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FROM THE PRESS BOX: MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL AT ATHENS ONLY GAME IN TOWN IN WEEK 5 (2020-10-09)

There are no football games in the Valley this weekend, but Athens will host Monday Night Football at Alumni Stadium for the second straight week.

The unbeaten Wildcats, at 3-0, will host the NTL Large School preseason favorite Canton Warriors, who are 1-0 and have been off since a Week 1 (Sept. 18) win over Troy due to Covid-19 cases in the school district.

Other games in the NTL this weekend include Towanda at Wellsboro, North Penn at CV, and Muncy at Northwest.

Week 4 was a big week for the tag-team tandem of Birney and The Mick, which went 6-2 and added three games to its lead. They have a record  of 22-6, while Little Red (2-2 in Week 4) and Country Bob (1-3) are six games back at 16-12.

Individually, The Mick is 13-1, while Birney is 9-5, Little Red is 9-5, and Country Bob is 7-7.

FRIDAY
Towanda (0-3) at Wellsboro (1-1), 7 p.m.:
The Black Knights dropped a 44-14 decision at Athens Monday night, while the Green Hornets have been off a 17-14 loss to North Penn in Week 2.

Towanda finally found the end zone in Week 3 against Athens, but committed five costly turnovers that were the difference in the game.

Wellsboro has been off since Sept. 18, with games against Troy and Canton postponed due to Covid-19 cases in those school districts.

Prediction: I would guess Wellsboro is itching for a fight after having two games postponed, and the young Black Knights may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. … WELLSBORO 48, TOWANDA 6.
The Mick:
Wellsboro 35, Towanda 7. … Little Red: Wellsboro 27, Towanda 6. … Country Bob: Wellsboro 45, Towanda 0.

North Penn (1-1) at Cowanesque Valley (0-4), 7 p.m.: The Panthers dropped a 34-21 decision to Troy on Sept. 25, while the Indians lost 32-14 to non-league foe Brockway last Friday.

North Penn features an explosive offense, and CV has given up a bunch of big plays this season.

Prediction: There’s no reason to think anything will change. … NORTH PENN 44, CV 6.
The Mick: North Penn 44, CV 14. … Little Red: North Penn 42, CV 6. … Country Bob: North Penn 49, CV 6.

Muncy (4-0) at Northwest (3-1), 7 p.m.: The Indians are coming off a 34-17 win at Montgomery last Friday while Northwest lost 21-14 to South Williamsport.

This could be the “Game of the Week” in the NTL.

Muncy has shown it can light up the scoreboard, averaging 41 points per game, but it’s also allowing 23 points per game in its last three outings. Northwest, on the other hand, is only allowing 11 points per game, while scoring 28 points.

Prediction: The Indians are well-coached. They will run the ball until you stop them, then pop one over the top for a long gain or a TD as evidenced by the fact they’ve thrown 25 passes this season, and six are for scores. Muncy has a proven track record, and Northwest does not. … MUNCY 20, NORTHWEST 8.
The Mick: Muncy 33, Northwest 16. … Little Red: Muncy 22, Northwest 6. … Country Bob: Muncy 21, Northwest 12.

MONDAY
Canton (1-0) at Athens (3-0), 7 p.m. @ Alumni Stadium:
The Wildcats are coming off a 44-14 win over Towanda Monday, while the Warriors have been off since a come-from-behind Week 1 win over arch-rival Troy.

Offensively, Athens has been clicking. Sophomore QB Mason Lister is getting better and better, and junior receiver Karter Rude has become an impact player. The offensive line is also getting better with each game, and the ground game, behind junior Shayne Reid and sophomore Caleb NIchols, has benefitted.

That offensive line, however, will face its biggest test Monday against a stout Canton defensive unit, which likes to bing pressure.

Meanwhile, the Warrior offense has weapons all over the field, despite the loss of catalyst Timmy Ward to a season-ending knee injury. Big Ben Knapp, a 6-7 tight end, will be the Wildcat priority on defense, but he will have plenty of help.

Prediction: This is the biggest test the Wildcats will face in the regular season. The question is, will Canton be able to shake off the ring rust after three weeks of inactivity. My guess is Canton’s defense will keep it close, while its offense finds its rhythm. … CANTON 14, ATHENS 10.
The Mick: Canton 28, Athens 13. … Little Red: Canton 28, Athens 14. … Country Bob: Canton 24, Athens 14.

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