MONTOURSVILLE — Montoursville had the perfect recipe for success. It
scored on a big special teams play early, established its running game,
and forced four Athens turnover on its way to a 48-14 win here Friday
night in the quarterfinals of the District 4, Class AAA football
“You can’t make mistakes we made tonight,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “You can’t make them ever, let alone in a playoff game. The teams are too good, and they make you pay.
“You can’t play a game like we played tonight and expect to win — too many mistakes,” added Young.
The Warriors were on the board just 15 seconds into the contest when Matt Conklin returned the opening kickoff 79 yards for a score. Wyatt Fry’s PAT kick made it 7-0.
“We kicked the ball exactly where we wanted to kick it, but we didn’t do a good enough job in coverage,” said Young.
The Wildcats hit on a 38-yard pass from junior QB Mason Lister to senior tailback Shayne Reid on their first play from scrimmage, but were forced to punt shortly thereafter.
The Warriors took the punt and marched 70 yards for a score, with Kayden Frame capping the drive with a 3-yard TD run with 5:03 remaining in the first quarter to make it 14-0.
Moments later, Rocco Pulizzi picked off a Lister pass and returned it 29 yards to the Wildcat 1-yard line. Frame punched it in with 3:55 left in the first quarter to extend the lead to 21-0.
After forcing the Wildcats to punt on its next possession, the Warriors drove for another score with Jake Reeder pulling in a 6-yard TD pass from Maddix Dalena to make it 28-0 with 10:53 remaining in the first half.
Athens threatened on its next possession, moving into the Montoursville red zone on a 66-yard hook-and-lateral pass from Lister to senior J.J. Babcock to Reid. However, Athens fumbled the ball away two plays later.
The Wildcat defense forced a Montoursville punt, and the offense quickly put points on the board, with Lister connecting with Rude for a 26-yard TD strike. Reid’s PAT kick made it 28-7 with 5:01 remaining in the first half.
Athens kept the momentum going when Reid recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the Wildcats fumbled the ball away moments later.
The Warriors capitalized with a short scoring drive culminating with a 16-yard TD run by Frame to make it 35-7 with 2:01 remaining in the first half.
The Wildcats gambled on its first possession of the second half with a fake punt in their own territory, but the Warriors stuffed it at the Athens 32.
On the next play, Dylan Blackwell ripped on a 32-yard TD run to make it 41-6 with 9:16 remaining in the third quarter.
Athens fumbled the ball away again on its first play of the ensuing possession, and Blackwell capped a short scoring drive with a 3-yard TD run to make it 48-7with 6:55 left in the third quarter.
Athens lit up the scoreboard for the final time of the season with a 38-yard TD pas from Lister to Rude with 8:54 left in the game. Reid’s second PAT kick provided the final margin.
Reid led Athens with 32 rushing yards on 11 carries. The Wildcats had just 39 yards on the ground on 21 carries.
Lister completed 14 of 25 passes for 264 yards and two TDs, while being picked off once.
Rude led Athens receivers with seven receptions for 108 yards and two TDs, while Reid had four catches for 127 yards, and Babcock added two grabs for 27 yards.
The Wildcats graduate 13 seniors from this team, including Reid, Rude, Babcock, Dylan Harford, Troy Jennings, Troy Pritchard, and Jared Peterson.
“(Montoursville) was a better team than us tonight,” said Young. “I’m not sure they’re that much better than us, but at the same time I’m appreciative for these kids.
“They’ve played hard,” added Young. “This senior class is a special class, it’s avery talented class. There are some special people there, but I’m appreciative of the entire team, of their effort and their time.”
Athens wraps up the 2021 campaign with a 6-5 record.
SAYRE — A costly penalty, and a perfectly-executed extra-point kick in a
steady rain on a muddy field proved to be the difference in Athens’ 7-6
win over Sayre here Friday night in the annual “Rusty Rail” rivalry
game at the Lockhart Street Bowl.
“That was a good old-fashioned football game,” said Athens coach Jack Young “I couldn’t be more proud.
“This is a special group. They are tough,” noted Young. “We didn’t play like ourselves the last two weeks.
“I’m so happy for this group because the last couple weeks have been really tough,” he added.
“It was a good game, but I don’t know that it was our best game,” said Sayre coach Kevin Gorman. “That’s the big thing with us, we’ve kind of whiffed the last three weeks.
“I know the kids are upset about it, and the (coaching staff) is too.
“Hopefully, next week we can get into playoff mode and get something rolling,” Gorman added.
Sayre senior Brayden Horton returned the opening kick 39 yards to the Athens 40. After one first down, the Redskins possession bogged down after a holding penalty, and a short punt gave the Wildcats the ball at their own 26.
Athens senior tailback Shayne Reid ripped off 38 yards on six carries, but the Redskin defense stopped Athens inches short of a first down on fourth-and-1 at the Redskin 30.
After an exchange of punts, Sayre took over at its 25, and put together its only scoring drive of the night.
Senior tailback David Northrup’s 10-yard run gave the Redskins their initial first down of the drive, then he hauled in a 12-yard reception from Brayden Horton for another first down to the Wildcat 44.
Four plays later, on fourth-and-4, Brayden Horton rolled left and found Lucas Horton open along the home sidelines for a 38-yard TD to give the Redskins a 6-0 lead with 6:25 remaining in the first half.
Athens junior Caleb Nichols batted down Brayden Horton’s pass on the conversion to keep the Sayre lead at 6-0.
The Wildcats came out throwing on their ensuing possession. Lister connected with senior Karter Rude on three consecutive passes for 6, 6 and 15 yards to move the ball to the Sayre 26.
Two plays later, on third-and-7, Lister rifled a pass into traffic to 6-5 senior J.J. Babcock for an 11-yard gain to the Sayre 12.
Four plays later, on fourth-and-3 at the Sayre 5, Lister was flushed out of the pocket, and his pass sailed over the head of Rude in the back of the end zone. However, Sayre was flagged for roughing-the-passer, giving the Wildcats new life at the Sayre 3.
“We were just dumb,” said Gorman. “We had the roughing-the-passer and later on a couple personal fouls … to win games, you can’t do that.
“It was fourth-down, we got some pressure on Mason (Lister), and he threw it high,” noted Gorman. “We would have gotten the ball back … (but) they end up scoring, and that won the game for them.
“You can’t keep shooting yourself in the foot, but we just keep doing it,” added Gorman.
After Lister moved the ball inside the 1 with a QB sneak, the Redskins stuffed him on second down. On third down, Reid bulled into the end zone to tie the game at 6-6 with 31 seconds remaining in the half. Reid’s PAT kick made it 7-6.
“We had a breakdown in coverage and (Sayre) took advantage, but I couldn’t be more proud of the way our offense came back out and answered,” said Young.
“You could hear it in on the sidelines, it was different this week. The guys were saying, ‘we need to answer,’” noted Young. “And, we answered with a great drive. We had a couple big plays, a couple big throws, catches, runs, and we put one on the board.
“And, I think we have the best kicker in the area … to execute a kick in this mess means something, and that was the difference in the game,” added Young.
Reid also accounted for the winning points in last year’s “Rusty Rail” game, with a 27-yard fourth-quarter field goal to lift Athens to a 10-7 win.
“How bout that, I’ll take it,” laughed Young.
The rain, which was steady for the entire first half, picked up in intensity during halftime, and both offenses struggled for consistency in the second half.
The Wildcats quickly moved the ball to the Sayre 34 on their first possession, thanks to an 18-yard run by Reid, and an unsportsmanlike conduct flag against the Redskins, but a low shotgun snap resulted in a 15-yard loss. Three plays later, Athens punted.
Sayre’s first possession was a three-and-out, and Lucas Horton’s 36-yard punt gave the Wildcats the ball at their own 31.
After one first down, a pair of penalties put the Wildcats in a second-and-31 hole at their own 22. Two plays later, Reid was stacked up by the Redskin defense, and junior Zach Garrity stripped him of the ball, and recovered it at the Athens 32.
A 10-yard run by Brayden Horton moved the ball to the Wildcat 22, but the drive stalled there, and Athens took over on downs.
After the Wildcats punted the ball back to Sayre, the Redskins picked up one first down. On fourth-and-2 at the Athens 42, senior Jared Peterson picked off a Horton pass with 6:28 remaining in the game.
Athens’ offense did little, but a pair of third-down personal foul penalties against Sayre moved the chains.
The Wildcats eventually punted, and Sayre took over at its 21 with 2:03 remaining in the game.
After picking up a first down on a roughing-the-passer call against the Wildcats, Horton’s fourth-down pass was intercepted by Rude and returned to the Sayre 27 with 1:23 remaining.
Athens took a knee twice in victory formation to run out the clock.
Reid led all ground-gainers in the game with 117 yards and one TD on 28 carries. In all, the Wildcats ran for 111 yards on 40 carries.
“I’ll tell you what, 23 (Shayne Reid) doesn’t have much left in his tank,” said Young. “He ran hard, and the guys blocked their tails off.
“When it’s like this, you just pile int he box, and see who can tough it out,” he added.
Lister completed 7 of 10 passes for 46 yards. Rude led Athens receivers with three receptions for 27 yards.
The Redskins had 153 yards in total offense (compared to Athens’ 157.)
Brayden Horton completed 8 of 19 passes for 92 yards, one TD, and two interceptions. Senior Josh Arnold led Sayre with three receptions for 12 yards.
Northrup led Sayre’s ground game with 45 yards on 14 carries.
Athens, now 6-4, will likely open the District 4, Class AAA playoffs at Loyalsock (6-4) next weekend, while Sayre (5-5) will travel to Troy (7-3).
WELLSBORO — Conner Adams caught two TD passes and ran for two more
scores in the first half as Wellsboro raced out to a 42-7 halftime lead
en route to a 49-13 win over Athens here Friday night in NTL Large
School football action.
Adams, who added a TD in the third quarter, rushed for 137 yards and three TDs on just nine carries, and caught three passes for 77 yards, and two TDs.
Wellsboro QB Isaac Keane completed 8 of 11 passes in the game for 235 yards and three TDs.
“We showed what we can do when it’s clicking,” Wellsboro coach Matt Hildebrand said. “We’re getting guys back and we’re getting healthy.”
Wellsboro needed just four plays to get on the scoreboard. On the second play of the game, Keane connected with Jack Poirier on a 54-yard completion to the Athens 15. Two plays later, Darryn Callahan scored on a 7-yard TD run. Poirier’s PAT kick made it 7-0 with 10:02 remaining in the first quarter.
After forcing a three-and-out, Wellsboro put together another quick scoring drive, with Keane connecting with Adams on a 28-yard scoring strike to make it 14-0 with 7:16 left in the first quarter.
After another Athens three-and-out, Wellsboro found paydirt again. On fourth-and-6, Keane hooked up with Adams on a 33-yard TD pass to make it 21-0 with 3:06 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats picked up their initial first down of the game on their next possession, but a deflected pass on third down resulted in a Keane interception and 19-yard return to the Athens 24.
On the final play of the first quarter, Keane found Spencer Wetzel open for a 25-yard TD to make it 28-0.
The scoring pace slowed, until a 7-yard TD run by Adams with 1:56 remaining in the first half extended the lead to 35-0.
The Wildcats offense clicked to life following the ensuing kick-off. Junior QB Mason Lister connected with senior tailback Shayne Reid for a 40-yard completion to the Wellsboro 25, then found senior Karter Rude for an 18-yard completion.
On the next play, Reid made a diving catch in the end zone to put the Wildcats on the board. Reid’s PAT kick trimmed the deficit to 35-7 with 59 seconds remaining in the first half.
However, the first-half scoring was not finished.
Despite being backed up to their own 15 by a penalty on the ensuing kickoff, the Green Hornets quick drove down field, powered by a 24-yard scramble Keane, who then found Dylan Abernathy open for a 46-yard completion to the Athens 15.
The next play appeared to be a tailback-option pass, but Adams, who took a pitch from Keane, pulled the ball down and scampered 15 yards to paydirt with 12 seconds remaining in the half. Poirier’s seventh PAT kick of the half made it 42-7.
Senior J.J. Babcock hauled in a 27-yard TD pass from Lister with 3:04 remaining in the third quarter, but just 60 seconds later, Adams busted loose on a 74-yard TD run to provide the final margin.
Lister completed 15 of 25 passes for 180 yards, two TDs, and one interception. Rude led Athens’ receivers with five catches for 85 yards, while Reid had four receptions for 40 yards, and one TD, and Babcock added three grabs for 53 yards and one TD.
Athens managed just 3 rushing yards on 25 carries, thanks in part minus-27 yards from Lister, who was sacked four times. Reid led the ‘Cats with 29 yards on 15 carries.
Wellsboro amassed 520 yards in total offense, including 285 rushing yards.
Athens, now 5-4, wraps up the regular season Friday night at Sayre in the annual “Rusty Rail Game.”
ATHENS — The good and the bad was on display for Athens in its 34-10
loss to unbeaten Canton in NTL football action here Friday at Alumni
ATHENS — Athens used some hard running, big plays, and a stifling
defense to beat NP-Mansfield 44-14 for its 2021 homecoming win in NTL
football action Friday.
“It was a great team win,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “We had a really, really good week of practice, coming off a couple crazy weeks with a lot of distractions. I couldn’t help, but mention the whole team — the young guys on scout team did a great job — and we just got to keep building.”
Senior Shayne Reid rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries to lead the Wildcats, who ran for 279 yards as a team. Caleb Nichols had 48 yards on the ground on six touches, while Jaden Wright (three carries, 71 yards) added a 67-yard touchdown run.
“At the tailback position we’re really four-deep,” Young remarked. “You saw what Jaden Wright did right here at the end of the game with a young offensive line and some of North Penn’s starting defense in there. We’re pretty deep there.”
Mason Lister continued to make some athletic plays, throwing the ball for 110 yards and a touchdown on 5-of-11 passing while also running in a score. JJ Babcock had two catches for 40 yards and a score to lead the receiving corps.
Defensively, the Wildcats held NP-Mansfield to just 24 yards rushing in the first half, and held them scoreless for three quarters, which included a goal-line stand that ended with a blocked field goal.
Cam Fabian was a bright spot for the Panthers, with 96 total yards of offense and two scores — one rushing, one receiving — while quarterback Karson Dominick was 11-for-17 for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Early on. it looked like North Penn-Mansfield was going to take the lead, as they took the opening kick-off down to the Athens 4-yard line.
A 13-yard pass play on third down, and a 9-yard run on fourth kept the drive alive, and a pass interference call gave them first-and-goal.
However, they only went backward after that, and the 16-play drive ended up with a field goal attempt from the 11-yard line that was blocked by the Athens defense.
Taking over at its own 27, Athens would need just nine plays to get into the end zone — eight of them rushes. Lister capped the drive with a 3-yard TD run. Reid, who ran for 42-yards on the drive, added the point-after to make it 7-0 with 32 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Panthers turned it over on a fumble on the ensuing drive — linebacker Dylan Harford jumped on the loose ball for Athens. The Wildcats would take over at the NP-Mansfield 18-yard line.
It would take them five plays to get inside the NPM 5, but a sack on Lister pushed them back to the 17, where they ended up taking a Reid field goal. His kick was good from 33 yards, and Athens led 10-0 with 9:19 to play in the half.
NP-Mansfield went 3-and-out on its next two drives as its offense faltered.
On Athens’ next drive it needed just two plays to score, with Reid taking it up the gut 42 yards to pay dirt. A bad snap ruined his point-after attempt, but Athens led 16-0 with 7:11 left in the half.
On the Wildcats’ final drive of the half. they started on their own 27-yard line, and needed 11 plays to get into the end zone.
Two key pass plays on third-and-long kept the drive alive — a 25-yard catch-and-run by Nichols, and a Matt Machmer toe-line grab on the edge of the field for 28 yards — put Athens first-and-goal at the 10-yard line.
Penalties then reared their ugly head — two of them bringing back touchdowns — pushed Athens into a 4th-and-goal from its own 33-yard line.
Lister simply found the 6-foot, 7-inch Babcock in the end zone, threw it up to him, and watched him come down with it for the touchdown with 41 seconds left in the half. Reid added the point after to give Athens a 23-0 lead at the half.
The Wildcats then scored on their first two drives of the second half.
Starting at their own 36-yard line, they would use five plays to hit pay dirt, ending with a nifty 28-yard run by Reid. His kick was good, and Athens led 30-0 just over two minutes into the second half.
Even his coach was impressed with how Reid evaded several Panther would-be tacklers on the scamper.
“I couldn’t not say that I might have seen one of the greatest runs I’ve seen in a long, long time tonight,” Young said. “We execute up front, but then, my God, did he make a run.”
After a Panther punt, Athens started at the 50 and needed eight plays to get into the end zone. Reid got the 6-yard touchdown, but an 18-yard run on third-and-11 by Nichols kept the drive alive.
Reid’s kick was good, and the Wildcats pushed their lead to 37-0 with 5:39 left in the third.
The NPM offense came online in the fourth quarter as Cam Fabian had a 3-yard touchdown run, followed by a 20-yard scoring catch from Dominick on the following drive to cut it to 37-14.
However, Athens had the final say, as, on the first play from scrimmage on the ensuing drive, Wright found some room running left and took it 67 yards down the sideline to pay dirt. Reid added the point after for the 44-14 final.
Athens will host undefeated Canton next week for a crucial NTL Division-I match-up for both teams. It’s part of the Wildcats’ tough stretch to end the season — Canton, Wellsboro, and Sayre — all playoff-caliber teams that will test the Wildcats.
But Young feels his team is ready.
“We’re just going to work hard, that’s what I’m going to tell you,” he said. “This group of kids has risen to the occasion every week. The two games we got beat, you can’t doubt our toughness, and the way these kids are going to play in a game, so we’re just going to work on our mental and physical health right now.”
They didn’t have school on Friday as part of a long weekend, but Young made sure they got up and were active all day to be ready for the Panthers.
“I just told them, Monday, they don’t have school, and they all looked at me like ‘yeah, yeah, yeah,” explained Young. “And I said, ‘sleep in, please, sleep in.’”
They deserved it.
HUGHESVILLE — It was a night of big plays for Athens, which scored five
TDs on plays of 34 yards or more, in a 50-0 demolition of Hughesville
here Friday night in non-league football action.
“We came in and we executed,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “We got sloppy a couple times, but we made plays. That is what good teams have to do.”
The Athens defense made the first big play of the game, stopping the Spartans on downs at their own 45 on the first possession of the contest.
Junior QB Mason Lister put the Wildcats on the board quickly, connecting with senior Karter Rude on a 45-yard TD pass on their first play from scrimmage. Senior Shayne Reid’s PAT kick made it 7-0 with 8:06 remaining in the first quarter.
The Spartans put together their best drove of the night on their next possession, behind the hard running of Brenden Knight, but missed a 29-yard field.
Athens took over at its own 20, and Reid broke loose on an 80-yard TD run on the the first play of the possession. Reid tacked on the extra point to make it 14-0 with 3:06 left in the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Rude intercepted a long pass at the Wildcat goal line, and returned it to the Athens 45.
The Wildcats put together a 10-play drive, capped by a 10-yard TD run by Reid, whose PAT kick made it 21-0 with 5:46 remaining in the first half.
Athens’ first two possessions in the second half ended in frustration.
The Wildcats were stopped at the Hughesville 1 on its first possession, then missed a 28-yard field goal on its second.
Moments later, however, a big hit resulted in a fumble, which Hughesville recovered in the end zone for a safety that gave Athens a 23-0 lead.
The rest of the game was an avalanche of points for the Wildcats.
Athens took the ensuing free kick, and drove for a score. Reid capped the drive with a 23-yard TD reception from Lister to make it 30-0 with 2:39 left in the third quarter.
The Spartans returned the ensuing kickoff into Wildcat territory, but the Athens defense shut down the possession quickly.
Athens put together a five-minute drive, capped by a 34-yard TD connection from Lister to 6-5 senior J.J. Babcock to make it 36-0 with 9:32 remaining in the contest.
After a Jared Peterson interception on Hughesville’s next possession gave the Wildcats the ball back, junior Caleb Nichols broke loose on a 70-yard TD run with 6:51 left in the game.
The Athens defense got the ball back one last time, and freshman Kolsen Keathley found paydirt on a 40-yard TD run. Reid’s seventh PAT in eight attempts made it 50-0 with 1:35 remaining.
The Wildcat ground game churned out 321 yards on 31 carries. Reid led the way with 185 yards and two TDs on 17 carries, while Nichols added 81 yards and one TD on three carries, and Keathley chipped in with 41 yards and one TD on two carries.
Lister completed 11 of 16 passes for 203 yards and three TDs, without being intercepted.
Babcock led Athens with four catches for 63 yards and one TD, while Reid had four receptions for 60 yards and one TD, and Rude added three grabs for 76 yards and one TD.
Knight led Hughesville with 129 rushing yards on 27 carries.
Athens, now 4-2, hosts NTL Large School rival North Penn-Mansfield Friday.
ATHENS — Athens scored on all seven of its first-half possessions en
route to a 44-0 halftime lead, and a 46-6 win over Wyalusing here Friday
night in NTL Large School Division football action at Alumni Stadium.
The Wildcats led 14-0 less than five minutes into the contest.
“We talked about starting fast,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “We wanted to do some no-huddle stuff, and play fast.
“We did exactly what we wrote up.
“We took a little bit of a beating up front last week, and we didn’t execute real well on either side of the ball,” noted Young.
“Our goal this week was to be 1-0 and to execute better,” he added. “I think we did that.”
After forcing Wyalusing into a three-and-out, Athens took over at its 45 on its first possession of the night.
Senior tailback Shayne Reid carried the ball four times for 27 yards, and caught a 9-yard pass from junior QB Mason Lister to move the ball to the Wyalusing 17.
Reid then bobbed-and-weaved his way through the Ram defense on a 17-yard TD run, then added the extra point to make it 7-0 with 7:31 remaining in the first quarter.
Things went from bad to worse on Wyalusing’s first play following the ensuing kickoff.
QB Blake Morningstar was flushed out of the pocket, and threw a ball up for grabs. Senior linebacker Troy Jennings picked off the pass and returned it 15 yards to the Ram 32.
The Wildcat pressure on Morningstar was a recurring theme throughout the game.
“We talked about putting pressure on him,” said Young. “(Morningstar) is not a runner, he’s not going to take off with it.
“We wanted to be in his face, and make him uncomfortable.
“He didn’t have a couple of his weapons with him tonight, but at the same time I thought we executed much better,” added Young.
The Wildcats needed just one play to add to their lead as Lister found senior wideout Karter Rude near the goal line for a 32-yard TD strike. Reid again split the uprights to make it 14-0 with 7:12 remaining in the first quarter.
After picking up its initial first down of the contest on its next possession, Wyalusing turned the ball over on downs at its 42.
Athens needed just four plays to find paydirt this time. Reid started the drive with a 13-yard run, and capped it with a 3-yard TD run. In between, a scrambling Lister found Rude near the sidelines with a 26-yard pass to the Ram 3.
Reid’s PAT kick made it 21-0 with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter.
Nolan Oswald returned the ensuing kick 37 yards yards to the Athens 49, but the Rams failed to pick up a first down. A 31-yard punt by Morningstar pinned the Wildcats at their own 18.
The Wildcats quickly moved the ball down the field on a drive that featured runs of 8 and 31 yards by Rude, and 11-yard run by Reid, a 9-yard run by Jennings, and an 8-yard pass from Lister to Babcock, but a pair of penalties bogged the drive down at the Wyalusing 22.
Reid’s 39-yard field goal gave Athens a 24-0 lead with 10:46 left in the first half.
On its ensuing possession, Wyalusing netted just seven yards on three plays and lined up to punt facing 4th-and-3 at its own 27. The Rams appeared on the brink of a long TD when a receiver broke free behind the Wildcat defense on the fake punt, but he was unable to haul the pass in, and Athens took over on downs.
Junior Caleb Nichols reeled off 26 yards on three carries, and Lister finished off the short scoring drive with a 1-yard TD to push the lead to 30-0 midway through the second quarter.
Wyalusing drove into the red zone on its next possession, but turned the ball over on downs at the Wildcat 18.
On second-and-10, Reid ripped off a 33-yard run to the Wyalusing 49, and two plays later — following a holding penalty — hauled in a 59-yard TD pass from Lister. Reid’s PAT made it 37-0 with 3:12 remaining in the first half.
The Wildcat defense forced another punt on Wyalusing’s next possession, and following a short punt, the Athens offense took over at its 49.
Athens needed just four plays to finish off the first-half scoring. The drive featured a 10-yard run by Reid, and a 23-yard pass to Rude, and culminated with a 15-yard pass from Lister to 6-5 J.J. Babcock, who won a jump ball in the back corner of the end zone for the score.
Reid’s extra point kick made it 44-0 with 11 seconds remaining in the half.
Reid rushed for 120 yards and two TDs on 11 carries in the first half, caught two passes for 69 yards and one TD, and booted a 39-yard field goal. He also knocked two kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, and consistently pinned Wyalusing deep its own territory on kickoffs.
“Shayne Reid played a great game tonight,” said Young. “He ran hard, and he kicked the ball very well.
“He was out here yesterday kicking 50-yard field goals, and he hit a big one for us tonight.
“He is so talented, and he never takes a play off — in a game or in practice,” added Young.
Lister completed 9 of 14 passes for 182 yards and three TDs.
Rude, who also carried the ball twice for 39 yards, led all receivers with five grabs for 90 yards and one TD, and Babcock added two catches for 23 yards and one TD.
The second half was played entirely in running time.
The Wildcats tacked on a safety late in the game, while Wyalusing’s score came on a 5-yard TD pass from Morningstar to Oswald with 1:21 remaining in the contest.
Morningstar completed 9 of 31 passes for 73 yards and one TD, while being intercepted twice. Oswald led Rams receivers with five grabs for 24 yards, and Joey Gonsauls had two catches for 45 yards.
Adam Hunsinger led Wyalusing’s ground game with 15 carries for 49 yards.
Athens, now 3-2, returns to action Friday at Hughesville.
ATHENS — South Williamsport dominated the game statistically, but needed
a fourth-quarter TD to pull out a 7-0 win over Athens here Friday night
in NTL football action at Alumni Stadium.
The Mounties played keep away in the first half, running 36 plays for 210 yards, while the Wildcats ran just six plays for 1 yard, but the game was scoreless.
“Our kids scrapped it out,” said Athens coach Jack Young. “How many times did we stop them in the red zone?
“We hung in there and the defense just kept making plays,” added Young.
South Williamsport coach Chris Eiswerth said the first half was the continuation of a disturbing trend for his squad.
“In the first half, we couldn’t finish,” he said. “Early in the year, we haven’t been able to finish.”
Junior QB Mason Lister ripped off an 18-yard run on Athens’ first possession of the second half for the team’s initial first down of the game, but a pair of costly penalties and a South Williamsport sack forced the Wildcats to punt.
The Athens punt pinned South Williamsport at its 13, but with 18 consecutive run plays, the Mounties covered the 87 yards. Lane Lusk capped the drive, which chewed up more than 10 minutes off the game clock, with a 2-yard TD run. Kayvan Shams split the up rights with the PAT to make it 7-0.
On the first play following the ensuing kickoff, senior tailback Shayne Reid ripped off a 23-yard run on a reverse, but four plays later, the Mounties defense snuffed out the drive with a fourth-down stop.
The Mounties, on the back of Lusk’s bruising runs, picked up a pair of first downs before turning the ball back over on downs.
The Wildcats’ night on offense would come to an end moments later when Lister’s fourth-down pass was picked off near midfield.
The Mounties ran the final 2 1/2 minutes off the clock to preserve the win.
Lusk led South Williamsport with 181 yards and one TD on 32 carries, while Clayton Swarthout added 70 yards on 17 carries, and QB Landon Lorson added 52 yards on 13 carries.
The Wildcats were held to 53 yards in total offense on just 17 plays.
Reid led Athens with 26 yards on five carries, and Lister added seven yards on five carries.
Lister completed 3 of 6 passes for 20 yards.
Athens, now 2-2, hosts Wyalusing Friday at Alumni Stadium.
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.
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.
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.”
WHEN TROY HAS THE BALL
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.”
WHEN ATHENS HAS THE BALL
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.
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 better.in 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.