RUSK — Rusk led 1-0 after two complete, but Athens exploded for six runs in the top of third, which proved too large of deficit for Rusk (16-14) to overcome.
Jadarian Skinner had three hits to pace Rusk, with Drew Walley collecting a pair of hits and an RBI.
Reece Goldsberry pitched in two safeties for the Eagles.
Both Rusk and Athens have first round byes in the state playoffs after winning their respective districts.
The Eagles and the Hornets will open Class 3A, Region III Area play against opponents to be determined late next week.