FROM THE PRESS BOX: WEEK 2 PICKS — THOUGHTS ON WEEK 1, AND MORE
The high school football season rolls on, and in this crazy semblance of a season, Sayre has a bye, leaving Athens as the only Valley team in action in Week 2.
The marquee match-ups of the week includes a rivalry game — The Morton F. Jones Trophy Game — as Wellsboro hosts North Penn-Mansfield, and an old-school NTL rivalry with Athens on the road at Canton.
I was 3-1 in my Week 1 picks, with Canton’s epic fourth-quarrier comeback win over Troy spoiling perfection. The Mick was also 3-1, with Towanda's loss to Wyalusing spoiling his bid for 4-0.
Country Bob and Little Red both went 2-2.
Without further ado, our Week 2 picks:Athens (1-0) at Canton (1-0), 7 p.m. @ Miller A. Moyer Field:
The Wildcats are coming off a hard-fought, 10-7, win over arch-rival Sayre in the Rusty Rail game, while Canton erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to top Troy, 34-28, in overtime in the Old Shoe game.
Both teams struggled to run the ball in Week 1, with Canton rushing for 84 yards, and Athens for just 58. Warrior junior QB Cooper Kitchen threw for 165 yards and three TDs in Week 1, while Wildcat sophomore Mason Lister threw for 160 yards and one TD.
Defensively, Athens allowed 178 yards rushing against the Redskins, while Canton gave up 183 yards — well below Troy’s average of 352.1 yards in 2019, to Troy’s high-powered ground game.Prediction:
On paper, the Week 1 stats for these two teams appear fairly equal, but keep in mind Troy returned a great deal of talent from its prolific offense, while Sayre is re-tooling its offense. … The key to this game will be in the trenches; and the big questions are: which team will establish the run, and which QB will have time to throw? … CANTON 22, ATHENS 7.THE MICK:
Canton 32, Athens 14. … COUNTRY BOB:
Canton 42, Athens 13. … LITTLE RED:
Canton 35, Athens 7.North Penn-Mansfield (0-0) at Wellsboro, 7 p.m. @ Wellsboro Community Athletic Complex:
The Green Hornets are coming off a 48-6 win at Cowanesque Valley in Week 1, while the Panthers open the 2020 season against their arch-rival.
Wellsboro has a scrimmage and a game under its belt, while NP-M was not allowed to practice doing the summer, and got a late start to the season, which resulted in them not having enough practices to scrimmage.
The Hornets are young, but athletic. They were able to run the ball, and throw the ball effectively against an under-manned CV in Week 1.Prediction:
The Panthers have a wealth of talent, and weapons all over the field, but it will be interesting to see if they can shake off the rust and win a game in their first live action. It will be especially tough against a rival that knows them very well. … WELLSBORO 14, NP-M 12.THE MICK:
NPM 28, Wellsboro 20. … COUNTRY BOB:
NP-M 27, Wellsboro 13. … LITTLE RED:
NP-M 28, Wellsboro 0.
Cow. Valley (0-1) at Wyalusing (1-0), 7 p.m. at Ray Raffin Field:
The Rams are coming off a 25-0 whitewashing of Towanda in the Bronze Helmet game in Week 1, while the Indians were thumped, 48-6, by Wellsboro.
Wyalusing has a dangerous passing game with QB Mitchell Knapp, and a pair of receivers in Kashawn Cameron and Isiah Way.
The Rams defense, which allowed 40-plus points per game in 2019, put together a strong outing in pitching a shutout at Towanda.Prediction:
There’s little doubt, the Rams are an improved team in 2020, and it’s doubtful they’ll be tested tonight. … CV has some very good athletes, but lacks the numbers and depths to hang with the Large School teams on a regular basis. … WYALUSING 41, CV 0.
Wyalusing 27, CV 6. … COUNTRY BOB:
Wyalusing 34, CV 6. … LITTLE RED:
Wyalusing 41, CV 0.Troy (0-1) at Towanda (0-1), 7 p.m. @ Endless Mountains Sports Complex:
The Trojans suffered a heart-breaking, 34-28, loss to Canton in the Old Shoe game last week, while the Black Knights were blanked, 25-0, by Wyalusing in the Bronze Helmet game.
Troy’s vaunted ground game was held to 183 yards last week, well below its 2019 average of 352.1 yards per game. And junior Damien Landon, who rushed for 2,232, was limited to just 79 yards.
The Black Knights struggled offensively, especially after the injury early in the first quarter to new QB Mason Johnson.Prediction:
I expect the Black Knights to see a heavy dose of Landon tonight. … TROY 41, TOWANDA 6.
THE MICK: Troy 44, Towanda 7. … COUNTRY BOB: Troy 48, Towanda 0. … LITTLE RED: Troy 35, Towanda 6.
The opening week of the fall season was chock full of Sayre-Athens match-ups.
The Athens girls blanked Sayre, 5-0, on the soccer pitch, with all five goals coming from seniors Emma Roe and Hannah Blackman.
The Lady Wildcats have some experienced veteran leadership, but they’ll have rely on several freshmen if hey want to win their ninth consecutive NTL title.
Athens tied Wellsboro, 1-1, Thursday. It will be interesting to see how much progression the Lady Wildcats make by the time these two teams meet again at Athens on Oct. 8.
The Lady Redskins hung tough against Athens, but an injury to standout Roz Haney late in the first half, set he stage for for Athens pulling away in the second half.
Without the elder Haney line-up Thursday, Sayre, which won just one game in 2019, pulled out a 4-3 win over NEB, capped by a penalty kick by freshman Kendra Merrill.
Sayre was poised for a big turn-around in 2020, and will still be greatly improved, but if Roz Haney is not able to play this season, the postseason (if there is one) is a long shot.
The Athens boys are off to a 2-0 start — both 2-0 wins; the first against a young Troy team, and the second against a re-building Sayre squad.
The Wildcats have an experienced defense, and it appears it will need to rely on it until the offense finds its groove.
The Sayre boys, which won just three games in 2019, opened the season Tuesday with an 8-3 win over Towanda. Two of its three wins last year were over Towanda.
The real sign of Sayre’s improvement was the 2-0 loss to Athens. Last year, the Redskins lost 10-0.
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