Sectional Football

Athenians stay competitive, fall to Stars

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DOVER — Crawfordsville played their best and most complete game of the season in their Sectional 28 opener against three-time defending state champion, Western Boone. However, it wasn’t enough as untimely miscues and penalties was the Athenians downfall as the Stars advance to the second round with a 41-14 victory.

Crawfordsville, who lost to the Stars 49-6, bon Sept. 3, forced them to punt on their first two drives and saw a Josiah Smith field goal attempt sail wide right before showing off their offensive skill set.

Kaden Patton hit Even Chaney on an 80-yard catch and run, and Alex Hernandez’s 2-point conversion catch gave the visitors an 8-0 lead with 0:06.9 remaining in the first quarter, silencing the home crowd.

“I thought our defense just played awesome tonight,” said Athenian head coach Kurt Schlicher. “We were flying to the ball. The credit goes to the kids.”

“When you’ve only won one game, and you draw the three time defending state champ on the road, most people would just pack it in, and our boys did not do that tonight,” he continued. “They played for the name on the front of their jersey and for each other.”

The first two Stars touchdowns took advantage of Athenian miscues. Smith recovered a fumble in the end zone with 9:43 remaining in the second quarter to make it 8-7.

Crawfordsville misplayed the kickoff return fumbling and giving Western Boone a short field. They’d drive 17-yards in 3-plays to lead 13-8. They’d tack on another right before the half to head to the locker room up 20-8.

“We were able to execute a couple plays early before the rain hit,” Schlicher said. “If you’re a Crawfordsville fan, and you didn’t see this one, you missed a tremendous effort.”

The Athenians lone score in the second half was again through the air as Patton found Ethan McLemore in the flat, and the sophomore raced 80-yards for the Athenian touchdown.

“I’m proud of our kids. Really the last month, these kids have just played with everything that they’ve had,” Schlicher said. “Tonight, they emptied the tank. We spoke about that earlier this week. Played that way from start to finish. We made a few mistakes, but my goodness, I couldn’t be more proud of a group of kids and how they played all season.”

Crawfordsville out-gained WeBo 299 to 231.

Patton was 10 for 20 through the air for 236 yards and two scores, while Zeke Cardenas had 14 carries for 46 yards.

“Tonight was a special night to just see these leave it all on the field, because we did,” Schlicher said. “They’re a great program. Coach Pelley’s a great coach. You want to be the best, you have to play the best. Our effort was there tonight.” He continued.

Friday was the final game for Athenian seniors Kaigen Fields, Evan Chaney, Ethan Powell, Gavin Kenny, Austin Motz, Noah Adair, Kyle Fruits, Nick Busenbark, Ja’Marion Cummins and Alex Hernandez.

“Our seniors are a special group,” Schlicher complimented. “They’ve dealt with the loss of a teammate. Seniors are the heart and soul of any team. The record doesn’t show the time, effort and commitment they’ve put into football. They’re going to be sorely missed and we love them.”

The Athenians season ends at 1-9.

Western Boone (6-4) will Guerin Catholic in next week’s second round game.

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