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FROM THE PRESS BOX: WEEK 2 PICKS — ATHENS, SAYRE PLAY DIVISIONAL FOES, WAVERLY OPENS SEASON (2021-09-03)

Athens and Sayre are coming off big wins over non-league opponents in Week 1, and will face divisional foes this weekend, while Waverly opens its season at home tonight.

The Wildcats face a big test against Troy in a key early-season NTL Large School match-up at Alumni Stadium tonight. while Sayre travels to Westfield to take on an improved Cowanesque Valley squad Saturday night.

The Wolverines host Class A East Syracuse Minoa out of Section III at Memorial Stadium tonight at 6 p.m.

My guest prognosticators — The Mick, Country Bob, and Little Red — return this season. I’ve used pseudonyms to protect the innocent, but I will tell you that all three are either current or former coaches in the Valley, and all three are Valley grads.

In Week 1, The Mick and Little Red post perfect 7-0 record, while I stumbled with my Troy pick and finished 6-1. Country Bob was 5-2.

WEEK 2
Troy (0-1) at Athens (1-0), 7 p.m. @ Alumni Stadium:
The Wildcats are coming off a 44-6 win over Hanover last Friday, while Troy was blanked by Bald Eagle Area.

The Athens offensive and defensive fronts played extremely well in its win over Hanover last week, but it will face a much, much bigger test tonight against Troy in the trenches. The Trojans are led by all-everything, two-way lineman Mason Imbt, who stands 6-3 and weighs in at 300 pounds.

Despite its size up front, the Trojans did not light up the scoreboard against Bald Eagle Area in a 20-0 loss. They threw for just 45 yards.

The Wildcats displayed a well-balanced offense, but may need to rely more on its passing game tonight.

Prediction: It’s simple: Can Athens establish its run game, and / or protect junior QB Mason Lister? The Trojans will come after the QB, so the potential for the big play will be there for the Wildcats. … The Trojans were able to move the ball on the ground in Week 1, they just couldn’t punch it in. … TROY 26, ATHENS 24.
The Mick: Athens 24, Troy 14
Lil Red: Athens 23, Troy 3
Country Bob: Athens 27, Troy 12

East Syracuse Minoa at Waverly, 6 p.m. @ Memorial Stadium:
Jason Miller once again shows he’s not afraid to play bigger schools as the Class C Wolverines host Class A East Syracuse Minoa out of Section III tonight.

The Wolverines return a slew of skill-position players from a 1-4 spring season, but they are still fairly young.

The Spartans also return a host of skill players returning, led by QB Tyler Bell, from a 3-2 spring season.

The difference is up front. ESM will have the advantage in both size and experience.

Prediction: I don’t know much about ESM, but I do know they allowed 86 points in a season-ending loss to Indian River in the spring, so the Waverly offense could put up some points. … ESM likes to put the ball in the air, and so does Waverly, so if you’re going to the game bring some money for the concession stand because you could be there a while. … ESM 37, WAVERLY 24.
The Mick: ESM 27, Waverly 14
Lil Red: Waverly 20, ESM 19
Country Bob: ESM 35, Waverly12

Towanda (0-1) at Canton, 7 p.n. @ Miller A. Moyer Field: The Warriors are coming off an impressive, 48-7, win over North Penn-Mansfield Saturday, while the Black Knights were thumped, 46-9, at Sayre Friday.

Prediction: Canton can run the ball and throw the ball, and Towanda struggled to stop both in Week 1. The Warriors also feature a physical and fast defense, while the Black Knights have an inexperience offense trying to find its footing. It doesn’t look good for Towanda. … CANTON 47, TOWANDA 0.
The Mick: Canton 54, Towanda 6
Lil Red: Canton 44, Towanda 7
Country Bob: Canton 42, Towanda 6

Wyalusing (1-0) at North Penn-Mansfield (0-1), 7 p.m.: The Rams are coming off a 64-0 destruction of under-manned Montrose Friday, while the Panthers were throttled, 48-7, by Canton on Saturday.

Prediction: Wyalusing’s offense scored at will, and senior dynamo Kashawn Cameron did not play. He’s expected to play tonight, which adds another dimension to the Ram offense. … NPM coach Tom Dickinson has a long history of molding young teams into competitive teams. He has a very young an inexperienced team this year. … WYALUSING 27, NPM 13.
The Mick: North Penn 14, Wyalusing 13
Lil Red: Wyalusing 33, North Penn 14
Country Bob: Wyalusing 27, North Penn 14

South Williamsport (1-0) at Wellsboro (0-1), 7 p.m.: The Hornets are coming off a 42-21 loss to powerhouse Montoursville Friday, while the Mounties won a 41-0 two-day marathon over Cowanesque Valley.

Prediction: The Mounties ran for 327 yards and threw for 93 more in their win over CV, while Wellsboro gave up 241 on the ground and 178 through the air to Montoursville. Considering the competition, I’m not sure what to make of it. … The Hornets scored three TDs from long range (27, 85 and 65 yards) in Week 1, so the big-play potential is there. … SOUTH 22, WELLSBORO 21.
The Mick:South Williamsport 44, Wellsboro 0
Lil Red: South Williamsport 32, Wellsboro 20
Country Bob: Wellsboro 18, South Williamsport 12

SATURDAY
Sayre (1-0) at Cowanesque Valley (0-1), 7 p.m.:
The Redskins are coming off a 46-9, while the Indians dropped a 41-0 decision to state-ranked South Williamsport in a game that started Friday, and finished Monday.

Sayre displayed a balanced offense, led by dual-threat senior QB Brayden Horton, while CV played a good first half and trailed just 13-0 to South at the intermission.

This game was canceled Monday due to a Covid exposure at Sayre, but was back on the schedule soon after when Sayre administrators sorted through who was actually exposed. That said, the Redskins will still be without as many as 14 players on Saturday.

Prediction: Cowanesque Valley is much-improved, but this Sayre team is very talented. Playing short-handed will obviously hinder the Redskins, but I think they still have enough. … SAYRE 28, CV 20.
The Mick: Sayre 21, CV 14
Lil Red: Sayre 44, CV 0
Country Bob: Sayre 46, CV 6

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