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FROM THE PRESS BOX: POSTSEASON PROGNOSTICATION (2020-10-30)

Postseason football is upon us, and only three of the six Bradford County football teams — Athens, Canton, and Troy — qualified in a season that sees fewer teams in the playoffs because of concerns surrounding the on-going pandemic.

The only other NTL teams to make the postseason are South Williamsport and Muncy, who will both be facing league foes.

Troy will be home tonight against South Williamsport, while Canton hosts Muncy in the Class A Championship game for the third consecutive year tomorrow afternoon, and Athens makes the long trip South to Danville Saturday.

The three Bradford County teams have a combined record of 12-2, with Troy’s and Athens’ loss each coming at the hands of Canton — both on their home fields.

There were three perfect weeks in Week 8, with myself, The Mick, and Country Bob all posting 6-0 marks. Little Red’s choice of Montgomery to beat Athens was the lone misfire of the week. The overall standing have The Mick and I have a combined 49-9 record on the season, eight games ahead of the tandem of Little Red and Country Bob, who have a 41-17 record.

Individually, The Mick leads the pack at 26-3, while Birney is 23-6, Little Red is 21-8, and Country Bob is 19-10.

FRIDAY
3-South Williamsport (4-1) at 2-Troy (4-1), 7 p.m.:
The Trojans blanked North Penn-Mansfield, 21-0, last week, while the Mountains topped Towanda, 48-22.

Troy can run the football as evidenced by Caleb Binford (135.2 yards per game) and Damian Landon (113.8) average more than 100 yards per game.

South Williamsport has also shown the ability to run the ball with Zach Miller averaging 136.2 yards per game.

The only common opponent for the two was Towanda. The Trojans dominated in a 35-0 win, while the Mounties outscored the Black Knights, 48-22.

Prediction: Athens had its way up front with the Mounties. Troy’s offensive line is bigger and more experienced. I expect big nights from big-play Binford and Landon. … TROY 48, SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT 12.
THE MICK:
Troy 28, South Williamsport 7. … LITTLE RED: Troy 42, South Williamsport 13, … COUNTRY BOB: Troy 36, South Williamsport 7.

4-Line Mountain (4-1) at 1-Southern Columbia (7-0), 7 p.m.: The Eagles handed Newport its first loss of the season last Friday in a 44-21 decision, while the powerhouse Tigers won their 55-game overall, and 88th consecutive in the regular season in a 52-3 rout of Central Columbia.

The Tiger win streak dates back to a 31-27 loss to Ligonier Valley in the state semifinals in 2016.

Southern Columbia has outscored its opponents by an average of 51.3 to 6.3 this season, and has allowed more than 7 points in one game — a 50-20 win over Loyalsock. (The Tigers led Loyalsock 44-0 at the half.)

Line Mountain’s lone loss was a 35-28 season-opening setback at Camp Hill. The Eagles have scored an average of 42.6 point per game, but they’ve allowed an average of 23.6.

Prediction: Gavin Garcia has been a machine, both running the ball and catching it out of the backfield, and Wes Barnes has been a very good complimentary back The question here isn’t, will Southern Columbia win? Instead, it’s by how much will the Tigers win? … SOUTHERN COLUMBIA 66, LINE MOUNTAIN 12.
THE MICK: Southern Columbia 99, Line Mountain 0. … LITTLE RED: Southern Columbia 52, Line Mountain 0. … COUNTRY BOB: Southern Columbia 56, Line Mountain 0.

SATURDAY
3-Athens (5-1) at 2-Danville (6-1), 1 p.m.:
The Wildcats steamrolled Montgomery, 35-7, last week, while the Ironmen received a forfeit from Mount Carmel, which canceled its season early this month due to a hazing incident.

Through no fault of their own, due to scheduling problems created by the Covid-19 pandemic, Athens was not able to play its normal schedule, playing four Class AA teams and two Class A squads, while Danville played two Class AAAA, teams two AAA teams, and three AA teams. The advantage for tougher schedule played, definitely goes to the Ironmen.

Danville’s lone loss was a respectable 42-28 defeat at the hands of state-ranked, top-seeded, and unbeaten Montoursville, which won its other five games by an average of 41.2 points.

Prediction: The Wildcats are a much-improved team, and this season is a good building block for a slew of young and talented players that will return next year, but … DANVILLE 35, ATHENS 7.
THE MICK: Danville 45, Athens 13. … LITTLE RED: Danville 35, Athens 6. COUNTRY BOB: Danville 21, Athens 13.

2-Muncy (6-1) at 1-Canton (4-0), 1 p.m.: The Warriors rolled to a 39-13 win over Wellsboro last Friday, while the Indians dismantled Wyalusing, 42-0.

Just two weeks ago, these two teams played to a scoreless halftime tie, only to see Canton dominate the second half with its ground game en route to a 19-0 win.

Muncy was reportedly without four starters in the first meeting, and Canton will be without two in tonight’s match-up.

If sophomore running back Riley Parker does not play tonight, the load will fall on to the shoulders of sophomore Hayden Ward, as well as, the feet and arm of junior Cooper Kitchen — both capable of carrying that load.

Prediction: This is the third straight year, these two teams match up at Miller A. Moyer Field for the Class A title. Canton has won all three regular-season games, but lost in the championship game in each of the last two years. With Canton absent two starters and the Indians back at full strength, my head tells me to take Muncy, but for some reason I find it hard to bet against this team. … CANTON 13, MUNCY 8.
THE MICK:
Muncy 14, Canton 13. … LITTLE RED: Canton 35, Muncy 12. … COUNTRY BOB: Canton 20, Muncy 16.

4-Loyalsock (4-2) at 1-Montoursville (7-0), 1 p.m.:  The Warriors are coming off a 71-0 shellacking of Warrior Run last Friday, while the Lancers topped Lewisburg, 21-14.

State-ranked and unbeaten Montoursville won their previous meeting two weeks ago, 23-12, a fry cry from its 41.8 points average of victory in its other five contests.

The Warriors are a physical football that is averaging 275.3 yards per game on the ground, and mixing in another 120.7 yards per game through the air.

Loyalsock’s two losses came at the hands of Southern Columbia (50-20) — its only win of less than 35 points this season — and to Montoursville.

Prediction: Montoursville nearly lost this game due to a school shutdown Covid-19 case in the district,but received a last-minute reprieve. I would be surprised if the Warriors don’t answer the call and force their school board to make another decision on letting their teams play. … MONTOURSVILLE 26, LOYALSOCK 13.
THE MICK:
Montoursville 38, Loyalsock 18. … LITTLE RED: Montoursville 31, Loyalsock 13. … COUNTRY BOB: Montoursville 28, Loyalsock 7

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