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FROM THE PRESS BOX: PROGNOSTICATORS UNANIMOUS ON WINS FOR THREE VALLEY TEAMS; SPLIT ON FOURTH (2021-10-08)

It’s Week 7 South of the Border, and Week 5 on the North side, and the big game of the weekend is tonight at Haggerty Field as Tioga, ranked No. 1 in the state in Class D, hosts arch-rival Newark Valley, ranked 14th, in a key divisional game.

Also tonight, Athens hosts NTL Large School rival North Penn, while Waverly is on the road at divisional rival Dryden Saturday night. Also Saturday night, Sayre hosts longtime NTL rival Troy for Homecoming.

(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.)

Last weekend was a pretty solid week for the pigskin pickers. I led the week with an 11-2 record, while Little Red and The Mick were 10-3, and Country Bob was 9-4. … On the season, Little Red remains atop the standings at 55-8, while The Mick and myself are 51-12, and Country Bob is 46-17.

State-ranked SVEC is on the shelf due to a Covid quarantine, but there are 10 games on the slate this weekend we’ll be picking.

Let’s start with the three Valley teams in action:

Newark Valley (3-1 overall, 2-1 Div. VI) at Tioga (4-0, 3-0), 7 p.m.: The Tigers are coming off a 55-0 demolition of Delhi, ranked 14th in the state at the time, while the Cardinals rolled to a 35-7 win over winless Dryden.

Newark Valley’s opened the season with a 42-33 setback against unbeaten Harpursvillle-Afton. Since then, they’ve outscored their opponents 161-32, but those opponents have a combined record of 2-9.

Tioga has rolled over its four opponents to the tune of 179-28, including wins over state-ranked Delhi and Watkins Glen / O-M.

Prediction: The Tigers offense (45 points per game) has garnered the spotlight, but their defense is allowing just 7 points per game. … Newark Valley’s offense has been productive all season, but the Cardinals gave up 42 points in its loss to Harpursville-Afton. Was that a product of it being the first game of the season, or a cause for concern for their fans tonight? … TIOGA 42, NEWARK VALLEY 20.
Little Red:
Tioga, 48, NV 0
The Mick: Tioga 35, NV 14
Country Bob: Tioga 35, NV 6.

North Penn (3-3, 2-2 NTL Large) at Athens (4-2, 2-1), 7 p.m.: The Wildcats are coming off a 50-0 win over Hughesville, while the Tigers topped Midd-West, 35-14.

Both of these teams have beaten mediocre or bad teams, Athens outscoring them 175-12 in four wins, while North Penn has a 97-39 edge in three wins.

The difference is Athens has been outscored 19-0 in its two losses to Troy and South Williamsport, while North Penn has been steamrolled by Canton, Troy, and Bald Eagle Area to the tune of 133-14.

Prediction: This was one of the best rivalries in the NTL for about 10 years, but both teams have slid back from the top of the league standings in recent years. … As I said, the Wildcats have clicked offensively against average teams. … ATHENS 41, NORTH PENN 13.
Little Red:
Athens 32, North Penn 7.
The Mick: Athens 30, North Penn 8.
Country Bob: Athens 34, North Penn 14.

Waverly (5-0, 1-0 Division V) at Dryden (0-4, 0-1), 7 p.m.: The Wolverines are coming off a 27-8 win over state-ranked Livonia, while the Purple Lions dropped a 35-7 decision to Newark Valley.

The Wolverines have allowed just 28 points in five games this season, but the defense has only allowed two of the those TDs. On the other hand, Dryden has only scored 28 points.

Likewise, Waverly is averaging 31.2 points per game, while Dryden is yielding 45.5 points per game.

Prediction: On paper, this game is a blowout. I think that plays out on the field Saturday night as well. … WAVERLY 55, DRYDEN 0.
Little Red:
Waverly 42, Dryden 0.
The Mick: Waverly 40, Dryden 0.
Country Bob: Waverly 50, Dryden 0.

Troy (5-1) at Sayre (4-2), 7 p.m.: The Redskins are coming off a non-league, 39-6, win over Huntingdon Saturday, while the Trojans dismantled Loyalsock, 42-14.

Troy has allowed just 21 points in five wins, since a season-opening loss to Bald Eagle Area,while scoring 29 points per game.

Sayre has scored 46 points per game in its wins. In its loss at CV, Sayre was playing without 14 players due to Covid protocols, but the Redskins were healthy in a 42-8 at Muncy two weeks ago.

Prediction: Sayre struggled against a physical Muncy team. Troy is similarly physical, maybe even more so in its run game. … TROY 34, SAYRE 20.
Little Red:
Sayre 20, Troy 14.
The Mick: Troy 29, Sayre 7.
Country Bob: Sayre 21, Troy 20.

South Williamsport (4-2, 3-0 NTL Small) at Muncy (5-1, 4-0), 7 p.m.: The Mounties rolled to a 40-8 win over CMVT, while the Indians thumped Northwest Area, 40-6.

Prediction: Both these teams can run the football, but Muncy has shown the ability to throw a little, and that could be the difference. … MUNCY 20, SOUTH 7.
Little Red: Muncy 28, South 12.
The Mick: Muncy 21, South 7.
Country Bob: Muncy 28, South 0.

Wyalusing (2-4) at Cowanesque. Valley (4-2), 7 p.m.:
The Rams are coming off a 19-14 win over Montgomery, while the Indians outlasted Towanda, 26-19.

Prediction: Wyalusing is still a little banged-up, but getting healthier. I think the Rams’ big-play capabilities will be the difference. … WYALUSING 27, CV 25.
Little Red:
CV 22, Wyalusing 7.
The Mick: CV 26, Wyalusing 24.
Country Bob: CV 28, Wyalusing 7.

Towanda (0-6, 0-3) at Wellsboro (1-3, 0-2), 7 p.m.: The Black Knights are coming off a 26-19 home loss to Cowanesque Valley, while the Green Hornets dropped a 26-0 decision to Canton.

Prediction: Wellsboro has played a brutal schedule with losses to Montoursville, Troy, and Canton. The Hornets get healthy tonight. … WELLSBORO 34, TOWANDA 6.
Little Red:
Wellsboro 42, Towanda 6.
The Mick: Wellsboro 35, Towanda 7.
Country Bob: Wellsboro 35, Towanda 7.

Canton (6-0) at Montgomery (3-3), 7 p.m.: The Warriors are coming off a 26-0 win at Wellsboro, while the Red Raiders dropped a 19-14 loss to Wyalusing.

Prediction: Canton has allowed just 34 points this season, and has pitched back-to-back shutouts. … CANTON 36, MONTGOMERY 6.
Little Red:
Canton 42, Montgomery 6.
The Mick: Canton 54, Montgomery 0.
Country Bob: Canton 42, Montgomery 6.

Notre Dame (0-3) at Unatego / Franklin (1-0), 7 p.m.: Notre Dame has been off since a Week 2 42-18 loss to Thomas A. Edison, while Unatego / Franklin beat Unadilla Valley, 38-7, in its only game of the season.

Prediction: Neither of these teams has played much football this season. … UNATEGO / FRANKLIN 45, NOTRE DAME 25.
Little Red:
Unatego 42, Notre Dame 20.
The Mick: Unatego 44, Notre Dame 0.
Country Bob: Notre Dame 42, Unatego 20.

SATURDAY
Owego (1-3, 1-0 Div. III) at Maine-Endwell (3-1, 0-0), 7 p.m.:
The Indians are coming off a 29-7 loss to Watkins Glen / O-M, while the Spartans dropped an 8-0 decision to U-E.

Prediction
: Maine-Endwell is banged up, but it shouldn’t matter this week. MAINE-ENDWELL 37, OWEGO 0.
Little Red:
Maine-Endwell 60, Owego 0.
The Mick: Maine-Endwell 55, Owego 0.
Country Bob: Maine-Endwell 44 Owego 7.


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