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FROM THE PRESS BOX: WEEK 3 PICKS — (ALMOST) ALL EYES ON MEMORIAL STADIUM TONIGHT (2023-09-08)

The third weekend of high school football action is upon us, with all eyes (aside from Athens fans) in the Valley on the Waverly-Tioga match-up at Memorial Stadium tonight.

The Wildcats are also at home against longtime NTL Large School rival Wyalusing, while Sayre is on the road at Muncy Saturday night.

I led the way in Week 2 with a solid 8-2 mark, while my three co-horts all posted 6-4 records. For the season, I am 15-3, while Little Red and The Mick are 13-5, and Country Bob is 12-6.

So, according to our pigskin prognosticators, this is what lies in store this weekend:

Tioga (1-0) at Waverly (1-0): The Tigers are coming off a 42-6 rout of Section IX’s Burke Catholic, while the Wolverines rolled over Section V’s Honeoye Falls-Lima, 41-19, in Week Zero.

The first two times these teams met coming off Section IV titles was 2012 and 2016.

In 2012, Waverly edged Tioga, 14-8, in a match-up of teams that were both in the state semifinals in 2011. Tioga returned to the state semis, while Waverly dropped a, 28-27, heartbreaker to Chenango Forks in the Class C title game.

In 2016, a 5-5 Waverly team rolled to a 44-24 win over a 3-7 Tioga team in Week 10. To this point, it is Tioga coach Nick Aiello’s only losing season.

This game feels different, though. There’s a lot more buzz surrounding the match-up.

Both teams are led by generational talents at QB in Waverly’s Joey Tomasso, who surpassed 6,000 career passing yards, and 1,500 career rushing yards last week, and Tioga’s Caden Bellis, who is the returning Class D "Player of the Year."

Both QBs have a multitude of weapons at their disposal, and a big and dominant offensive line in front of them. The amount of talent on the field for a Small School football game is mind-blowing.

On the flip side, both teams pride themselves on their defense, which are almost always among the best in Section IV. Before it’s all said and done in 2023, I’m certain they will be once again.

As Jason Miller told me, "regardless who wins, both teams will be better next week for having played this game."

Prediction: I really have no clue how this game is going to go. My first thought is a high-scoring affair, but that’s what I thought in 2012 when I picked Waverly to win 30-29. (As I said, they won 14-8). Pride can go a long way when it’s matched with good coaching, and athletes. I don’t think this game is as high scoring as most people think. … TIOGA 21, WAVERLY 20.
The Mick:
Tioga 35, Waverly 22. … Little Red: Tioga 42, Waverly 35. … Country Bob: Tioga 35, Waverly 20.

Wyalusing (1-1) at Athens (1-1): The Wildcats are coming off a 28-22 win over a solid Cowanesque Valley team, while the Rams rolled to a 45-0 win over Sayre.

Athens may have grown up right before our eyes last Friday, rallying from a 22-6 first-half deficit for the win. Freshman QB Connor Davidson, and sophomore tailback Cooper Robinson had big games, and will need to repeat those performances tonight.

Prediction: Wyalusing forced Sayre into four turnovers, and took advantage of all of them. If the Wildcats can hold on to the football, and slow down the Ram run game, they’ll be in good shape. … ATHENS 22, WYALUSING 19.
The Mick:
Wyalusing 14, Athens 13. … Little Red: Wyalusing 35, Athens 13. … Country Bob: Athens 21, Wyalusing 6.

Sayre (0-2) at Muncy (1-1), Saturday: The Redskins are coming off a 45-0 shellacking at the hands of Wyalusing, while the Indians are coming off a 14-13 home loss to Wellsboro.

When QB Tanner Green is healthy, Sayre has shown it can move the football, although it hasn’t found the end zone yet this season. Defensively, the Redskins are allowing 43.5 points per game.

Prediction: Muncy is not what it was the last few years, but the Redskins have a lot to prove. … MUNCY 27, SAYRE 19.
The Mick:
Muncy 28, Sayre 12. … Little Red: Muncy 20, Sayre 6. … Country Bob: Muncy 35, Sayre 0.

Northwest Area (1-1) at Towanda (0-2): The Black Knights are coming off a 27-0 loss at Milton, while the Rangers rolled to a 40-8 win over CMVT.

Prediction: Towanda struggled against an improved Class 4A Milton team in Week 2, but should bounce back against NTL Small School foe Northwest. … TOWANDA 34, NORTHWEST 6.
The Mick:
Towanda 21, Northwest 14. … Little Red: Towanda 42, Northwest 6. … Country Bob: Towanda 28, Northwest 12.

North Penn-Mansfield (0-2) at Troy (2-0): The Trojans are coming off a 38-7 demolition of Montoursville, while the Tigers dropped a 42-13 decision at Canton.

Prediction: NP-M has the bad luck of playing the two best teams in the NTL in back-to-back weeks. … TROY 48, NP-M 6.
The Mick:
Troy 54, NP-M 0. … Little Red: Troy 63, NP-M 6. … Country Bob: Troy 47, NP-M 6.

Canton (3-0) at Wellsboro (1-2): This game was played Thursday, with Canton rolling to a 41-6 win. You’ll just have to trust us on our picks.

Prediction: CANTON 41, WELLSBORO 6.
The Mick:
Canton 41, Wellsboro 6. … Little Red: Canton 41, Wellsboro 6. … Country Bob: Canton 41, Wellsboro 6.

Montgomery (0-2) at Cowanesque Valley (1-1): The Red Raiders are coming off a 49-13 loss at South Williamsport, while the Indians dropped a 28-22 decision at home to Athens.

Prediction: Cowanesque Valley could top their six-win season from 2021 this season. … COWANESQUE VALLEY 40, MONTGOMERY 20.
The Mick:
CV 24, Montgomery 7. … Little Red: Montgomery 28, CV 6. … Country Bob: CV 27, Montgomery 20.

SVEC (1-0) at Dryden (1-0): The Eagles are coming off a 12-6 win over Schuyler, while the Purple Lions topped Cortland, 20-14.

Prediction: Jacek Teribury scored both of SVEC’s TDs in Week Zero. Look for an even bigger game from the shifty QB this week. … SVEC 26, DRYDEN 13.
The Mick:
SVEC 18, Dryden 14. … Little Red: Dryden 27, SVEC 13. … Country Bob: SVEC 24, Dryden 6.

Owego at Newark Valley, Saturday: Both the River Hawks (3-7 in 2022) and the Cardinals (2-8) are looking to turn it around after losing seasons.

Prediction: Tioga grad Patton Taylor makes his debut on the Owego sidelines, so the River Hawks offense could look familiar to Newark Valley coach Ted Hartenstine, who has been one of the few thorns in the side of Tioga coach Nick Aiello. … OWEGO 22, NEWARK VALLEY 13.
The Mick:
Owego 28, Newark Valley 20. … Little Red: Owego 35, Newark Valley 7. … Country Bob: Newark Valley 28, Owego 12.

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