ATHENS — Junior Nate Quinn scored two goals and dished out two assists
to lead Athens to a 6-1 win over Williamson here Wednesday evening in
NTL boys soccer action at Alumni Stadium.
The Wildcats, who won four games last week, improve to 8-1 with the win.
“After a tough week on the team physically last week, we were able to get some quality training in the past two days,” said Athens coach Jake Lezak. “It really paid off for us, and the players are getting more touches on the ball and better each session.
“We covered some tactical issues that we need to continue to reinforce, and they boys did a really nice job tonight with transferring training to the game.
“A few players were shuffled around and played very well for us tonight,” added Lezak.
Senior Tyler Chambers scored an unassisted goal about 5 1/2 minutes into the game, and Quinn make his first mark in scorebook with a goal at the 12-minute mark to make it 2-0.
Five minutes later junior Daniel Horton, off a feed from Quinn, scored to make it 3-0, which carried over into the halftime intermission.
Nine minutes into the second half, senior Joey Toscano, off a feed from Quinn, scored to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead.
Quinn, with an assist from junior Jason Gao, scored his second goal to make it 5-0 with 23:58 left in the contest.
Sophomore Jared Ammerman, off an assist from freshman Korey Miller, capped the Athens scoring with 1:53 remaining in the contest.
Caleb Coats put Williamson on the scoreboard on a penalty kick with 66 seconds remaining.
Athens had a 16-2 advantage in shots-on-goal, and a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
Athens returns to action Saturday at NEB. Game time is 1 p.m.
SAYRE — Seven different Athens players found the net in an 8-0 win over
Sayre here Wednesday afternoon in NTL junior high soccer action at
Eli Benninger-Jones and Addyson Wheeler scored goals in the first 10 minutes to give the junior Wildcats a quick 2-0 lead.
Pete Jones added a goal five minutes later, and Chase Ingram scored at the 25-minute mark to give Athens a 4-0 lead at the halftime intermission.
Jase Babcock recorded three saves in net in the first half.
Babcock took to the field in the second half, and scored just five minutes after the intermission to make it 5-0.
Ronel Ankem, Ingram, and Adam Kemp added second-half goals to close out the scoring.
Hannah Earls had one save for Athens in second half.
Athens had a 4-0 edge in corner kicks.
The game was called early due to thunder and severe weather.
Athens improves to 9-0-1 on the season, while Sayre falls to 1-6.
ATHENS — Athens coach Jack Young knew this had the makings of a trap game.
The contest had been moved from Friday to Saturday, then Saturday to Monday. It wasn’t until 9:30 a.m. Monday morning that they had confirmed they were going to play.
Still, his Athens team responded, making the most of five Towanda turnovers to roll to a 44-14 win in NTL football action Monday.
“We talked about taking care of opportunities when we have them, and trying to make opportunities for ourselves,” said Young. “At the same time, we still made some silly mistakes with formations and things like tha,t but I think we’re coming.
“We’re getting better and better and better and, when you play in these circumstances, and Towanda’s played some really solid defense,” added Young. “Once again, I think the line-of-scrimmage was real key for us tonight as it was against Wyalusing.”
The Wildcats dominated on the ground — rushing for 201 yards on 39 carries, led by Shayne Reid’s 108 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. But whoever touched the ball did things with it — Caleb Nichols ran for 35 yards on nine carries with a touchdown, and through the air Karter Rude had five catches for 98 yards.
“I’m super proud of the way they’re playing as a group,” said Young. “We’ve got a lot of kids we’re getting on the field and that makes me proud as a coach.”
Under center, Mason Lister was 7-for-17 for 122 yards, while also running for 36 yards and a score on seven carries. JJ Babcock had two catches for 24 yards.
After a flat start, Athens got going as the Knights had four turnovers in the first half, which gave them short fields, and the Wildcats took advantage of them. Then, in the second half they took care of business early to put the game away.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the kids,” said Young. “We came in a little bit early to do some walk-through stuff to make sure our minds were right; again, not a perfect game, but I’m real, real proud of the way we’re playing as a team.”
The Wildcats were flagged 11 times for 55 yards, but didn’t turn the ball over once.
For Towanda, Rhyan West ran for 84 yards on 14 carries with a score while Mitchell Mosier was 5-for-15 for 58 yards with a touchdown and two picks.
Haven Benjamin-Fee had two catches for 42 yards, while Justin Schoonover caught two passes for 10 yards and a touchdown. Trent Kithcart ran eight times for 24 yards, and also caught a 3-yard pass.
The Black Knights took the opening kick-off and seemed to be in business, thanks to an 8-yard run by Benjamin-Fee on second down. A 3-yard rush by Mosier gave them a new set of downs near midfield.
However, Athens bogged down the Towanda offense, holding them to short gains and forcing a punt.
On Athens’ ensuing drive, Lister hit Rude for an 11-yard gain and a new set of downs, but the Towanda defense held, forcing the Wildcats to punt.
Towanda’s second possession began with a 10-yard run by Kithcart to get out to its own 30-yard line. However, two plays later, a Mosier pass was picked off by Jaden Wright, giving Athens the ball back inside the Towanda 40-yard line.
A first-down hold pushed the Wildcats back to midfield, but an 11-yard run by Nichols got the yardage back. An 8-yard pass play of Lister-to-Rude set up third-and-short. Towanda held on third dow,n but Athens’ Reid punched through the line for a new set of downs on fourth down, rumbling to the Towanda 22-yard line.
He followed that up with a 15-yard run inside the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Lister rolled out left and dove just inside the pylon for the touchdown, finishing off the 49-yard, 7-play scoring drive.
Reid added the point-after for the 7-0 lead with 1:07 left in the first quarter.
On Towanda’s ensuing drive, back-to-back runs by West and Mosier set up third-and-short, but Athens broke through the line and forced Kithcart to fumble the ball. It was scooped up by the Wildcats, and they set up shot at Towanda’s own 31-yard line.
Once again the drive start with a penalty — this one illegal procedure, but an 11-yard run by Lister got the yardage back. Two shorts runs by Nichols and Lister got them a new set of downs.
A false start backed them up again, but Lister hit Babcock with a 7-yard pass play to get inside the Towanda red zone.
Two plays later, on 3rd-and-6 Reid rumbled for 10 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the Knight 6-yard line. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-1, Reid punched it in for the touchdown to end the 36-yard, 9-play scoring drive. He added the point-after for the 14-0 lead with 8:40 left in the half.
Towanda’s ensuing drive ended with another turnover, as on third down they fumbled the ball back to Athens.
The Wildcats took over at Towanda’s 37-yard line, but the Knights continued to play stingy defense. After a first-down incompletion, Towanda held Reid to short gains on the next two downs to set up a 4th-and-2 at the 20-yard line.
Athens went back to Reid, who punched through for a 5-yard gain and a new set of downs. Towanda’s defense held up, though, forcing Athens two two more short runs and an incompletion. On 4th-and-5 from the Towanda 7-yard line the Wildcats elected for a field goal and Reid hit the 24-yarder to make it 17-0 with 3:50 left in the half.
On the ensuing kick-off, Towanda fumbled again and Athens recovered at the Knight 22-yard line.
It would take them two plays to find pay dirt — a 21-yard pass play from Lister to Rude, followed by a Reid 1-yard plunge. Athens tried a fake PAT on the point-after attempt, but it was no good. Still, they led 23-7 with 3:13 let in the first half.
The ensuing Knight possession started promising as West broke four Athens tackles at the line-of-scrimmage as he rumbled 29 yards down the left side of the field. However, a short gain and two incompletions later and Towanda was punting again.
Athens took over at their 38-yard line, but struggled as well. They would turn it over on downs as lister went 0-for-3 on the drive.
With 1:06 left on the clock and starting at the Athens 45-yard line Towanda wouldn’t get a better chance to put points up on the scoreboard.
They took it, as on second down Mosier hit Benjamin-Fee on a crossing pattern. He out ran most of the Athens defense with Reid saving a touchdown as he tackled Benjamin-Fee at the 4-yard line.
The Wildcat defense would catch Towanda for a 3-yard loss on the next play, while Mosier’s second-down pass to Kithcart was well defended by the official, who inadvertently blocked Kithcart from making the catch.
However, on the next play Towanda finally got a good bounce as Mosier’s pass intended for Kithcart was deflected into the air, but came down into the hands of Justin Schoonover.
The 4-yard completion was the Knights’ first score of the season and, after Logan Lambert’s point after, Towanda cut it to 23-7 with 21 seconds left in the half. It was a 45-yard, 5-play scoring drive.
Athens came out strong in the second half, taking the ensuing kickoff and going 74 yards on seven plays to paydirt. A pitch two Reid on the first play netted 32 yards to get to midfield. An 11-yard Lister run followed, with Nichols then rumbling six yards for a new set of downs at the Towanda 30-yard line.
Lister then hit Rude for a 15-yard pass play. That was followed by back-to-back 6-yard runs to set up first-and-goal at the 3-yard line. Reid punched it in and, after Reid’s point-after, Athens led 30-7 with 8:32 left in the third quarter.
On Towanda’s ensuing drive Mosier did a good job keeping it alive, running for 8-yards on 3rd-and-1, but on the next play he was picked off by Nichols, who returned it to the Towanda 5-yard line.
Back-to-back Nichols runs got Athens to the end zone. Reid hit the point-after and the Wildcats now led 37-7 with 5:38 left in the third.
Towanda’s next drive began with two strong runs by West and Kithcart, which ended in a new set of downs at their own 41-yard line, but it stalled out there and the Knights were forced to punt.
Penalties killed Athens’ ensuing drive as a block-in-the-back and delay of game set up a 3rd-and-19. Lister hit Babcock for a 17-yard gain, which set up 4th-and-2.
On the fourth-down run by Nichols, though, Towanda’s Clay Watkins made a big stop at the line-of-scrimmage and forced a turnover on downs.
A 9-yard run on second down by West got Towanda across midfield, but back-to-back negative runs by the Knights forced a turnover on downs on them.
Athens took over at their own 44 yard line and, on the second play from scrimmage, Lister hit Rude for a 43-yard gain down to the Towanda 11-yard line.
Three plays later, on 3rd-and-3 from the 4, Athens’ Jared Peterson punched it in for their final touchdown of the night. Reid added the point-after and the Wildcats led 44-7, after the 56-yard, 5-play drive with 10:04 left in the game.
Towanda had one final drive left in them and, starting on their own 30-yard line, took nine plays to go the 70 yards to pay dirt.
Runs of 13 and 15 yards by West set up Towanda inside the Athens 40-yard line. A Kithcart 7-yard run on second down made it 3rd-and-5. Mosier would hit Schoonover for a 4-yard gain, making it 4th-and a long 1.
Mosier drew the Athens defense offsides, giving them a new set of downs at the 23-yard line. After an incompletion on first down, a bad snapped on second looked like a busted play, but West made something of it, picking up the rolling ball and darting his way through the Wildcat defense for a 23-yard touchdown run.
Lambert hit the point-after and it was now a 44-14 game, which is how it would end.
Athens’ NTL ‘North’ schedule is done — they get a bye this week, then host South Williamsport the following Friday. But, if this season has shown anything, it’s that tomorrow isn’t certain.
WYALUSING — This was the game Athens coach Jack Young was waiting for,
and his team’s 21-14 victory over Wyalusing Friday night was worth the
It was a complete Wildcat effort as they dominated the line-of-scrimmage, put together long drives and held a Wyalusing offense to half the yardage it put up in its win last week against CV.
“It’s huge, absolutely huge,” Athens quarterback Mason Lister said about getting the win. “A great game that came down to the wire — it was a little closer than I wanted it to be, but we made it work.”
The big improvement for Athens came up front as Athens won the battle in the trenches.
“Those guys played really well on both sides of the ball,” said Young. “Our line was much improved tonight because they feel like they didn’t play a real good game against Sayre.”
Young mentioned his seniors — Lucas Aquilio, Connor Sindoni, Ian Wright, Zac Gowin and Ben Pernaselli — as the key to their play this week. They outgained the Rams 165-121 on the ground and, at one point in the second half, held the ball for more than 10 minutes.
“We told them coming in ‘you guys are the key,’” Young said. “As many athletes as we are getting involved in the game on both sides, the key is still the line-of-scrimmage.”
ATHENS — Hobbled by leg cramps for most of the second half, junior
Shayne Reid split the uprights on a 27-yard field goal late in the
fourth quarter to lift Athens to a 10-7 win over Sayre here at Alumni
Stadium Friday night in the annual Rusty Rail rivalry game.
The kick was Reid’s first career field goal.
“It feels amazing. All I was thinking about was getting it through the two poles,” he said. “Everything — the snap and the hold — was perfect.”
“Shayne (Reid) could barely walk,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “We carried him out onto the field, and he kicked the game-winner — they write stories about that kind of stuff.”
The win snaps Sayre’s two-year hold on the Rusty Rail trophy.
“It feels insane,” said Reid. “We all worked very hard for this. We worked all summer, and we came and got it.”
Young was pleased to bring the Rusty Rail back to Athens.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “As ugly as this game was, it really is what rivalry games are all about — battling back-and-forth and scrapping.
“I’m super-happy for the kids, it’s been a long three weeks,” noted Young. “I could not be prouder of our effort, and with how the kids hung in there.”
And ugly it was.
Athens was penalized 11 times for 115 yards, and committed three turnovers, while Sayre was flagged eight times for 50 yards, and also turned the ball over three times.
“We probably led the state tonight in penalties,” said Young. “Some of them were foolish, and they have to be corrected.”
“We gave the game away,” said Sayre coach Kevin Gorman. “We shot ourselves in the foot constantly with turnovers and penalties.
“Overall, I thought we played well offensively and defensively, but when it’s crunch time, we can’t fumble,” added Gorman.
The Wildcats used a big play on the opening kickoff to get a little early momentum as Reid reeled off a 30-yard return to the Sayre 49.
Sophomore QB Mason Lister completed three consecutive passes for 25 yards, including a 15-yard catch-and-run to Reid to move the ball to the Redskin 24.
Five plays later, Sayre senior Matt Lane stripped Reid of the ball after a 7-yard gain at the Redskin 5.
“We put together a nice drive and then turned it over in the red zone,” said Young. “We have to get better in that area … we have to eliminate those kinds of mistakes.”
“We coach that, when we’re gang-tackling, guys get in there and start ripping at the ball,” said Gorman. “It was a big play — a big turnover down deep.
“Kudos to (Athens), they came out throwing the ball,” added Gorman. “I knew they could do it, but I didn’t expect it. Our guys needed a little time to adjust, but once they did, they played well.”
On Sayre’s second play, junior David Northrop ripped off a 12-yard run, then junior Jake Bennett followed with runs of 8 and 13 yards to move the ball to the Sayre 37.
However, a pair of penalties bogged down the Redskin drive, and they were forced to punt. Disaster struck when the snap sailed over sophomore Lucas Horton’s head, and the Wildcats took possession after a 27-yard loss by the Redskins at the Sayre 11.
An offensive pass interference call against the Wildcats on their first play of the possession moved the ball back to the Sayre 26, but two plays later Lister rolled right under pressure and found Reid open in the back of the end zone for a 25-yard TD pass with 3:49 remaining in the first quarter.
Reid tacked on the extra point to give Athens a 7-0 lead.
After an exchange of possessions, Sayre used its ground game in a 12-play, 44-yard march to the Wildcat 15, before turning the ball over on downs with 5:12 remaining in the first half.
Athens picked up a pair of first downs, but fumbled the ball away, and the Redskins took over at the Wildcat 39 with 2:12 remaining in the first half.
A nine-yard run by Bennett, and a 15-yard run by Horton quickly advanced the ball into the red zone at the Athens 15.
The Redskins moved the ball to the Athens 3, but twice were flagged for illegal procedure, and ended up running out of time with the ball at the 3.
At the end of the half, Sayre had two opportunities, and we made plays — that’s what rivalry games are all about,” said Young.
“We didn’t give up any big plays tonight, and that was one of our goals.
“When teams put together a few first downs on you, it becomes a matter of digging deep and making a play, and we did that all night long,” added Young.
“We had our chances, especially late in the first half,” said Gorman. “We can’t make those kinds of mistakes when we’re on the doorstep like that.”
The second half started exactly as the first half did, except it was a 22-yard kick return by Northrop that set the Redskins up at the Athens 49.
After one first down, Sayre was forced to punt. Reid mishandled Horton’s punt, but recovered the muff at the Wildcat 9.
Five plays later, the Wildcats fumbled the ball away at their own 19.
The Redskins needed just one play — a 19-yard scamper around left end by Northrop — to find paydirt. Senior Nic Bentley’s PAT kick tied the game at 7-7 with 7:14 remaining in the third quarter.
After an exchange of punts, Athens sophomore Caleb Nichols stepped in front of a Horton pass and returned it 15 yards to the Sayre 26.
The Redskin defense, however, forced a quick turnover on downs, and gave the ball back to the Sayre offense at its 23.
After another exchange of punts, the Redskins took over at their own 10.
Two plays after runs of 13 and 8 yards by Northrop, Athens senior Tanner Dildine pounced on a botched Redskin hand-off to give the Wildcats possession at the 38.
Lister completed passes of 5 yards to sophomore Karter Rude, and 9 yards to Dildine to move the ball to the Sayre 24, and Reid then ripped off an 11-yard run — his longest of the game — to the Redskin 13.
After two rushing attempts and incomplete pass moved the ball just three yards to the Sayre 10, Reid lined up and delivered the game-winning 27-yard field goal with 2:17 remaining in the contest.
On the ensuing kickoff, Northrop broke free and galloped to the Wildcat 47, but a block-in-the-back flag brought the ball back to the Redskin 20.
Sayre moved the ball to the Athens 45 in short order, thanks in large part to a 32-yard completion from Horton to senior Tavone McClenny, but Athens senior defensive end Ben Pernaselli stripped Horton of the ball in the backfield moments later, and Dildine recovered with 42 seconds left to effectively end the game.
Lister completed 16 of 25 pass attempts for 160 yards and one TD. Rude led the Wildcat receivers with seven catches for 86 yards, and Reid added three receptions for 45 yards and one TD.
Athens rushed for just 58 yards on 27 carries, with Reid’s 33 yards on seven carries leading the way.
The Redskins rushed for 178 yards on 32 carries. Northrop led the way with 95 yards on 15 carries, and Bennett added 84 yards on 14 carries.
Horton completed 4 of 14 pass attempts for 47 yards, and was intercepted once. Josh Arnold had two grabs for nine yards, and McClenny had one catch for 32 yards.
The Wildcats return to action Friday at Canton, while the Redskins are off until Sept. 25 when they host Cowanesque Valley.
ATHENS — For the first time since 1980, Athens and Sayre will open the
season against each other here Friday night at Alumni Stadium.
“I know they talked about playing the rivalry games early in the season to make sure we’d play these games, but I don’t think anyone anticipated Week 1,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “At the same time, our kids would be happy, and I think the Sayre kids would be happy, if we played five weeks in a row — why not?
“It’s been one of those years. When our kids first heard, they thought we were scrimmaging Sayre, so we had to set them straight and get them focused,” added Young. “It’s exciting. Our seniors have set the tone, and said ‘there’s no better way to get it going than opening up with Sayre.”
“It's going to be interesting,” said Sayre coach Kevin Gorman. “The (Rusty Rail) game at the end of the year is always something the players look forward to, but with the uncertainty of everything I understand why it's week one.
“I was hoping for a week 2 or 3 game to give us a game or two to get all the mistakes out of the way, but I'm just looking forward to the season and the game,” added Gorman. “And, the players are excited to play and even more excited for the Rusty Rail week one.”
Both coaches agree playing in the season-opener has kept their players focused.
“The kids probably would have practice all day (Monday) if we had let them because it’s Sayre week,” said Young. “They’ve been focused and motivated.”
“It’s definitely helped,” said Gorman. “The high schools only being a minute away from each other, the kids all know each other.
“We had a good camp, and I think the kids are pretty focused,” he added.
This is the 120th edition of the Athens-Sayre rivalry, with the Redskins leading the all-time series 61-48-10.
It’s the 21st Rusty Rail game. Athens leads the series 17-3, but Sayre has won the last two games, including a 21-14 win last year at the Lockhart Street Bowl, following on the heels of a 17-game win streak by the Wildcats.
Gorman said his team is not obsessing over its two-game win streak.
“I don’t think the kids are concerned with a win streak, they just know the Rusty Rail is on the line, and we need to get the trophy back to Sayre,” he said. “I think that’s the approach during the week.
“I don’t like to push the Rusty Rail on them. I just want s to go out there and play our game, and, hopefully, come home with a win,” added Gorman.
While Athens’ 17-game win streak is the longest in the rivalry, Sayre has twice put together 10-game win streaks against Athens. The first was from 1922-26 when the two schools played twice a year, and from 1933-40, which also included a few years with two games.
Athens won first game in series 14-0 in 1915, but Sayre won second game, 13-9, in 1917. Sayre followed it up with wins of 21-0 and 13-0 in 1920.
The two schools played at least once every year through 1936. After two years off, they renewed the rivalry in 1939 and have played every year since, aside from 1965 through 1968, when the rivalry was put on hiatus due to incidents of school vandalism.
The Redskins are coming off an 8-3 season, which ended with a 26-20 home loss to Muncy in the District 4, Class A semifinals.
The Wildcats were 1-10 in 2019, including back-to-back season-ending losses to Sayre and Waverly.
Both coaches believe Friday’s game boils down to one simple thing.
“If you control the line-of-scrimmage on either side of the ball, you’re more than likely winning the game,” said Gorman.
“We’ve talked about it all week, winning the battle on the line-of-scrimmage is huge,” said Young.
WHEN ATHENS HAS THE BALL
“They have a big offensive line, so I expect to see a healthy dose of Shayne Reid, who is a good back,” said Gorman. “He hurt us quite a bit last year. When you watch films from last year, you see he hurt a lot of teams.
“They have (J.J.) Babcock on the outside, and Mason Lister can throw it around a little bit,” noted Gorman. “They may get in shotgun, and throw it around to get the ball to some of their athletes.
“I expect the run game first, then for them to drop back and try to catch us napping with a pass over the top, or something quick,” added Gorman.
WHEN SAYRE IS ON DEFENSE
“They do a great job of covering the field,” said Young. “We think we see something, and they adjust quickly. Kevin (Gorman) does a nice job of getting their kids disciplined defensively.
“They play well as a unit defensively,” added Young. “We have to be patient offensively. We have to see what we can take, then take advantage of it and produce.”
WHEN SAYRE HAS THE BALL
”I don’t think they’re going to be any different than the Sayre teams we’ve seen the last couple of years,” said Young. “They are going to formation us, they’re going to spread the field, wanting to run the ball, and chuck it downfield.”
WHEN ATHENS IS ON DEFENSE
“They run the 4-3, and they run it well — they know what they’re doing,” said Gorman. “They do run man, and might mix in a little Cover-3.
“Their defensive line is big,” noted Gorman. “The key point for us, with our experienced offensive line, is to control the front to keep Lucas (Horton) clean when we’re passing, and to open run lanes for our backs — that definitely will be a big factor for us.
“With it being the first game, they could have been working on something different offensively or defensively for the whole camp, or summer, and all of the sudden they give us a new look, but I expect the 4-3,” added Gorman.
ATHENS — Athens senior Aaron Lane led the Wildcats to the NTL Showdown championship, and was voted the NTL “Player of the Year” in recent voting by the league’s coaches, while his teammates sophomore J.J. Babcock and senior Damian Hudson earned Large School all-star accolades.
ATHENS — To the victors go the spoils. The NTL Large School champion Athens Lady Wildcats brought home three of the major league awards in recent voting by the league’s coaches, with junior Kayleigh Miller earning top honors as NTL “Player of Year” honors.
WAVERLY - River Road Media Group, parent company of Valley Sports Report, and Circle W Sports announced a partnership Sunday with the Athens Area School District to provide an athletic web site for all Wildcat sports.
ATHENS — Little things — diving on the floor for a loose ball, or setting a screen to free up a shooter — can win you basketball games.
ATHENS — Athens senior Joel Maslin signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play baseball at Northhampton Community College here Thursday in a brief ceremony in the high school library, and is looking forward to playing at the next level.
ATHENS — Athens senior David Scheftic is ready to write the next chapter in his life, and he's found the perfect setting for the next four years. On Thursday, he signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play college soccer at Penn State-Behrend.