ENNIS - This time it was the hare that won and not the tortoise.
In a duel of prolific running backs in a hard-fought area playoff game at Memorial Stadium, Kennedale's Dailyn Wells led his team to a 47-26 win over Athens by scoring on runs of 66, 73 and 37 yards in a frantic fourth quarter.
His performance, 297 yards on 16 carries, negated another stellar effort from Athens running back Logan Fuller, who scored three times and amassed 201 yards on 45 carries.
Kennedale advances to play the Argyle, a 59-34 winner over Pittsburg, while Athens finished the year with an 8-4 record.
Before the Wildcats exploded in the second half, Athens used the methodical running of Fuller to control the ball and build a 13-0 lead at intermission. But a failed onside kick gave Kennedale good field position and the undefeated team from south of Fort Worth scored on its first play from scrimmage on a 48-yard run by Wells that set the tone for the rest of the game.
Kennedale scored twice in the third quarter but Athens responded with another touchdown, this time by quarterback Brandon Boyd on a keeper to enter the final quarter with a 19-14 advantage. That score was set up when Zach Carson recovered a Wells fumble.
But then the dam broke as Kennedale seemed to score at will. The Wildcats scored three touchdowns in the span of just over a minute in the fourth quarter.
Fuller, a 5-10, 210-pound powerhouse who reminds some of Earl Campbell because of an impressive quickness that complements his power, carried the ball 23 times in the opening half for 126 yards. Most of those yards, again mindful of Campbell from his Heisman days at Texas, came after being hit by a Kennedale defender.
Playing his final game, Fuller finished his career as the all-time leading rusher for Athens.
Class 4A Division I Area Playoffs
Kennedale 47, Athens 26
Athens 6 7 6 7 - 26
Kennedale 0 0 14 33 - 47
ATH-Logan Fuller 15 run (kick fail), 1:11.
ATH-L. Fuller 2 run (Oscar Rios kick), 1:47.
KEN-Dailyn Wells 48 run (Jase Zeller kick) 11:52.
KEN-Kaiser McGlothen 54 run (Zeller kick) 8:55.
ATH-Brandon Boyd 11 run (kick fail) 2:54.
KEN-DJ Kirven 2 run (run fail) 10:44.
KEN-Wells 66 run (kick fail) 8:54.
ATH-L. Fuller 10 run (Rios kick) 5:44.
KEN-Wells 73 run (kick fail) 4:54.
KEN-Wells 37 run (Kirvan run) 1:40.