hornets rode a punishing ground game featuring Jamauri Manning and Arroyo to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. The Athens defense had the answers until Rogers hit Dylan Downey for a score.
The Bears' late threat was made possible by a defensive stop when Athens was driving at the Brownsboro 47. On fourth down Arroyo kept to his left and appeared to have more than enough room to keep the drive going. Brownsboro linebacker Levi Oliver sliced through and stopped the slippery Hornet in his tracks.
With the win, Athens will take a 1-0 record to Waxahachie Life next Friday. Brownsboro, 0-1, is at home against the Fairfield Eagles.