Athens' offense too much for CV
WESTFIELD - The Athens Wildcats rolled into Westfield to face the Cowanesque Valley Indians and rolled out with a 54-19 victory. Both teams into the ball game with 2-1 records, but the Wildcats proved, obviously, to be the better team.
After the Indians punted their first possession, Athens moved methodically down field behind runs by Tyler "T-Bird" Birdsall and Troy Stivason before Stivason capped the drive with a five-yard TD pass to Ray McDougan for a 6-0 lead.
Stivason boomed the kickoff into the endzone, as he did nearly every kickoff, forcing CV to take over on their 20-yard line. On their first play, quarterback Luke Plummer missed the pitch to the back. Mike Estes scooped up the fumble and stumbled to the three. Three plays later, Estes scored from a yard out.
On their third possession, the Wildcats just needed two plays to score. Birdsall thundered 49 yards to the five and then Stivason found Brad Sampson on a five-yard pass for a 20-0 margin.
Once again, Athens took advantage of a Plummer fumble - recovered by Birdsall. Three plays later, Birdsall raced 38 yards for a score. Stivason added the PAT for 27-0 lead with just 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
After Cowanesque punted, Athens scored on their first play from scrimmage. Stivason connected with McDougal on a short pass, and McDougal showed his elusiveness, stepping out of tackles and racing along the home sideline on a 50-yard pass-and-catch.
The Indians changed quarterback, but the results were the same. A center snap from the shotgun spread flew over Brandon Whitsell's head and Estes pulled in his second fumble recovery of the night.
This time it took the Wildcats eight plays to score, highlighted by a 33-yard reception by six-foot-four Sampson from Stivason. The Wildcat took advantage of one-on-one coverage and a distinct height advantage over the Indians defensive backs.
Three plays later, Stivason threw a jumpball into the corner of the endzone for six-foot-five Garrett Clark on a 15-yard touchdown pass with just under five minutes left in the half.
Athens wasn't finished scoring. After a four-and-out from CV, the Wildcats took over on their own 35-yard line. The Indians defense held tough, forcing a fourth down, so Coach Jack Young send out the field goal unit and Stivason, who has connected on field goals over 50 yards in practice, boomed a 48-yarder to go into half time with a 44-0 lead.
The Wildcats to the opening and Birdsall showed that Athens wasn't going to take their foot off the pedal. Birdsall returned the kick to the fifty and then he rumbled 27 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Three plays later, Shane Martin scored from eight yards out and Stivason added another PAT.
On Athens' next possession, the Indian forced the Wildcats to turn the ball over on downs - the first time that Athens failed to score on a possession, other than a one-play possession before the half. Cowanesque Valley took advantage.
After runs of 13 and nine yards by Whitsell, Plummer scored from two yards to keep CV from being shutout, but the extra-point attempt failed.
The Wildcats kept the ball moving even with substitutes in the game. Freshman quarterback Aaron Barry found sophomore Colton Roan open for a 30-yard gain, setting Stivason up for another field goal try Showing the first was no fluke, the junior kicker-slash-quarterback connected on a 46-yard FG 54-6 lead.
As usual, the Indians kept fighting and score two late touchdowns. Plummer scored on a four-yard run with Kalyb Price added the PAT and Whitsell on a 60-yard scamper with just under a minute left for the final tally of 54-9.
Next week, Cowanesque Valley head to the Valley to face Sayre at the Lockhart Street Bowl and Athens travels to Troy to play the Trojans at Alparon Park.