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FROM THE PRESS BOX: PART I OF WEEKLY PIGSKIN PROGNOSTICATIONS (2021-09-24)

Week 5 of the high school football season in Pa. is set to go off with just one hiccup, while Week 3 in New York has seen games postponed and shuffled to different dates due to Covid, injuries, and a shortage of game officials.

In District 4, the South Williamsport-Montgomery game will be played Monday night, and that’s the only real change we’ve seen to this point.

In New York, the SVEC-Newfield 8-man game has been postponed due to Covid, and Notre Dame was forced to cancel its game at Lansing due to a shortage of healthy players.

Waverly lost its game Friday against Section III’s Cato-Meridian, but was able to add Section V Geneva for Saturday night, while Tioga had its game Saturday at Walton shifted to Monday at Sidney due to Covid protocols in Walton.

In the pigskin prognostication battle, all four pickers posted very good weeks, but Little Red was a perfect 10-0 to stretch his lead over the field. The Mick and I were 9-1, and Country Bob was 8-2.

Little Red improves to 29-5 on the season, while The Mick is 4 games back at 25-9, I have a 24-10 record, and Country Bob brings up the rear at 22-12.

(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.)

FRIDAY
Wyalusing (1-3 overall, 0-2 NTL Large) at Athens (2-2, 1-1), 7 p.m. @ Alumni Stadium:
The Wildcats are coming off a 7-0 non-divisional home loss to South Williamsport, while the Rams were hammered, 55-20, by unbeaten Canton.

The Wildcats have struggled against offensively against physical teams, but have averaged nearly 40 points per game against struggling teams.

The Rams have been outscored by an average of 41.7 to 15.3 in their three losses, since a season-opening, 64-0, win over hapless Montrose.

Prediction: Even in defeat, the Athens defense has been very good, especially considering its been on the field a lot. … The Wildcat athletes should be able to work in space tonight, which should result in points. The Rams are dangerous, too, however, and are capable of big plays. … ATHENS 37, WYALUSING 19.
Little Red: Athens 42, Wyalusing 13
The Mick: Athens 35, Wyalusing 12
Country Bob: Athens 21, Wyalusing 14

Sayre (3-1, 2-1 NTL Small) at Muncy (3-1, 2-0), 7 p.m.: The Redskins are coming off a convincing, 36-16, win at Montgomery, while the Indians topped a pesky Cowanesque Valley, 42-21.

Sayre should be back at full strength, and they will need to be against one of the best teams in the NTL.

Muncy is good up front, has good skill players, and can score on the ground and through the air.

Prediction: We know the Redskins can score, but it will face the best defense it’s seen this year. …. In order to win this game, Sayre will have to be at its best up front against an experienced line. … MUNCY 34, SAYRE 26.
Little Red: Muncy 27, Sayre 20
The Mick: Muncy 16, Sayre 14
Country Bob: Muncy 21, Sayre 20

Towanda (0-4) at North Penn-Mansfield (1-3), 7 p.m.:
The Black Knights have been outscored 175-17 this season. The Panthers own a win over Wyalusing, but have been outscored 133-14 in their three losses.

Prediction: Both teams are young, but NP-M has been more competitive, and shown the ability to score. … NP-M 28, TOWANDA 7.
Little Red: NP-M 21, Towanda 6
The Mick: NP-M 30, Towanda 12
Country Bob: NP-M 42, Towanda 0

Northwest Area at Canton (4-0), 7 p.m. @ Miller A. Moyer Field: The Warriors have been simply dominant, outscoring their foes by an average of 44 to 8.5, while the Rangers have dropped back-to-back decisions to Montgomery and Cowanesque Valley.

Prediction: Canton can score with its punishing ground game, or through the air with the big play. I expect to see some of both tonight. … CANTON 48, NORTHWEST AREA 13.
Little Red: Canton 27, Northwest Area 0
The Mick: Canton 54 Northwest Area 6
Country Bob: Canton 42, Northwest Area 0

Elmira (1-1) at Owego (1-1), 7 p.m.: The Indians are coming off a 20-8 win over hapless Johnson City, while the Express dropped a 17-14 decision at Horseheads.

Prediction: Elmira is a pretty solid team, while Owego is very young. … ELMIRA 41, OWEGO 6.
Little Red: Elmira 37, Owego 6
The Mick: Elmira 55, Owego 0
Country Bob: Elmira 49, Owego 0

PART II — Saturday and Monday’s games will be posted Monday.

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