September 11, 2021 Tim Birney

TUNKHANNOCK — Athens avenged its only loss in pool play beating Tunkhannock in the finals to win the annual Tunkhannock Volleyball Tournament here Saturday afternoon.

After posting a 6-1 mark in pool play, including a win over Towanda in the opening game of the game, the Lady Wildcats swept Wyoming Area in the semifinals, then swept Tunkhannock in the championship match.

“The girls had a spark in their shorts starting our first game against Towanda,” said Athens coach Heather Hanson. “I saw great teamwork and communication on the court today.

“It was such an awesome experience for all of us to go from a tough loss (Friday at NEB) to big-time victory the next day,” added Hanson. “I am very proud of how the team played.”

Athens hosts Canton Tuesday night.

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September 11, 2021 Tim Birney

ONEONTA — The Athens boys had three runners finish in the top 13 on their way to a third-place finish here Saturday at the Dave Forbes Cross Country Invitational, while the Lady Wildcats finished ninth.

Ithaca was the runaway winner of the team title with 35 placement points, while runner-up Columbia tallied 71, Athens had 97, fourth-place Union-Endicott had 118, and fifth-place Elmira had 151 points.

Senior Kyle Anthony led the Wildcats with a ninth-place finish in a time of 17:37.3, while senior Matt Gorsline was 12th in 17:45.8, and junior Ethan Denlinger was 13th in 17:47.6.

Freshman Ethan Hicks finished 30th for Athens in a time of 19:02.8, and freshman Carter Lewis was 33rd in 19:06.7.

Senior Sander Bertsch was 59th in 20:15.4, and junior Nate Pricket was 65th in a time of 20:32.4 in the field of 129 runners.

Freshman Sara Bronson and junior Emma Bronson finished in the top 12 to lead the Lady Wildcats Saturday.

Emma Bronson clocked in with a time of 21:11.3 to finish ninth, and Emma Bronson finished 12th in 21:28.2.

Sophomore Thea Bentley finished 67th for the Lady Wildcats in a time of 26:48.5, while sophomore Cailyn Conklin was 89th in 28:44, sophomore Emily Henderson was 96th in 29:57, and junior Abby Prickitt was 115th in 33:29.5.

Athens finished sixth in the junior varsity race, led by Izaak Hobday, who finished eighth in a time of 20:35.

Aiden Oldroyd finished 24th for the junior Wildcats in a time of 22:19, while Lohith Kinthala was 29th in 23:54, Pierce Oldroyd was 32nd in 24:30, Ryan Gorman placed 43rd in 27:00, and Brendan Jones was 46th in 31:51.

Seventh-graders Graham Wanck and Eli Hicks placed 1-2 in the modified boys race.

Wanck clocked in at 7:55.1, and Hick s crosses the line in 8:11.3, while Charan Venkataswamy was 20th in 9:46.8.

Isaac Roy finished 35th in a time of 11:03.6, while Andrew DeForrest was 39th in in 11:20, Arayan Gaur was 52nd in 14:41.1.

Eighth-grader Addison Burns paced the modified girls with a third-place finish in a time of 9:50.5.

Kayla Marshall finished 24th in a time of 13:33.3, and Madeline Henderson was 31st in 14:54.1.

Athens returns to action Tuesday at Sayre.

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September 10, 2021 Tim Birney

ROME, Pa. — Athens battled for three sets, but Northeast Bradford was dominant in the fourth set of a 3-1 win here Friday evening in NTL volleyball action.

The Lady Panthers won the first two sets by scores of 25-19 and 25-20, but the Lady Wildcats pulled out a 25-22 decision in the third set. NEB cruised to a 25-9 win in the decisive fourth set.

“Tonight was just the typical volleyball mental ups-and-downs,” said Athens coach Heather Hanson. “My team was quieter than I'd heard in a long time, they really had to work at being loud, which is not typical for them.

“This team has tons of potential,” she added. “I just need to have patience because they are coming along and they are going to be good.”

Jenny Ryan led Athens with nine kills, nine setter assists five digs, and two service points, while Taylor Walker had five points and two blocks, Ally Martin had four points (three aces), two kills, and 10 digs, and Ella Coyle had four points (three aces), and nine digs.

“Jenny Ryan did an amazing job running the floor touching every second ball,” said Hanson. “Taylor Walker had some huge blocks tonight changing the momentum of the game for the girls.

“Ella Coyle received an incredible game — I’m so excited for her,” noted Hanson. “And, Ally Martin was a machine; her serving game and digging was incredible.”

Audrey Clare had two points (two aces), five kills and six digs for the Lady Wildcats, while Braelynn Wood added three digs, and Kassie Babcock chipped in with two blocks.

Athens returns to action Saturday at the Tunkhannock Tournament.

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September 10, 2021 Chris Manning

TOWANDA — On the playmaking of Mason Lister, Athens went into Towanda and took care of business, beating the Black Knights, 35-0, here Friday night in NTL football action Friday.

“It’s a great feeling, because I’m happy for the kids,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “Last week was a tough loss, but we had kind of a goofy week this week. We got a little sloppy at times, and we got a lot of kids some playing time, so that’s really good for us.”

Lister had a four touchdown night - three rushing, one passing - as he gave the Towanda defense fits with his ability to make things happen.

“We’ve talked about that a little bit, about our decision making, and put the thing away,” Young said about Lister. “He took care of the ball a little better tonight, at times, and he also took off. He’s got to know that he can beat some people with his feet. He’s starting to do that a little bit, and it’s only going to make us better.”

Lister ran the ball eight times for 67 yards to go with his three scores, while he was 7-for-8 for 138 yards, and a touchdown, through the air.

Shayne Reid led Athens in rushing with 110 yards on 12 carries, while Caleb Nichols had 30 yards and a touchdown on three rushes. As a team Athens ran the ball 34 times for 242 yards.

Karter Rude had a big day at receiver, hauling in four catches for 108 yards and a score, while JJ Babcock had two catches for 18 yards.

Freshman Riley Vanderpool was everywhere for Towanda, running the ball 17 times for 47 yards, while also getting six receptions for 51 yards. Rhyan West had 31 yards rushing on five carries, but left the game at the half.

Grady Flynn was 7-for-12 for 32 yards with a pick under center.

Athens took the opening kick-off at their own 32-yard line, and needed just six plays to hit pay dirt. A 36-yard pass play from Lister to Rude on the third play from scrimmage set them up at the Towanda 10-yard line. Three plays later Lister punched it in from the one to put the Wildcats up 7-0 on the Reid extra point.

Towanda was able to get a first down on their initial drive, but it fizzled out and they were forced to punt.

The Wildcats took over on the Knight 39-yard line, and only needed to plays to score - a 20-yard Reid run, followed by a Lister to Rude 19-yard scoring strike. Reid’s point after was good, and the Wildcats led 14-0 halfway through the first quarter.

After a 3-and-out for Towanda Athens took over at their own 46-yard line. This time they needed eight plays to score, but the Knights didn’t make it easy.

A 20-yard pass play from Lister to Rude, followed by a 17-yard run from Lister, set Athens up at 1st-and-goal from the four.

Their first three runs, though, were stuffed by Towanda. On fourth-and-1 Lister tried a quarterback sneak, and punched it in. Reid’s kick was good, and Athens led 21-0 with 11:51 left in the half.

Towanda’s offense showed some spark in their ensuing drive as Flynn hit Vanderpool for a 13-yard gain. A West 7-yard run on the next play set up a Flynn to Vanderpool 3-yard hook-up for another first down.

West followed that up with a 12-yard run up the gut to get inside the Athens 35-yard line. On the next play, though, West again found room up the middle, but as he was fighting for yards, the ball popped out, and Athens hopped on it to take it back.

Towanda would force them to punt on their next drive, giving the knights good field position at their own 45-yard line.

However, on the first play from scrimmage, Flynn’s pass was tipped, and picked off by Reid. He appeared to take it 65-yards to the house, but it was called back due to a block in the back.

Starting at their own 28-yard line, Athens would need just six plays to score. Big runs from Rude and Nichols got the Wildcats to the Towanda 36-yard line. Four plays later Lister scrambled out of the pocket, down the left side of the field, and snuck into the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown run.

Reid’s kick was blocked, but the Wildcats took a 27-0 lead into the half.

Towanda took the kick-off in the second half, and proceeded to nickel and dime their way down the field.

Starting at their own 38-yard line, they would get off 17 plays to get down inside the Athens 10-yard line. All in all they picked up four first downs, and chewed off 7:46 off the clock, as they converted three third downs, and one fourth down - a 6-yard run by Flynn - to keep the drive alive.

On fourth down at the 7-yard line they tried a field goal, but Logan Lambert’s attempt was just wide left.

The Wildcats took over on their own 20-yard line, and needed seven plays to score. On the second play from scrimmage it was 2nd-and-21 when Lister hit Rude for a 32-yard gain. Three plays later Reid ran 29 yards to the Towanda 12.

Two plays after that Nichols ran it in from 8-yard out for their final score. Reid ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 35-0 with 50.6 left in the third.

There was no scoring in the fourth - Towanda’s defense did stop Athens from scoring from inside the 10-yard line, forcing them to turn it over on downs - as both teams gave their subs a chance get on the field.

Athens will hit the road again next week as they travel to South Williamsport. The Mounties just lost their second game in a row to Canton, and now 1-2, so they’ll be looking to get back to .500.

“We’re going to probably face a tough, physical South Williamsport team this week,” said Young. “We’re just going to keep building in every aspect.”

Athens returns to action Friday when it hosts South Williamsport.

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September 10, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Senior Hannah Walker dished out two assists, and scored the game-winning goal to lead Athens to a 3-2 win over crosstown rival Waverly here Friday afternoon in non-league girls soccer action on “Senior Night” at Alumni Stadium.

“This is a big win for us on Senior night,” said Athens coach Rich Pitts. “I am so proud of the girls.
“Every girl played a role in this as the bench gave us a ton of energy cheering us the whole game,” noted Pitts.  “And, the girls on the field worked really hard to execute the game plan we put in place.

“The defense played really well. Mya (Thompson) and Addy (Wheeler) did a fantastic job shutting down (Kennedy) Westbrook and (Lea) VanAllen,” added Pitts. “This was exactly what we needed heading into the Troy game Monday … we will need that same intensity and more.”

“This was a tough game that pointed out to us that we still have a lot to work on,” said Waverly coach Tara Hogan.

“I think we were playing intimidated right from the start,” she noted. “Against O-M, we were aggressive and consistent with putting pressure on the ball ... we gave Athens too much space to work with. 

“Athens gained more and more confidence throughout the game and put a lot of pressure on our defense,” added Hogan.

With 24 minutes remaining in the first half, freshman Addison Westbrook was fouled in the box, and sophomore Lea VanAllen drove the resulting penalty kick into the back of the net to give the Lady Wolverines a 1-0 lead.

Junior Ally Thoman, off a feed from Walker, scored with eight minutes left in the first half to tie the game at 1-1.

With 29 minutes left in the game, Kennedy Westbrook and VanAllen worked a give-and-go, resulting in a Westbrook shot from just in side the 18 toward the bottom left of the goal. The shot caromed off the inside of the post and into the net to give Waverly a 2-1 advantage.

The lead was short-lived, however, and Kendra Merrill, off a feed from Walker, scored two minutes later to tie the game at 2-2.

With 17 minutes left in the contest, Walker took a feed from sophomore Mya Thompson and deposited it into the back of the to give the Lady Wildcats a 3-2 lead.

Athens had a 7-3 edge in shots-on-goal, and an 8-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Waverly’s Lea Cole had four saves in net, while Athens’ Karlee Bartlow had two.

Athens, now 1-1, hosts Troy Monday, while Waverly, also 1-1, travels to Notre Dame Friday night.

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September 8, 2021 Tim Birney

MIDDLEBURG, Pa. — Midd-West scored twice in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the game, and cruised to a 7-0 win over Athens here Wednesday night in non-league boys soccer action.

Athens coach Jake Lezak had little to say following the loss.

“We were sloppy and made mistakes all over the field,” he said. “Simply put, it’s not good enough from us.”

Kynn Loss scored about 3 1/2 into the game, and again 55 seconds later to give Midd-West a quick 2-0 lead.

About 10 minutes into the game, Nolan Stahl scored to make it 3-0. Owen Solomon, who assisted on Loss’s first goal, was credited with his second assist.

Nick Eppley, who assisted on Loss’s second goal, scored an unassisted goal with 20:26 remaining in the first half.

Eppley scored two more goals in the second half to complete his hat trick, and Evan Leitzel finished off the scoring in the 55th minute.

MIdd-West had a 17-3 advantage in shots-on-goal, and a 9-1 edge in corner kicks.

Conner Mosher had 10 saves in net for the Wildcats.

Athens, now 2-2, travels to Horseheads Saturday night.

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September 7, 2021 Tim Birney

MANSFIELD — Sayre senior Kannon VanDuzer tied for low-medal honors, and Athens finished second — just 1 shot behind Wellsboro — here Tuesday afternoon in NTL golf action at Corey Creek Golf Course.

“It’s nice to see the improvement in all the kids from week to week,” said Athens coach Lenny Pientka. They are good at recognizing what aspects of the game they need help with, and we work on it each practice.

“It’s a steady process that helps them breakdown the game and improve,” he added.

Wellsboro shot a four-player aggregate total of 375, while Athens tallied 376, Wyalusing was third at 385, Sayre was fourth at 410, Cowanesque Valley was fifth at 446, Towanda was sixth at 449, and North Penn-Mansfield was seventh at 510.

It’s the second time this season (just three matches), Athens has finished second by 1 stroke. The Wildcats finished 1 stroke behind Sayre in the season-opener at The Club at Shepard Hills.

VanDuzer and North Penn-Mansfield’s Andrew Green both shot rounds of 83 on the par-72 course. VanDuzer shot a 41 on the front nine, and a 42 on the back, while Green shot 44-39. VanDuzer had the lone birdie for the two.

Athens sophomores Cameron Sullivan and Evan Cooper finished fourth and fifth, respectively, shooting rounds of 90 and 92.

Wildcat freshmen Dylan Saxon and Keaton Sinsabaugh were 11th and 16th, respectively, with rounds of 96 and 98. Lucas Kraft was 19th with a non-scoring round of 104, and freshman Sean Clare tacked on a 118.

Cameron Sullivan, Evan Cooper and Dylan Saxon have been steady players,” said Pientka.

“We are fortunate that someone steps up each week to fill our four spot,” added Pientka. “At Shepard Hills, it was Lucas Kraft; today at Corey Creek it was freshman Keaton Sinsabaugh who came through.”

Sayre senior Dylan Seck finished 14th with a 97, while senior Dom Fabbri carded a 113, and senior Josh Arnold added a 117. Junior Jackson Hubbard tacked on a non-scoring round of 119.

Athens’ Brady Darrow and Sayre’s David Hall Jr. each shot a nine-hole score of 55, and Sayre’s Sam Claypool had a 65.

STANDINGS: 1. WELLSBORO, 14-3; 2. ATHENS, 13-4; 3. SAYRE, 9-3; 4. WYALUSING, 12-5; 5. TOWANDA, 5-12; 6. C. VALLEY, 4-13; 7. NP-MANSFIELD, 0-17.

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September 7, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Senior Nate Quinn scored four goals, including a first-half hat trick, and senior Mason Hughey added three scores, including his 50th career goal, to lead Athens in an 11-0 whitewashing of Towanda here Tuesday afternoon in NTL boys soccer action at Alumni Stadium.

After more than 14 minutes of scoreless action, the Wildcats scored four goals in less than 5 1/2 minutes.

Hughey started off the scoring with an unassisted goal with 25:44 remaining in the first half. Just 89 seconds later, junior Tucker Brown slid a pass from the end line into the center of the box, and Quinn punched it past the Towanda keeper to make it 2-0.

After another 89 seconds, Quinn scored an unassisted goal to make it 3-0, He capped the run with another unaided goal with 20:20 left in the first half.

Freshman Mitchell Hamilton scored his first varsity goal with 7:47 remaining in the first half, driving a shot from 30 yards out just under the cross bar to make it 5-0, which is where the score stood at the intermission.

The Wildcats scored five more goals in the first 9 1/2 minutes of the second half to stretch its lead to 10-0.

Hughey scored the first goal, off a feed from Quinn, about 2 1/2 minutes after the intermission, then Quinn — off an assist from sophomore Korey Miller, made it 7-0 just 55 seconds later.

About two minutes, Hughey scored his milestone goal, off a feed from Miller to extend the lead to 8-0 with 34:27 remaining in the contest.

Senior Daniel Horton, who looped a shot over the keeper’s hands from about 35 yards out, and junior Brayden Post each scored goals in the next four minutes to give the Wildcats a 10-0 lead.

Freshman Isaac Wilcox notched his first career goal with 7:06 remaining to cap the scoring.

Athens outshot Towanda, 28-2, and had a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Athens, now 2-1, returns to action Wednesday at Midd-West.

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September 7, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Vestal scored early, and pulled away late in a 5-0 season-opening win over Athens here Tuesday night in non-league girls soccer action at Alumni Stadium.

Athens coach Rich Pitts said the loss will help his young squad in the long run.

“I thought we played hard the entire game,” he said.

“We have some tactical things that showed up that we need to work on,” added Pitts. “It was a tough match, but it definitely made us better as a squad.”

Lilly Wlostowski scored in the seventh minute to give the Lady Golden Bears a quick 1-0 lead, and Ava Schmidt scored in the 17th minute to up the advantage to 2-0, which is where it stood at the intermission.

Brown scored nine minutes into the second half to make it 3-0, and Bailey McDonald and Miller added goals late in the game to provide the final margin.

Vestal, which opened the season with a 6-0 loss to Ithaca Friday, improves to 1-1 on the season.

Athens hosts Waverly Friday at 5:30 p.m.

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September 4, 2021 Tim Birney

MONTOURSVILLE — Athens rallied for a 3-2 win over Montoursville in its season-opener, but couldn’t quite duplicate the feat later in day in a 4-2 loss to Danville in the championship game of the Montoursville Tournament here Saturday in boys soccer action.

“Overall, it was a decent day,” said Lezak. “It showed us exactly what we needed to see, and exactly what we need to work on.”

Athens 3, Montoursville 2

Athens scored three second-half goals to rally for a 3-2 win over Montoursville in the opening game of the tournament.

Dino Pulizzi scored in the 21st minute, and again in the 35th minutes to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead at the half.

Junior Brayden Post put Athens on the board five minutes into the second half to trim the deficit to 2-1.

Sophomore Korey Miller scored his first varsity goal, off an assist from senior Mason Hughey, with 5:53 remaining to tie the match at 2-2.

Just 75 seconds later, senior Nate Quinn, off a feed from Miller, netted the goaded goal.

“We changed up our line-up at half, and came back to get the win,” said Lezak.

Athens had a 7-6 edge in shots-on-goal. Both teams had three corner kicks.

Championship Game
Danville 4, Athens 2

Athens again rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie the game, but Danville scored two more goals late in the game for a 4-2 win in the championship game.

The Ironmen scored midway through the first half, and again with 9:50 remaining to take a 2-0 lead.

Senior Daniel Horton put the Wildcats on the board with an unassisted goal with 6:22 left in the first half.

With just 44 seconds remaining before the intermission, Quinn, off an assist from junior Tucker Brown, found the back of the net to tie the game at 2-2.

Danville scored with 13 1/2 minutes left in the contest, and again 10 minutes later to ice the win.

“Danville’s last two goals were just sloppy play on our part,” said Lezak.

Danville had an 8-6 edge in shots-on-goal, and a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks.

The Wildcats, now 1-1, host Towanda Tuesday, then travel to Midd-West Wednesday, and Horseheads Saturday.

“We have a tough week ahead of us, so we need to get some rest and get back to training Monday,” noted Lezak

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September 3, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — The Troy offense played keep away for the majority of the game, and the Trojan defense forced a pair of key first-half turnovers in a 13-0 win over Athens here Friday night in a key early-season NTL Large School Division football match-up at Alumni Stadium.

The Trojans ran 32 offensive plays in the first half, compared to just 14 for the Wildcats.

“(Troy) just lined up and ran it right at us,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “It was dive, it was iso, and it was toss.

“It’s pretty simple,” he said. “They just pounded the ball on the ground and kept it away from us for large chunks of time.

“We were really concerned that they were going to pound the ball at us, and that we’d get beat up at the line-of-scrimmage, but our kids played really solid at the line-of-scrimmage — on both sides of the ball,” added Young.

Young was pleased with his team’s defensive performance.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way our kids showed up and played.

“We played a really solid defensive game,” said Young. “We had one breakdown in the first half, it probably should have been 0-0 at halftime.

“In the second half, we just a couple of mistakes that beat us,” he added. “We played physical. We got after it.”

The Wildcats gained 114 yards on the ground on 25 carries, with senior Shayne Reid’s 80 yards on 10 carries leading the way.

Lister completed 11 of 19 passes for 79 yards. Reid had three catches for 21 yards, while freshman Kolsen Keathley had three receptions for 19 yards, and junior J.J. Babcock added two grabs for 27 yards.

“We did get some things going offensively here and there, but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Young. “We had a couple big turnovers that hurt us. We had a couple big penalties that hurt us, and we had a couple breakdowns in pass protection that hurt us.

“It seemed that every time we got something going offensively, one of those three things got us,” he added.

The Trojans turned the ball over on down on the opening possession of the game when senior Damien Landon was stopped short of the first-down marker on 4th-and-2 at the Troy 43.

The Trojan defense yielded just four yards on three plays, and forced an Athens punt.

After one first down, Troy faced a fourth-and-four at its own 38, but a 23-yard run by Landon on a fake punt kept the drive alive and moved the ball to the Athens 39.

Four plays later, Landon bulled ahead for eight yards to give the Trojans a second-and-2 at the Athens 18, but following an illegal procedure call against the Trojans, the drive stalled and the Wildcats took over on downs at their 21.

Two plays later, Reid broke free for 17 yards, but coughed the ball up, and Troy recovered at the Wildcat 41.

The Troy drive started poorly with a botched snap, and Landon needed a 3-yard pickup on fourth-and-2 at the Wildcat 33 to keep the drive alive.

On fourth-and-four at the Athens 13, sophomore Clayton Smith found junior Justice Chimics open for a 13-yard TD pass to give Troy a 6-0 lead with 7:02 remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats moved the ball to midfield on their next possession, but were forced to punt. Junior Caleb Nichols pinned the Trojans at their own 2 with a 48-yard punt.

The Athens defense forced a three-and-out, and the Wildcats took over at their own 38 with 1:54 remaining in the first half.

Lister connected with the 6-5 Babcock for a 24-yard gain to the Troy 14 on the Wildcats’ first play, but they coughed the ball up and the Trojans recovered at the 17 on the next play.

The Wildcats opened the second half with the ball, and drove to the Troy 29, thanks in large part to 26 yards on five carries by Reid, before turning the ball over on downs.

After an exchange of punts, Troy took over at its own 20 with 11:12 remaining in the contest.

A 29-yard run by Smith on Troy’s fourth play moved the ball to the Athens 40, and three plays later, Chimics broke loose on a 36-yard TD run to give the Trojans a 12-0 lead with 7:35 remaining in the game.

Keathley ripped off a 23-yard run on Athens’ first play of its ensuing possession, and Lister gained 13 yards on two carries to move the ball to the Troy 33, but the drive stalled out at the Trojan 29 with 6:12 remaining in the game.

After Troy punted the ball away, Athens moved the ball to midfield, but Troy standout lineman Mason Imbt registered a QB sack for a 15-yard loss, and the Wildcats possession ended on down two plays later.

Troy pounded out 247 rushing yards on 49 carries, with Landon and Smith leading the way. Landon gained 96 yards on 24 carries, and Smith added 95 yards on 16 carries. Chimics chipped in with 42 yards and one TD on three carries.

Three different Trojans — Chimics, Smith, and Woodward — completed passes to three different receivers — Jeff Roy, Chimics, and Jayden Renzo.

Troy, 1-1, hosts Central Columbia Friday, while Athens, 1-1, travels to Towanda.

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September 2, 2021 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens hosts Troy here tonight at Alumni Stadium in a key early-season Northern Tier League football contest. Kick-off is 7 p.m.

The Wildcats are coming off a 44-6 demolition of Hanover, while Troy also hosted a non-league foe — dropping a 20-0 decision to Bald Eagle Area.

“Troy lost a tough game to a solid football team (in Week 1),” said Athens coach Jack Young. “There’s no disguising what Troy, they are a good mix of physical kids.”

“It’s going to be a huge test for us in Week 2,” noted Young. “We will see what we’re made of.

“Troy presents certain things to you, and you have to play the game a little differently against them,” he added.

The Trojan cornerstone is two-way lineman Mason Imbt, who stands in at 6-3, 300 pounds.

“Obviously, they are led up from by Imbt, who is a mountain of a kid,” said Young. “He plays really hard — he gives 100 percent on every snap. He’s fun to watch … you don’t see many kids like him.”


Troy rushed for 153 yards in Week 1, led by 75 yards on 19 carries by senior Damien Landon. The Trojans threw for 45 more, with QB Justice Chimics completing 6 of 10 passes attempts. He was intercepted twice.

Young said there is no mystery about what Troy brings to the table offensively.

“We’re going to see two backs in the backfield, and they are going to run it at us about four different ways,” said Young. “They’ll run a little option, then they’ll run a little power… we have to be able to at least hold our own at the line-of-scrimmage.”


The Wildcats ran for 278 yards, and added 101 more through the air. Senior Shayne Reid rushed for 144 yards and two TDs on 11 carries, and added a 26-yard TD reception, while junior QB Mason Lister completed 6 of 10 passes for 101 yards, and three TDs.

Young said the Trojans will rely on their big defensive line to free up their linebackers and defensive backfield to make plays.

“For the most part, Troy is a three-man front,” he said. “They put their big dudes up front to occupy space, and they let their athletes run to the football. They have some linebackers who play the game very well.

“We have to be prepared, and use the entire width of the field, and try to take our shots when we have them,” added Young.

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August 31, 2021 Tim Birney

TOWANDA — Freshman Dylan Saxon finished fourth, and helped Athens to a third-place finish here Tuesday afternoon in NTL golf action at the Towanda Country Club.

Wyalusing earned first-place honors on the day with a four-player aggregate score of 370, while Wellsboro was second with a 395, Athens shot a 404, Towanda was fourth with a 448, Cowanesque Valley was fifth with a 454, and North Penn-Mansfield was sixth with at 502.

Sayre did not field a full team due to Covid quarantines that led to the absence of three starters.

Wyalusing junior Brody Fuhrey won low-medal honors with a round of 86, while NP-M junior Andrew Green and Wyalusing sophomore Nick Salsman tied for second with rounds of 89.

Saxon shot a 90 to lead the Valley contingent, while Athens junior Cam Sullivan and Sayre senior Dylan Seck tied for ninth with rounds of 96, and Athens sophomore Evan Cooper finished 11th with a 97.

Sayre senior Dom Fabbri finished 19th with a 104, and Sayre junior Colton Watkins was 20th with a 105.

Junior Lucas Kraft rounded out the Wildcat scoring with a 121, while sophomore Sean Clare and freshman Keaton Sinsabaugh each tacked on non-scoring rounds of 123.

The NTL golfers return to action Tuesday at Corey Creek Golf Course in Mansfield.

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August 27, 2021 Tim Taylor

ATHENS — Athens scored early and often to roll to a 44-6 season-opening victory over Hanover Area here Friday night.

The Wildcats scored on six of their first seven possessions in the non-league contest. Four touchdowns came through the air as they built a 30-6 halftime cushion.

"Anytime you can win a game like that, it's a good feeling," Athens coach Jack Young said. "We did a lot of good things and we have a lot of places to improve on, but we'll take it.

"A lot of people contributed on both sides of the ball."

Troy Pritchard's sack to force a Hanover punt set up the game's first score. Junior quarterback Mason Lister connected with Karter Rude on a 26-yard TD strike in the corner of the end zone with 8:01 left on the first-quarter clock. Shayne Reid's PAT kick made it 7-0.

The Hawks turned the ball over on downs on its next possession and Athens turned it into a a 5-yard scoring run by Caleb Nichols. Xavier Ankner blocked the PAT attempt, leaving Athens up, 13-0, with 2:06 to go in the period.

Hanover would punt again, but Lister was intercepted by Jake Zola on the next series and he would return it to the Athens 21. Three plays later, Zola pulled down an 18-yard TD pass from Christian Torres, but the kick was blocked and the Wildcat lead was 13-6 with 10:57 left in the half.

Athens took a bloop kickoff at its own 38 and Reid picked up 43 yards on two carries. Following an exchange of penalties and a pair of short runs by Chris Bathgate, Lister hit 6-foot-5 wide receiver JJ Babcock in the end zone and Reid's PAT kick pushed the lead to 20-6 with 8:01 remaining before intermission.

The Hawks turned the ball over on downs at their own 32, setting up Athens for another TD. This time,  Lister connected with Reid on a 26-yard TD pass, and Reid's kick made it 27-6 with 4:41 left in the half.

On the Wildcats' next possession, Reid kicked a 29-yard field goal with 61 ticks on the first-half clock.

Jared Peterson picked off a Torres pass with 32 seconds left in the half and Lister took a knee to end the half with his team up, 30-6.

Athens' ability to take advantage of the run and pass possibilities played into its big lead.

"You've got to open things up," Young said. "We had a couple of penalties that killed us, which killed us on the kick off and gave them field position and I think we sulked a little bit. We felt sorry for ourselves."

The Wildcats were flagged seven times for 65 yards.

"That’s a football game right there," Young said. "You know, momentum, old momentum, and they took care of it and we just preached a little bit on the sideline about getting ourselves back where we belong and the kids turned it around themselves. We've got great senior leadership, great senior leadership."

Peterson opened the second half with a 41-yard kickoff return to the Hanover 35. Six plays later, Reid, who appeared to be stuffed at the line of scrimmage, squirted through the line for a 14-yard scoring run and his kick gave Athens a 37-6 cushion with 8:39 on the clock.

The Hawks responded with 64-yard Torres-to-Sean Dooner TD pass, but Dooner was flagged for pushing off and the ball came back to the Hanover 21.

The next several minutes saw a few Athens defensive gems. Brandon Jennings sacked Torres, teammate Ethan Wilcox crunched Jeremy Vega for a 5-yard-loss as he received the handoff, Pritchard received credit for a second sack when Torres bobbled the pigskin and took a knee, and Skylar Matthews added a sack.

Pritchard's initial sack of the night on Hanover's first possession was the Wildcats' first big play of the game and was notable as Pritchard wears the No. 13 jersey and the team has 13 on their helmets — a tribute to Brayden Taylor Murrelle, a Class of 2019 graduate who passed away earlier this year.

Jaden Wright scored Athens' final TD on a 5-yard run with 7:09 remaining in the game and Reid's kick made it a 44-6 final.

There were some mental mistakes which the Wildcats need to clean up if they hope to continue performing at a high level.

"Some things got chaotic," Young said. "At some of the skill positions, we're pretty deep. We feel good about that. Playing on a hot night ... it's pretty slimy out here and we knew cramping could be a situation, but we feel good with our skills because we've got so many. We were able to give them rest early in the game. We feel confident that we can do that in any situation. We feel good about that.

"We've just got to keep getting the first half. We got a little sloppy and as we talked at halftime, some of that when we're substituting and not creating chaos, that's just as much on the coaches as the players, so we've got to improve there. We've got to get better in the mental part of the game."

Athens outgained Hanover, 379-50. Reid carried the rock 11 times for 144 yards and caught one pass for 26 more. Lister completed six of 10 pass attempt for 101 yards, three going for TDs. Babcock caught three passes for 33 yards.

The Wildcats received some nice efforts from Kolsen Keathley, who rushed for 47 yards on six carries, and Wright, who tacked on 43 on six runs.

Young likes what he saw in the opener, but also knows the areas which need improvement.

"I think we've got to get better on special teams, but we’ll take it, week one against an opponent we've had a couple dog fights with the last few years and they've got some tough kids," Young said. "They've got some linemen that can really play and I felt like, without looking at film, our offensive line played pretty well."

Athens hosts Troy, which had its season opener postponed, Friday evening.

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August 25, 2021 Tim Birney

WAVERLY — Sayre, led by low medalist senior Kannon VanDuzer, and Athens finished 1-2 in the opening NTL golf match of the season here on a steamy Wednesday afternoon at The Club at Shepard Hills.

“I was proud of the way the kids played today,” said Sayre coach Jamie VanDuzer. “The heat was brutal, so I think a few got tired by the end.

“Our new guys played pretty good for their first time out,” he noted. “Most are nervous not knowing how the matches work, but I felt they settled in and did OK.

“I think other than Kannon (VanDuzer), the team wasn’t too pleased with their scores, and feel they will score better going forward.

“The league looks to be down score-wise, but the top 10 or 15 should be pretty competitive,“ added VanDuzer. “It will be fun.”

The Redskins shot a four-man aggregate score of 377, edging out the Wildcats by 1 stroke. Wellsboro was third in with a 382, while Wyalusing was fourth with a 399, Towanda was fifth at 440, Cowanesque was sixth at 444, and North Penn-Mansfield was seventh at 481.

VanDuzer shot a 79 on the 5,695-yard, par-72 course, including an even-par 35 on the back nine. He birdied the 100-yard, par-3 16th hole, and the 447-yard, par-5 18th hole to finish off his day.

NP-M junior Andrew Green was second for the day with an 83, while junior Cam Sullivan led Athens with an 88 to finish third.

Athens sophomore Evan Cooper finished fifth with a 92, and freshman Dylan Saxon was eighth with a 94, while junior Lucas Kraft was 17th with a 104, and freshman Sean Clare was 20th with a non-scoring round of 105.

Sayre senior Dylan Seck was 11th with a round of 96, while junior Colton Watkins was 15th with a 99, and junior Colton Watkins was 16th with a 103.

Seniors Josh Arnold and Dom Fabbri added non-scoring rounds of 108 for the Redskins.

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