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ON TAP TODAY: ATHENS HOSTS ANOTHER EDITION OF MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL; SAYRE GIRLS GAME POSTPONED DUE TO COVID (2020-10-12)

Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY — Athens presents an encore edition of Monday Night Football tonight with Canton invading Alumni Stadium.

The Lady Wildcats are also in action at Wyalusing in a key NTL soccer match.

The Sayre girls, however, had their game at NP-Mansfield postponed due to a positive Covid-19 test of a staff member at the Snyder Elementary School. A decision on Sayre’s course of action as a school district, which will impact extra-curricular activities will be made soon.

FOOTBALL
Canton (1-0) at Athens (3-0), 7 p.m. @ Alumni Stadium:
The Wildcats are coming off a 44-14 win over Towanda last Monday, while the Warriors have been off since a come-from-behind, 34-28, overtime win over Troy on Sept. 11.

WHEN CANTON HAS THE BALL
The Warriors scored two TDS in the final four minutes to force overtime in its Week 1 win over Troy, then junior QB Cooper Kitchen, who completed 15 of 30 passes for 165 yards and three TDs, scored on a 5-yard TD run in overtime for the win.

Senior Tim Ward, who battled back from cancer, only to tear his ACL in the preseason, suited up and played the first half against Troy before aggravating the injury. He is out for the season.

“Offensively, they’re trying to find their way … they have a lot of athletes, and a big receiver target in Ben Knapp.,” said Young. “It’s a shame Timmy (Ward) is hurt. I feel horrible for him.

“Even without Timmy Ward, they are a tough bunch,” added Young.

The Warriors ran for just 84 yards in their win over Troy.

“They’ve been really, really spread. I think we might see more of a pro-style offense with Timmy (Ward) not playing,” said Young. “They’ll still be pretty spread out on the field.

“They have a young quarterback in Cooper Kitchen, and they have a bunch of athlete they can use,” he added. “Their primary target now is the big tight end (Ben Knapp).”

Knapp, who will be a preferred walk-on at Penn State next year, is a 6-7 tight end. He had three receptions for 52 yards and a TD last week.

“We’re going to have sick a bunch of little gnats after him,” laughed Young. “We definitely don’t have the size to match up with him. We’re just going to have to be careful, and pay attention where he’s at because they do move him around.

“They even try to get him the ball quick a little bit,” added Young. “He’s a big target, and he’s athletic. He’s definitely a difference-maker.”

WHEN ATHENS HAS THE BALL
The Warriors held Troy, which averaged an obscene 352.1 yards per game on the ground, to 183 yards. They held junior Damien Landon, who had 2,232 yards in 2019, to 79 yards.

“Defensively, they are all over the field,” said Young. “They are going to put a ton of heat on us up front.

“We’re going to see straight man, and they are going to be in our face,” the noted. “It doesn’t really matter if they have, four, five, or six guys on the line defensively, they’re still pretty much doing the same thing — bringing a lot of heat, and daring you to beat them.

“Our pass protection has to be ready to go, and our running game has to be better,” he added. “We have to be able to run the ball, and try to attack their pressure.”

GIRLS SOCCER
Athens (7-0-1) at Wyalusing (6-2), 4 p.m.:
The Lady Wildcats are coming off a big 2-1 win over Wellsboro Thursday, while the Lady Rams won Towanda, 1-0, Saturday.

Athens sits atop the NTL standings, one-game ahead of Wellsboro. Wyalusing is in the third place.

Earlier this season, Athens won a 1-0 decision at Wyalusing.

Sayre at NP-Mansfield … PPD.

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