October 1, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Junior Korey Miller had a career day, scoring four goals in the first half to lead Athens to a 4-1 win over Northeast Bradford here Saturday morning in NTL boys soccer action to cap off a successful Homecoming Weekend.

Miller scored his first three goals in less than five minutes to put the Wildcats up 3-0 with 29:53 remaining in the half.

“We played a great game today,” said Athens coach Jake Lezak. “The boys moved the ball well and created opportunities on goal.

“Korey (Miller) had an incredible game today,” added Lezak. “He was a workhorse on offense.”

Miller’s first goal came when he collected a loose ball in the box following an Athens corner kick, and drove it into the back of the net with 34:18 remaining in the half.

Just 30 seconds later, Miller took a feed from Mitch Hamilton and drove a shot from close range to make it 2-0.

Nearly four minutes later, Miller again beat the keeper to complete his hat trick.

With 6:25 left in the half, Miller poked the ball between the legs of a defender in the box, stepped around him, and beat the keeper with a hard shot to make it 4-0.

Athens had a 9-2 advantage in shots-on-goal, and a 6-2 edge in corner kicks.

Senior Grant Liechty had two saves in net for the Wildcats.

Athens, now 8-5-1, returns to action Thursday at Troy.

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September 30, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Athens overcame a “really, really ugly first half.” and used a pair of special teams TDs to  blow open a close game en route to a 34-0 win over NTL Large School football rival Towanda here on a Homecoming Friday night at Alumni Stadium.

The Wildcats were penalized 11 times for 140 yards in the first half, and led 7-0 at the intermission.

“We shot ourselves in both feet,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “It’s really, really hard to play a game making those kinds of mistakes — it’s no different than turnovers.

“And, we turned the ball over once in the first half … continually shot ourselves in the feet.

“The first half was really, really ugly,” added Young.

On the flip side, the Wildcat defense, which held the Black Knights to just 127 yards in total offense in the game, covered up some of the first-half warts.

“Our defense was well-prepared … as a whole we played very, very well on defense,” said Young. “We didn’t give up any big plays, and we won the turnover battle.”

At the half, Young asked his team to cut down on the mistakes.

“The first half was crazy, but we struck together,” said Young. “At halftime, we didn’t really make any adjustments. We just talked about what we needed to eliminate.

“We cleaned up the penalties a little bit in the second half, and our offense got untracked,” he added.

The Wildcats were flagged six more times in the second half and the game with 17 penalties for 215 yards.

“The penalties the last three weeks have been way out of control, and that’s on me and my coaching staff,” said Young. “We have to get better with the penalties.”

The key plays in the second half were a 61-yard punt return for a score by senior Lucas Horton, and a blocked punt by senior Glenn Romberger, who also scooped it up and returned it 20 yards for a TD.

“We talked all week about special teams … we felt we needed to win the special teams battle, and we did,” said Young. “I can’t say we work extensively each week on all of our special teams, but this week we did.

“We spent a lot of time on our punt return and kick return games. We spent a little extra time this week, because we felt we weren’t getting the job done as well as we could,” he noted. “It paid off.

“I really felt we could pressure their punter, not even with the intent of blocking the punt, but a lot of times that pressure can result in a poor punt.

“We set up a return, and Luke (Horton) did a tremendous job getting to the wall,” added Young. “He’s a big guy, but when he gets to the corner he’s going to turn on the jets … and he may have that big body, but when puts the pedal to the medal, he’s moving.

The lone score of the first half was a 26-yard TD pass from senior QB Mason Lister to Horton in the first quarter. Lister’s PAT kick made it 7-0.

Senior tailback Caleb Nichols scored on a 4-yard TD run midway through the third quarter, and Lister’s PAT kick made it 14-0.

The Wildcat defense forced a Towanda punt on its next possession. Horton let it drop, and it rolled dead at the Athens 26. However, with a flag on the play against Towanda, Young chose to have the Knights punt again.

Horton scooped this one up on the bounce at the far hash, made his way to the home sidelines, turned the corner behind a wall of blockers, and raced 61 yards for a score on the final play of the third quarter to make it 20-0.

Towanda, which had nine penalties for 77 yards, was penalized on the ensuing kickoff, and started at their own 25. After a three-and-out, Romberger blocked Justin Schoonover’s punt, scooped it up and returned it 20 yards for a score. Lister’s PAT kick made it 27-0 with 9:21 remaining in the contest.

The Black Knights’ next possession resulted in a punt, and Romberger once again broke free and blocked it. He again scooped it up, but was hauled down at the Towanda 25.

Moments later, Lister connected with Horton on a 24-yard TD pass. Lister’s PAT kick made it 34-0.

“We talk about the three phases of the game — tackling, the turnover battle, and big plays,” said Young. “We feel if we can win those three areas, we’re going to be successful. In the end tonight, in the second half, we took care of business.”

Lister completed 14 of 24 passes for 221 yards and two TDs, while being picked off twice.

Horton led Athens’ receivers with three catches for 78 yards and two TDs, while junior Josh Martin had three grabs for 58 yards, sophomore Xavier Watson had three catches for 47 yards, and senior Matt Machmer had three receptions for 17 yards.

“We threw the ball to a lot of people tonight,” said Young. “That’s one thing we’ve tried to better at — spreading the wealth, so defenses can’t take away our one guy. I think we’re doing a pretty good job with that.”

Nichols led the Athens ground game with 112 yards and one TD on 13 carries, and Lister added 29 yards on six carries.

Sophomore Riley Vanderpool led Towanda with 80 yards on 23 carries.

Grady Flynn completed 8 of 21 passes for 52 yards and one interception. Schoonover led Towanda with three catches for 29 yards.

Athens, now 4-2, travels to North Penn-Mansfield Friday.

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September 29, 2022 Tim Birney

WILLIAMSPORT — Junior Evan Cooper and sophomore Dylan Saxon are in contention to advance to States after Day 1 of the District 4, Class AAA Golf Championships here Thursday at the Williamsport Country Club.

As a team, the Wildcats placed second in the Class AAA standings. Selinsgrove won the team title with a four-man aggregate of 358, while Athens tallied 369, Jersey Shore was third at 374, and Milton was fourth at 395.

"We played well on a tough golf course,” said Athens coach Lenny Pientka. “It’s long, with high roughs, and lightning fast greens.

“We finished second in the District to a  very good Selinsgrove team,” he noted. “We definitely had our chances, but that's golf.

“With basically the same group back next year, we will give it a run for the team title,” Pientka added.

In the individual tournament, Selinsgrove’s Sam Wetmiller topped the field on Day 1 with a 4-over par round of 75 on the 6,156-yard, par-71 course.

Cooper was second with an 82, while Selinsgrove’s Mike Felty, Jersey Shore’s Carter Girton, and Milton’s Cade Wirnsberger each shot rounds of 86, and are tied for third. Saxon is in sixth place with an 87.

“Evan Cooper and Dylan Saxon both still have a good chance to get to States with good rounds on Saturday,” said Pientka.

The top eight advanced to Saturday’s second round. The eighth-place finisher, Shikellamy’s Luke Fatool shot a 90.

Missing the cut were junior Nicholas Jacob and sophomore Brady Darrow, who tied for 14th with rounds of 100, and senior Lucas Kraft, who was 16th with a 101.

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September 28, 2022 Tim Birney

TIOGA JUNCTION, Pa. — Athens and Williamson walked on the pitch here Wednesday afternoon tied for second place in the NTL boys soccer standings, and 100 minutes of scoreless action later — a 0-0 double-OT draw — the two teams were fittingly still tied.

Athens and Williamson are both 6-1-1 in the NTL — trailing front-running Wellsboro, which is 8-0.

Longtime Athens coach Jake Lezak felt his Wildcats controlled the action throughout.

“We played very well,” said Lezak. “We controlled the flow of the game for a majority of the match, but just didn’t finish. The boys created a lot of opportunities but kept sending it to their keeper.

“The defensive side for us looked great as a team,” added Lezak. “We limited their chances and kept the pressure up the field.”

Athens had an 8-4 advantage in shots-on-goal, including a hard shot off the crossbar by senior Brayden Post.

Senior Grant Liechty had four saves in net for the Wildcats.

Athens, now 7-5-1, hosts NEB Saturday.

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September 27, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Troy was able to force a fourth set, but Athens got back on the winning track with a 3-1 win here Tuesday night in NTL Large School Division volleyball action.

The Lady Wildcats, who snap a three-game skid with the win, won the first two sets by scores of 25-16 and 25-14, before the Lady Trojans prevailed, 25-17, in the third set. Athens closed out the match with a 25-20 win in the fourth set.

Senior Jenny Ryan led Athens with four points, six kills, two blocks, 16 setter assists, and 17 digs, while senior Audrey Clare had seven kills, seven assists, and 11 digs, and junior Emily Marshall chipped in with three points, including two aces.

Kassie Babcock had two points, six kills, and eight digs in the win, while senior Cassy Friend registered five kills and three blocks, senior Cailin McDaniel added five kills and two digs, sophomore Ella Coyle recorded 22 digs, and senior Braelyn Wood notched 13 digs.

Athens, now 4-5, returns to action Thursday at North Penn-Liberty.

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September 27, 2022 Tim Birney

TOWANDA — The Athens girls remained unbeaten, and atop the NTL Large School standings with a win over Towanda here Tuesday afternoon, while the Wildcat boys dropped a decision in cross country action.

Athens 21, Towanda 34

Junior Thea Bentley, senior Emma Bronson, and sophomore Sara Bronson finished 1-2-3, clocking in with the same time, to lead Athens to a 21-34 win over Towanda.

The Lady Wildcat trio clocked in with a time of 24:16, while junior Emily Henderson finished seventh in 27:59, and freshman Olivia Cheresnowsky was eighth in 29:00.

Janae Harkins finished 11th in 33:13, and Mary Rose Bertsch was 13th in 41:20.

Towanda 22, Athens 37

Athens senior Ethan Denlinger pulled out a first-place finish, but the next three — and five of the next six — runners to cross the finish line were from Towanda, propelling them to a 22-37 win over the Wildcats.

Denlinger clocked in at 19:08, and sophomore Ethan Hicks placed fifth for the Wildcats in 19:47, while junior Nate Prickitt was ninth in 21:26, and sophomore Ronel Ankam was 10th in 22:23.

Sophomore Aiden Oldroyd was 12th for Athens in 22:23, while freshman Caleb Simwale was 13th in 23:57, and sophomore Pierce Oldroyd (25:05), freshman Aiden Pollock-Sinsabaugh (25:12), freshman Andrew DeForrest (26:01), Gerigh Thurston (29:31), and Lohith Kinthala (30:15) finished 15th through 19th, respectively.

Athens 15, Towanda 41

Led by Graham Wanck, the Wildcats had the top five finishers in a 15-41 win over Towanda in the junior high race.

Wanck clocked in at 10:01, while Eli Hick (11:09), Matthew Rossettie (11:55), Jacob Shores (11:59), and Zachary Fisher (12:06) finished second through fifth, respectively.

Isaac Roy placed 10th in 14:25 for the Wildcats, and Johnny Roberts was 12th in 15:30.

Towanda 15, Athens 50

Athens’ Alissa Vough won the girls race in 12:42, and Abigail Conklin was seventh in 19:20.

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September 27, 2022 Tim Birney

WYALUSING — Senior Ally Thoman scored four goals to lead Athens in a come-from-behind, 5-3, win over Wyalusing here Tuesday afternoon in NTL girls soccer action.

“We played a great game for 80 minutes against a very tough team,” said Athens coach Rich Pitts. “I’m super-proud of how we buckled down second half and defended as a team brilliantly.

“I thought the back four and (keeper) Karlee (Bartlow) held it down, while we sorted it out in the first half,” noted Pitts. “Then, we really got in rhythm the second half offensively and put in two quality finishes.”

The first half was a shoot-out.

Addison Bly scored an unassisted goal about 2 1/2 minutes into the contest to give Wyalusing a 1-0 lead, but Thoman scored off a feed from sophomore Addy Wheeler just 46 seconds later to tie the game at 1-1.

About 5 1/2 minutes later, Thoman scored an unassisted goal from 25 yards out on a shot off the keeper’s hands to make it 2-1.

With 23:41 remaining in the half, Bly, off an assist from Olivia Haley, scored to tie the game at 2-2. About 7 1/2 minutes later, Haley found the back of the net to give the Lady Rams a 3-2 lead.

With just 1:39 left in the first half, Thoman scored on a direct kick that sailed over the keeper’s hands and into the side of the net to tie game at 3-3, which is where it stood at the intermission.

About 12 1/2 minute into the second half, senior Taylar Fisher collected a rebound in the box, and drove a shot into the side of the net to put the Lady Wildcats ahead, 4-3.

With 2:07 remaining in the contest, Thoman tacked on an insurance goal with a bender from the corner to extend the lead to 5-3.

Wyalusing had a 9-8 edge in shots-on-goal, while Athens had a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.

Senior Karlee Bartlow recorded six saves in net for the Lady Wildcats.

Athens, now 4-5-1, hosts Northeast Bradford Saturday morning.

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September 26, 2022 Tim Birney

CHEMUNG — Athens junior Evan Cooper earned low-medal honors, and the Wildcats top four golfer finished in the top 12 as they finished off a perfect NTL season here in the final league golf match of the season at Tomasso’s Golf Course.

The Wildcats, who finish the season at 42-0, shot a four-man aggregate score of 348, 20 strokes ahead of runner-up North Penn-Mansfield, which had its best finish of the season.

Wyalusing finished third with a 376, while Wellsboro was fourth with a 379, Cowanesque Valley was fifth with a 383, Towanda was sixth with a 423, and Sayre was seventh in 462.

Cooper shot a round of 81, which included a pair of birdies, on the par-69 course, while Wildcats sophomore Dylan Saxon was fourth with an 86, junior Brady Darrow was sixth with an 88, and senior Sean Clare was 12th with a 93.

Junior Nicholas Jacob was 15th with a non-scoring round of 96, and senior Lucas Kraft was 17th with a non-scoring round of 97.

Senior Jackson Hubbard led Sayre with a 107, while senior Kegan Hayford had a 109, freshman Cole Homer carded a 122, and freshman Karter Green added a 124.

Juniors Tanner Green and David Hall Jr. added non-scoring rounds of 130 and 131, respectively, for the Redskins.

The District 4 Championships are Thursday and Saturday at Williamsport Country Club.

1. ATHENS, 42-0; 2. WYALUSING, 33-9; 3. (tie) WELLSBORO and NP-MANSFIELD, 25-17; 5. COWANESQUE VALLEY, 15-27; 6. TOWANDA, 6-30; 7. SAYRE, 0-42.

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September 26, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Junior Korey Miller had three goals and two assists, and senior Brayden Post also had a hat trick to pace Athens in a 9-1 rout of Towanda here Monday night in NTL boys soccer action at Alumni Stadium.

Post scored an unassisted goal just 27 seconds into the contest to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead, then scored again, off a feed from Miller, about 20 1/2 minutes later to make it 2-0.

Miller notched his first goal, off an assist from sophomore Marco Quiros, with 1:57 remaining in the half to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead, which it carried into the halftime break.

Post, off a feed from Miller, scored just 81 seconds after the intermission to finish off his hat trick and give Athens a 4-0 lead.

Miller scored off an assist from senior Levent VanHelden about 6 1/2 minutes later to extend the lead to 5-0.

Jack Wheaton put Towanda on the board with 28:34 remaining in the contest, closing the gap to 5-1.

Senior Caleb Hunsinger scored the first of his two goals two minutes later to make it 6-1.

Miller finished off his hat trick with 14:22 left in the contest, and junior Mitch Hamilton and Hunsinger capped the scoring in the final 5 1/2 minutes.

Athens had a 23-3 advantage in shots-on-goal, and a 9-1 edge in corner kicks.

Senior Grant Liechty had two saves in net for the Wildcats.

Athens, now 7-5, returns to action Wednesday at Williamson.

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September 24, 2022 Tim Birney

ATHENS — Corning scored three goals in the final 23 minutes, including two in the closing minutes, to blow open a close game and win a 5-1 decision over Athens here Friday night in non-league boys soccer action at Alumni Stadium.

After nearly 39 minutes of scoreless soccer, Corning’s Carter Rosno, who netted a hat trick for the Hawks, scored with 1:03 remaining in the first half.

Corning’s Jackson Casey made it 2-0 less than two minutes into the second half.

Junior Korey Miller put the Wildcats on the board with an unassisted goal with 29:30 remaining in the contest, but Rosno scored about 6 1/2 minutes later to push the lead back to two goals, at 3-1.

Rosno scored again with 4:45 remaining, and Colton Loeber tacked on the final tally for the Hawks with 1:02 remaining.

Corning had a 19-4 advantage in shots-on-goal, and a 7-0 edge in corner kicks.

Athens, now 6-4, returns to action Monday at Towanda. Game time is 6 p.m.

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September 24, 2022 Tim Birney

OWEGO — Sophomore Ethan Hicks and senior Ethan Denlinger both turned in top-10 performances  to lead Athens to a fourth-place finish in the Large School Division here Saturday morning at the Owego Cross Country Invitational.

 “We were really happy with how today went,  the kids ran well in very competitive, deep fields,” said Athens coach Mike Bronson. “We had a lot of kids run PRs or near PRs. Today showed we are making progress.”

Vestal won the team title with 35 placement points, while runner-up Union-Endicott had 69 points, Owego accumulated 77 points, and Athens tallied 124 points. Horseheads was fifth with 129 points.

Hicks finished ninth in a time of 17:25.8, and Denlinger was 10th in 17:28.2, while junior Nate Prickitt was 29th in 18:58.9, sophomore Ronel Ankam was 36th in 19:18.6, and freshman Sam Sensing was 46th in 20:36.0

Sophomore Aiden Oldroyd (22:18.8) and freshman Caleb Simwale (22:37.0) finished 53rd and 54th, respectively.

Large School Division

Athens’ top five runners all finished in the top nine as the Wildcats ran away with the Large School Division team title.

Athens tallied 23 placement points, well ahead of runner-up Union-Endicott’s 67 points. Horseheads was third with 71 points, Owego fourth with 83 points, and Maine-Endwell was fifth with 91 points.

Graham Wanck won the race by more than a minute, clocking in at 8:46, while Athens’ Eli Hicks was runner-up at 9:48.

Jacob Shores finished fifth in a time of 10:08, while Matt Rosette was seventh in 10:12, and Zach Fisher was ninth in 10:36.

Darious Miller was 22nd for Athens in 11:40,, while Isaac Roy was 30th in 12:32, and Johnny Roberts was 39th in 14:33.

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September 24, 2022 Tim Birney

OWEGO — Sophomore Sara Bronson finished third, and senior Emma Bronson was 10th to pace Athens to a fourth-place finish in the Large School Division here Saturday at the Owego Cross Country Invitational.

 “We were really happy with how today went,  the kids ran well in very competitive, deep fields,” said Athens coach Mike Bronson. “We had a lot of kids run PRs or near PRs. Today showed we are making progress.”

U-E won the Large School team title with 71 placement points, while runner-up Horseheads had 80 points, third-place finisher Owego had 82 points, and Athens tallied 108. Elmira finished fifth with 112 points.

Sara Bronson clocked in at 19:27.3, and Emma Bronson finished in 21:13.8, while junior Thea Bentley was 18th in 21:57.2, and junior Emily Henderson was 32nd in 24:03.7.

Freshman Olivia Cheresnowsky finished 46th in 25:04.6, and senior Abby Prickitt was 49th in 25:28.7.

Large School Division

Seventh-grader Alisa Vough won the Large School Division modified race in a time of 11:06.6, more than 51 seconds faster than the runner-up.

Abigail Conklin was 36th for the junior Wildcats in a time of 16:46.5.

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September 23, 2022 Chris Manning

TROY — Athens couldn’t take advantage of prime field position early, and didn’t have an answer for Troy’s run game as it lost, 32-7, in NTL Large School football action here Friday at Alparon Park.

“You take your lumps, and you take the whooping that you got,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “You know, we had our opportunities, we didn’t take advantage of them. The kids fought well — it was a physical football game. This was probably the most physical football game we played. And our guys flew around, and we made some plays, but we just weren’t good enough.”

Athens’ first two possessions started inside Troy territory, but they came away empty-handed both times. The breaks also went against them, as in the second quarter twice they nearly had miraculous catches that would have resulted in scores fall to the ground.

But, defensively, they just had no answer for Troy’s run game, as the Trojans powered their way to 355 yards on the ground off 53 carries, choosing to throw it just twice.

“We’re going to learn from it, and we’re going to move on,” said Young. “You know, hats off to Troy, they’re a well-coached team, they’re playing with a ton of confidence, and sometimes that’s tough to beat, and tonight we weren’t good enough.”

Quarterback Mason Lister was 11-for-22 for 98 yards with one pick, while his top target was Josh Martin, who had four catches for 51 yards. Luke Horton also had 31 yards receiving on three catches.

It was a relatively balanced day for the Wildcats, as they ran the ball 23 times versus 22 passes, though some of those runs were Lister trying to escape the Trojan pressure.

“We felt like we had an advantage there,” Young said about the pass. “But, again, we didn’t execute. If we didn’t get the ball out of our hands, we failed with pass protection. We had a couple of big drops in the first half, and that hurts. We haven’t had drops in a few weeks, and those guys are great guys, so they’re going to correct themselves, and they’re going to make big plays moving forward.”

On the ground, Athens was led by Caleb Nichols, and his 54 yards on 11 carries, including a touchdown.

“We ran the ball a little bit effectively, maybe in hindsight we should have run the ball a little bit more,” said Young. “But it was just part of the game plan to come out, and get the ball out of our hands, and try to beat their defenders one-on-one, which we did at times, but other times we didn’t.”

Troy’s Clayton Smith had himself a night, with 222 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 22 carries.

“That’s what they do,” Young said about Troy. “And that’s all they do. And they stick to it. I don’t know if they threw the ball three times. And we knew it, we knew what we were getting, but, you know, we’ve got to be better.”

The Wildcats took the opening kick-off, and, thanks to a blindside hit by the Trojans, started the drive at the Troy 44-yard line. After another Troy penalty they were down to the 30.

From there the drive fizzled, though, as even though Lister completed three straight passes, Troy’s tacklers kept Athens’ receivers from getting away, and the Wildcats turned it over on downs.

However, Athens made something happen on Troy’s ensuing drive, as they recovered a fumble on the first play, taking over at the Trojan’s 30-yard line.

Three plays later, it was Troy getting the takeaway, as Smith caught a tipped pass for the pick.

That’s when Troy did what they do best, and went on a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended with a Smith 5-yard touchdown run. Smith ran the ball six times for 35-yards on the possession, including a big 7-yard gainer on third-and-7 to keep the drive alive.

Athens blocked the extra point, but it was 6-0 Trojans with 2:03 left in the first quarter.

The Wildcat offense showed signs of life on their next drive, as Lister round Martin for a 20-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. That was followed by a Nichols 13-yard run, getting them down tot he Trojan 34-yard line.

That’s where it stalled, though, as a sack on third-and-2 ultimately forced a Wildcat punt.

Troy took over at their own 18-yard line, and Smith got things started with a 46-yard run off an option pitch from Evan Woodward down inside Athens territory.

From there, they continued to chip away, as they used five more plays to get inside the 10. Athens’ defense would stiffen up, ultimately forcing a 4th-and-1 on the Trojans, but Kael Millard picked it up with a 2-yard gain.

Two plays later, Millard punched it in from a yard out to finish off the 12-play, 82-yard drive. The 2-point conversion was no good, and Troy led 12-0 with 5:18 left in the half.

The Wildcats found some more success on their ensuing drive, with a 21-yard pass play of Lister to Martin getting them down to the Trojan 6-yard line.

However, on the ensuing play Lister was called for intentional grounding, backing Athens up to the 20-yard line for second-and-goal.

They would get to the 16 for 4th-and-goal, with Lister’s pass over the middle tipped to Horton. Horton nearly hauled it in for the touchdown, but it dropped to the ground, giving Troy the ball.

The Wildcats would force another Troy turnover, this time on a Kolsen Keathley interception.

Their ensuing drive went nowhere, though, even as a Lister pass to Xavier Watson went through his hands after it was tipped by Troy.

The Trojans got the second half kick-off, and on the first play from scrimmage Smith went 60-yards untouched off an inside hand-off to pay dirt. The 2-point conversion was no good, but the Trojans led 18-0 with 11:46 on the clock.

Athens’ first drive in the second half ended up in a punt attempt, but the ball went through Horton’s hands. He tried to run it, but was tackled for a 12-yard loss, giving Troy the ball on the Wildcat 31-yard line.

It took them five plays to get into the end zone, the key play being a 19-yard from Mason Smith. It was Clayton who got the touchdown, though, on an 8-yard run. Justice Chimics added the point after, making it 25-0 with 7:14 on the clock.

The Wildcats got to midfield on the following drive, but a holding call, followed by a sack from Clayton Smith, ultimately forced them to punt.

That set up Troy’s final scoring drive, as they went 77 yards on 11 plays, ending with a 7-yard Clayton Smith run. A 17-yard run from Clayton Smith on 2nd-and-long, followed by a 12-yard Evan Woodward run on third-and-7 four plays later keyed the drive.

Chimics’ kick was good, and it was 32-0 Trojans with 10:19 left to play.

Thats when Athens made something of this nightmare, going on a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive themselves. A 12-yard Lister run on third-and-4 kept the sticks moving, followed four players later by a Nichols three-yard carry on fourth down to keep the drive alive.

Three plays after that, Nichols took a late counter hand-off 21-yards to the house for Athens’ touchdown. Lister added the point after, and it was 32-7 with 6:17 left to play.

The Wildcats never saw the ball again, though, as Troy ran out the final six minutes and change with a 10-play drive, converting two fourth downs to finish with the ball.

Despite the setback, Young feels his team is better than they showed at Alparon Park.

“I don’t think tonight’s an indicator of what kind of football team we are,” he said. “It was a chaotic week, and, you know, at times, our preparation didn’t look like it was on target. At times we were in the wrong places, and this like that, but, you know, a lot that’s on coaching. We’ll take that, and we’ll get better from it.”

The Wildcats, now 3-2, will host divisional rival Towanda next Friday for homecoming.

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September 22, 2022 Tim Birney

WYALUSING — Wyalusing pulled out a tightly-contested first set, then cruised to a sweep of Athens here Thursday night in NTL volleyball action.

The Lady Rams won the first set, 26-24, then closed out the match with wins of 25-12 and 25-18.

“We are really distracted, we have been playing distracted for a bit now,” said Athens coach Heather Hanson. “I think I am coaching distracted, too.

“We are always worried about the next play before the play that is in motion is finished, coach included.

We’re going back to one point at a time mindset and focus,” added Hanson. “Reset and regroup … don’t really know what else to say.”

Jenny Ryan led Athens with two aces, nine digs, nine setter assists, three kills, and one block, while Audrey Clare had there kills and seven digs, Braelynn Wood had three kills and nine digs, and Kassie Babcock had two kills and two assists.

Ella Coyle recorded seven digs for the Lady Wildcats, while Emily Marshall added six digs, Cailin McDaniel chipped in with two kills, and Cassy Friend registered two blocks.

Athens, now 3-3, is on the road Saturday to play Lake Lehman and Blue Ridge.

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September 22, 2022 Tim Birney

TOWANDA — Athens scored early in the game, but played more than 90 minutes without another goal in a 1-1 double-overtime tie against Towanda here Thursday evening in NTL girls soccer action.

“I thought after an emotional game on Tuesday (2-1 win over Wyalusing), we came out strong and got a goal early, then towanda battled well thru the first half to keep it that way,” said Athens coach Rich Pitts.

“In the second half, and especially in OT, we just continued to have chance after chance but could not get a goal,” Pitts added.

Athens is now 3-5-1 on the season, and had a 3-2-1 record in NTL play.

“I know our record doesn’t look fantastic, but I am so proud of the work these girls put in daily,” said Pitts. “We will fix it, as they were unhappy getting on the bus tonight.

“It’s how you finish the race, not how you start it, and I believe in them 100 percent,” added Pitts. “Adversity brings opportunity.”

Senior Ally Thoman scored on a rocket shot from 35 yards out that went off the keeper’s hands and into the net in the seventh minute of the game to give Athens a 1-0 lead it would enjoy for nearly 50 minutes.

With 15:49 remaining in regulation. the Lady Black Knights tied the score on a goal by Anna Dunn.
The two teams finished regulation, and two 10-minute overtime periods without another goal.

Athens had a 12-5 advantage in shots-on-goal, and a 4-1 edge in corner kicks.

Senior Karlee Bartlow had four saves in net for the Lady Wildcats.

Athens travels to Wyalusing Tuesday.

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