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It’s hard to believe, but the regular season comes to a close tonight on both sides of the border.

The weekend’s action is highlighted in the Valley by the “Rusty Rail,” but there are other rivalry games on tap as well, with Troy and Canton battling for the “Old Shoe,” and Towanda and Wyalusing playing for the “Bronze Helmet.”

Rivalry games are a thing of the past (at least on an annual basis) in Section IV, but Waverly has a big game at Susquehanna Valley tonight. The Wolverines need a win to keep their hopes of home-field advantage throughout the Class C playoffs alive.

Last weekend was a good one for the pigskin pickers. The Mick and Little Red each posted 12-1 marks, I had a 11-2 record, and Country Bob was 10-3.

On the season, Little Red remains atop the standings at 86-12, while The Mick is 81-17, I have a record of 80-18, and Country Bob is 74-24.

With Tioga’s game canceled, and Notre Dame in action last night, our pigskin prognosticators will make picks on eight games this week — five in Pa., and three in N.Y.

Let’s start with the Valley teams in action:

Athens (5-4) at Sayre (5-4): Both teams are riding two-game losing streaks, with Sayre coming off a 27-12 home loss to South Williamsport, and Athens looking to rebound from a stunning 49-13 loss at Wellsboro.

Both teams are balanced offensively, but the forecasted rains may force them to the ground. If that’s the case, it will come down to which team can handle the elements in the trenches. Interesting note, Athens has played just one game on grass this season — Week 6 at Hughesville.

Athens tailback Shayne Reid, who kicked the game-winning field goal for the Wildcats last year, and Sayre QB Brayden Horton lead their teams in rushing yards, but guys like Caleb Nichols and Jaden Wright for Athens, and David Northrup, Jake Bennett, and Zach Garrity (if healthy) could step into the limelight.

Prediction: This is going to be a fun game to watch. (Mud and slop always adds to the enjoyment.) … I just have a feeling Shayne Reid is the difference tonight. … ATHENS 13, SAYRE 8.
Little Red:
Athens 28, Sayre 14.
The Mick: Athens 13, Sayre 12.
Country Bob: Sayre 27, Athens 20.

Waverly (8-0) at Susquehanna Valley (4-3): The Wolverines are coming off a 43-15 win over Oneonta, while the Sabers were throttled, 58-16, at home by Schuylerville, which is ranked No. 2 in the state in Class C.

Waverly has run the ball very well in its last two games, and it may need to do more of the same tonight with heavy rains in the forecast.

Susquehanna Valley has played a tougher schedule than Waverly, but both have fared similarly against common opponents. Waverly beat Dryden by 39, and SV beat them by 36 … Waverly beat Chenango Valley by 10, SV beat CV by six … and Waverly beat Oneonta by 28, while SV beat them by 34.

Prediction: Does the loss to Schuylerville better prepare SV for Waverly, or are they beat up in the wake of the 42-point loss? That’s one question. The other is: Are the Wolverines effected by not having their destiny in their own hands in the wake of Chenango Forks jumping ahead of them in the power points after M-E’s forfeiture of all their wins? … Jason Miller has always been good at coaching his team around distractions. SUS. VALLEY 20, WAVERLY 14.
Little Red:
SV 21, Waverly 20.
The Mick: SV 16, Waverly 15.
Country Bob: Waverly 38, SV 6.

Troy (7-2) at Canton (9-0): The Warriors are coming off a 60-7 dismantling of Hanover Area, while the Rams throttled Wyalusing, 48-8, last week.

Aside from a 22-21 loss at Sayre two weeks ago, Troy has been outstanding since a season-opening loss to Bald Eagle Area, while Canton has only had one game decided by less than 24 points — a 21-7 wi over South Williamsport in Week 3.

Prediction: Something tells me this game is going to be a close one. … CANTON 21, TROY 16.
Little Red:
Canton 28, Troy 7.
The Mick: Canton 28, Troy 7.
Country Bob: Canton 20, Troy 6.

Towanda (0-8) at Wyalusing (2-7): The Black Knights are coming off a 55-28 loss to Tunkhannock, while the Rams lost 48-8 to Troy.

It’s been a tough season for both these former NTL powers.

Regardless of tonight’s outcome, this is it for Towanda, but Wyalusing could slide into an opening-round match-up against Southern Columbia in the District 4, Class AA playoffs with a win.

Prediction: Wyalusing wins the “Bronze Helmet” and a date with Southern Columbia. … WYALUSING 26, TOWANDA 12.
Little Red:
Wyalusing 20, Towanda 6.
The Mick: Wyalusing 30, Towanda 16.
Country Bob: Wyalusing 27, Towanda 12.

Wellsboro (4-3) at North Penn (5-4): The Green Hornets are coming off a 49-13 win over Athens, while the Panthers blanked CMVT, 41-0.

Last week was the first time since its opening-week loss to Montoursville that Wellsboro has had its full team on the field.

Prediction: Wellsboro is healthy and peaking at the right time. … WELLSBORO 28, NORTH PENN 6.
Little Red
: Wellsboro 38, North Penn 13.
The Mick: Wellsboro 48, North Penn 7.
Country Bob: Wellsboro 28, North Penn 10.

Otto-Eldred (3-6) at Cowanesque Valley (5-3): The Indians are coming off a heartbreaking, 21-20, loss at Montgomery last week, while the Otto Eldred / Oswayo Valley conglomerate thumped Sheffield, 72-0. (Sheffield is 0-8 and allows 62 points per game.)

Prediction: CV bounces back with a big win. … CV 26, OTTO-ELDRED 12.
Little Red:
CV 27, Otto-Eldred 0.
The Mick: CV 30, Otto-Eldred 14.
Country Bob: CV 20, Otto-Eldred 19.

Tri-Valley (3-4) at SVEC (5-0): The Eagles are coming off a 48-8 win at Wellsville last week, while the Bears topped Eldred, 34-14.

Prediction: Tri-Valley is predominantly a running team, but pounding out a win over SVEC’s defense is going to be difficult. SVEC can score in a bunch of different ways, and I think they will put points on the board, regardless of the weather. … SVEC 40, TRI-VALLEY 14.
Little Red: SVEC 60, Tri-Valley 6.
The Mick: SVEC 49, Tri-Valley 0.
Country Bob: SVEC 47, Tri-Valley 6.

Horseheads (7-0) at Owego (2-5): The Blue Raiders are coming off a division-clinching, 17-7 win over Union-Endicott, while the Indians dropped a 34-13 decision to Vestal.

Both teams added to their win total this week without playing a game after Maine-Endwell was forced to forfeit all its wins.

Prediction: Horseheads is too big and physical for a young Owego team to handle. … HORSEHEADS 34, OWEGO 0.
Little Red:
Horseheads 42, Owego 0.
The Mick: Horseheads 44, Owego 6.
Country Bob: Horseheads 42, Owego 7.

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