CORSICANA- The Mabank Panthers (6-5) got a measure of revenge on Saturday night as they knocked off their longtime rivals the Athens Hornets (5-6) 29-14 in a Class 3A Region 2 Division 1 Bi-District playoff game at Tiger Stadium. Mabank who had lost the regular season meeting with Athens 20-15 never trailed in the game and had complete control of the game throughout as QB Kolton Browning led the Panthers attack with 325 yards of total offense and 2 rushing touchdowns.
Athens opened the game by getting a big break on the defensive side of the ball as DB Kerry Gamble recovered a Mabank fumble at the Mabank 42 but the Hornets offense was unable to take advantage of the turnover and AHS was forced to punt. Mabank would be the first to get on the board on their next possession as Kolton Browning would score on an impressive 59 yard touchdown run on a QB draw play to put the Panthers up 7-0 with 6:36 left in the first quarter. Mabank would get their own turnover on Athens' next possession as Darious Robinson would pick off Athens QB Chase Knighton and return the turnover to midfield. Athens's defense would make a play and stop the Panthers on downs in their territory but the Hornets would fumble on their first play of the next drive and it was recovered by Mabank LB Jacob Walker. Mabank would get points off the miscue but this time it was just a 25 yard field goal by Michael Blackburn and MHS led 10-0. Athens was forced to punt on their next drive and Mabank would make the Hornets pay as Norman Brady would score on a two yard run to put Mabank up 17-0. Athens would finally wake up on their next drive as the Hornets scored on a 13 play drive as Anthony Crayton caught a 2 yard touchdown pass from Chase Knighton to cut the Panthers lead to 17-7 and that would be the halftime score.
Mabank would get the first two points of the second half on special teams as Athens as they were lined up to punt had a snap go over the punters head and out of the end zone and with 10:59 left in the third quarter. After the safety Mabank had a short field but the Panthers were unable to put any points on the board and they let the Hornets stay in the game. AHS would get their first big play of the game as Knighton would hook up with Neagle Miller for a 70 yard touchdown pass to cut the Mabank lead to 19-14 with 7:44 left in the game. Mabank appeared to be on the march for a score to extend their lead but Athens LB Stephen Blakemore recovered a fumble at the Athens 19 yard line to stop the Panthers scoring threat. Mabank would add a field goal on the board as Blackburn kicked a 27 yard field goal to extend the Panthers lead to 22-14 with 8:22 left in the game. Mabank would salt the game away late in the fourth quarter as Browning got his second touchdown run of the game this time on a six yard run to make it 29-14 with 1:45 left in the game, Athens would make a desperation last drive but after a couple of first downs the Hornets were intercepted and time ran out on their season. Next week Mabank advances to the Class 3A Region 2 Division 1 Area Playoffs where they will take on unbeaten Gilmer on Saturday at 2:00pm at Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches.
Score by Quarter
1 2 3 4 T
Athens 0 7 7 0 14
Mabank 10 7 2 10 29