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FROM THE PRESS BOX: WEEK 3 PICKS — A FULL SLATE OF FOOTBALL (2021-09-10)

The New York State football season shifts into high gear this weekend, while teams South of the Border play their third game of the season.

After Week 2, there’s no place to go but up for the VSR band of pigskin-pickers. In the history of high school football prognostication, our picks in Week 2 may have been the worst ever. I went 2-4 — my worst week in the 13 years of doing this. My three guest pickers also went 2-4.

Mick and Little Red lead the season standings at 9-4, while I have an 8-5 record, and Country Bob is 7-6.

Aside from the Wellsboro game, which has been canceled due to a Covid-19 outbreak, we have a full slate of games from around the NTL and IAC.

(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.)

WEEK 3
Owego at Waverly (1-0), 7 p.m. @ Memorial Stadium:
The Wolverines are coming off a 31-7 win over Class East Syracuse Minoa, while the Indians open the 2021 season tonight.

Waverly’s game clicked for 279 yards against an athletic ESM team in Week 1. Sophomore QB Joey Tomasso displayed a strong and accurate arm, and sophomore slotback Jay Pipher showed he’s going to be a major threat.

Owego graduated 22 seniors from its 35-man spring roster, including seven two-way linemen. Coach Steve Virkler has done a very good job with this program, but he really has his work cut out for him this year.

Prediction: The Wolverine defense did not allow a TD in Week 1, and should keep a young Owego offense on its heels. … Waverly coach Jason Miller said prior to last week’s game that any team playing a Week Zero game would have a big advantage over teams that didn’t. I believe him. … WAVERLY 28, OWEGO 7.
Little Red: Waverly 27, Owego 6
The Mick: Waverly 21, Owego 20
Country Bob: Waverly 20, Owego 12

CMVT (0-2 overall, 0-1 NTL Small) at Sayre (1-1, 0-1), 7 p.m. @ Lockhart Street Bowl: The Redskins are coming off a 26-19 loss at Cowanesque Valley, while the Rams were hammered, 58-0, by state-ranked Muncy.

The Redskins, who were missing 14 players at CV due to Covid quarantine, have the majority of those players back this week, but will be missing a couple skill-position players.

CMVT has been outscored 119-6 in its two losses.

Prediction: Even with a depleted line, Redskin QB Brayden Horton threw for 236 yards at CV. With the line nearing full strength, the Redskins should be able to run the ball this week, too. … SAYRE 46, CMVT 6
Little Red: Sayre 47, CMVT 0
The Mick: Sayre 28, CMVT 6
Country Bob: Sayre 56, CMVT 0

Athens (1-1, 0-1 NTL Large) at Towanda (0-2, 0-1), 7 p.m. @ Endless Mts. Sports Complex: The Wildcats dropped a hard-hitting, 13-0, decision to Troy Friday, while the Black Knights were thumped, 52-0, at Canton.

Despite the loss, Athens showed a toughness in Week 2 that could carry them forward. Offensively, they moved the ball, but made some critical mistakes at inopportune times.

Towanda has done little on either side of the ball this season, and has been outscored 98-9 in its two games.

Prediction: The Wildcat offense should click on all cylinders tonight. … ATHENS 49, TOWANDA 7.
Little Red: Athens 34, Towanda 0
The Mick: Athens 45, Towanda 13
Country Bob: Athens 49, Towanda 6

Tioga at Sidney, 7 p.m.: The Tigers are coming off a 5-1 spring season, while the Warriors were 3-3 in a season that saw them score 44.3 points per game, and allow 47.2 points.

Sidney plays a no-huddle spread offense, and likes to put the ball in the air, which means the pressure tonight will be on the Tioga defense. It also means the Tiger offense will get more opportunities to put points on the board.

Sophomore QB Caden Bellis may be directing the Tiger offense, but he still has senior tailback Emmett Wood to lean on if the game is close.

Prediction: Sidney gave up 52-plus points in four of its spring game, which does not bode well against a Tioga offense, which could be historically productive. … TIOGA 66, SIDNEY 20.
Little Red: Tioga 34, Sidney 0
The Mick: Tioga 44, Sidney 0
Country Bob: Tioga 42, Sidney 0

Canton (2-0)  at South Williamsport (1-1), 7 p.m.:
The Warriors are coming off a 52-0 win over Towanda Friday, while the Mounties dropped a 17-7 decision at Wellsboro.

Prediction: This should be a physical battle. The difference could be Canton’s ability to throw the ball. … CANTON 25, SOUTH 13.
Little Red: Canton 28, South 14
The Mick: Canton 30, South 16
Country Bob: Canton 28, South 10

Northwest Area (1-1) at Cowanesque Valley (1-1), 7 p.m.: The Indians are coming off a 26-19 win over Sayre Saturday, while Northwest Area dropped a 27-14 decision at Montgomery.

This is not your father’s CV team. They can run the ball with freshman Tim Freeman, and throw the ball with QB Jacob Schmitt.

Prediction: CV played South Williamsport tough for one half, but were worn down by the Mounties physical ground game. It could be more of the same tonight. … NORTHWEST 32, CV 20.
Little Red: Northwest Area 31, CV 13
The Mick: Northwest Area 30, CV 14
Country Bob: Northwest 32, CV 15

North Penn-Mansfield at Bald Eagle Area (1-1), 7 p.m.: The Panthers are coming off a come-from-behind, 28-18, win over Wyalusing in Week 2, while the Bald Eagles, who beat Troy 20-0 in Week 1, dropped a 21-0 decision at Clearfield.

Prediction: Bald Eagle Area makes it 2-0 against the NTL: Bald Eagle 26, NP-M 7.
Little Red: Bald Eagle 26, NP-M 13
The Mick: Bald Eagle 40, NP-M 13
Country Bob: Bald Eagle 28, NP-M 7

Central Columbia (1-1) at Troy (1-1), 7 p.m.: The Trojans are coming off a 13-0 win at Athens in Week 2, while the BlueJays dropped a 28-0 decision at Mifflinburg.

Prediction: This should be another physical battle. … CC 14, TROY 13.
Little Red: Troy 20, CC 7
The Mick: CC 21, Troy 7
Country Bob: Troy 24, CC 16

SATURDAY
Harpursville/Afton at Newark Valley, 1:30 p.m.:
The Cardinals graduated 20 seniors, which is a boatload for any team, much less a Class D program, while the Hornets return a solid core group from a 3-1 spring season.

The Cardinals return QB Mikey Wandell and a few running backs, including Landon Spoonhower, as well as a couple linemen.

Prediction: The Cardinals’ coaching staff is top-notch, and their kids are use to winning, but this may be the best Hornet team in several years. … NEWARK VALLEY 21, HARPURSVILLE / AFTON 20.
Little Red: H / A 21, Newark Valley 6
The Mick: Newark Valley 33, H / A 0
Country Bob: Newark Valley 36, H / A 0

8-MAN FOOTBALL
SATURDAY
SVEC at Whitney Point, 1:30 p.m.
The Eagles are coming off a 4-0 season in which they averaged 54.4 points per game, while allowing 35.8 points. Whitney Point was 0-5 in the spring 11-man season.

Prediction: SVEC returns several key players, while Whitney Point will be getting its first taste of 8-man football. … SVEC 55, WHITNEY POINT 32.
Little Red: SVEC 28, Whitney Point 6
The Mick: SVEC 28, Whitney Point 27
Country Bob: Whitney Point 30, SVEC 12

Trumansburg at Notre Dame, 7 p.m.: The Crusaders are coming off a 1-2 season in the spring, while the Blue Raiders were 2-3. Trumansburg rolled to a 44-8 win over Notre Dame last spring.

Prediction: The Crusaders have a new coach, and Mike Johnston Sr. is a good one. They also have athletes. … NOTRE DAME 42, TRUMANSBURG 35.
Little Red: Trumansburg 34, Notre Dame 6
The Mick: Notre Dame 42, Trumansburg 35
Country Bob: Notre Dame 28, Trumansburg 20




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