Hornets scrimmage season gets underway

Posted by : admin | On : August 24, 2017

News Staff Reports
ATHENS–The Athens Hornets opened their scrimmage season against the Royse City Bulldogs Friday, Aug. 18.
In the 90-play portion of the scrimmage, Royse City outscored Athens, 2-0. In the live quarter, Royse City scored the only touchdown early in the quarter.
The Bulldogs touchdown in the live quarter came with 11:47 remaining on a 70-yard run.
Even with that results, ninth-year Head Coach Paul Essary was pleased with the effort.
“I think we will see some bright spots when we watch the video,” Essary said. “Of course, we will see some spots that we need to improve on. Like I told the kids, if we were where we needed to be right now, we wouldn’t need the practice. We have a long way to go so we can continue to practice.”
The Hornets come in with a young squad following a big graduating class on offense and defense.
Essary said the players are adjusting to new roles on the team.
“We have a lot of young guys playing for the first time tonight,” Essary said. “We have some guys who are coming back, and it doesn’t matter if they are a sophomore, junior or senior, they are still young. We have seven or eight sophomores and juniors starting on offense. We have about seven guys on defense. It didn’t matter if we were all seniors, we want to keep improving.”
During the 90-play portion, the Athens second team defense had a fumble recovery.
With the touchdowns that Royse City scored, Essary said the defense is adjusting to the speed of the varsity level. He knows by the time the Greenville scrimmage happens at Bruce Field Friday, that unit will be ready.
“We had some guys who have moved into some key positions,” the coach said. “This is the first year for one of them to play varsity football as a freshman. The other three spots are their first time to be in that position. They have varsity experience, but two of the outside linebackers have moved to safety. The inside linebacker has moved to the outside.”
Senior Gary Lyons had a fumble recovery in the live quarter for the Hornets. Essary said he was impressed with the first scrimmage for Lyons.
“Gary is getting better every day,” Essary said. “He has not played football since he was in the eighth grade, and he is relearning the speed of the game. He will continue to get better.”
On offense, Essary was pleased with the way senior quarterback Xavius Fulton handled the offense.
“Xavius is a heck of a competitor. Sometimes, he was a little too much of a competitor tonight. I was wanting him to go down a little earlier,” Essary said. “He is throwing the ball well, and we will start catching the ball a little better. It all comes with practice. We saw some bright spots on the defensive line. Everybody is trying and getting better.”
The final scrimmage for the Hornets is set for Friday at Bruce Field. The freshman and JV begin at 5 p.m. with the varsity at 7 p.m.