Division titles on the line for Waverly, Tioga
Division titles are on the line for the two New York teams this week as both Waverly and Tioga look to bring home crowns this week.
DRYDEN AT WAVERLY (6-0) (Homecoming)
Today, 7 p.m.
It's a big day for the Wolverines as they host their homecoming game and also are looking to capture another division title.
"We are excited about coming home , it seems like forever since we have come home," Waverly coach Jason Miller said. "It's our homecoming and that adds a little pep to our step. The kids are excited to be playing at home. We definitely want to put on a good show.
"We are going to take it one at a time and this week it's Dryden and if we can win we win our division and that's special."
Miller knows that homecoming can bring some distractions and the Wolverines need to keep their focus on Dryden.
"Last year homecoming we did not play very well," he said. "It's something we talked about, we have to come out and perform. It's going to be a huge crowd. It always is, but we expect a crowd of somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 people. It's a playoff type atmosphere. Our motto is to finish and this is a chance to finish a very important goal we set at the beginning of the season and that's win the division.
"We want the kids to have fun and enjoy this week. After this week it really gets serious, one more week of preparation in the regular season and then you are in the mode of win or go home."
Waverly knows that Dryden presents some challenges.
"They have a very good back, he's very fast," Miller said. "It seems like every single game he's done something special on special teams. We have to be solid on special teams."
TIOGA (5-1) AT SPENCER VAN-ETTEN (5-1)
Today, 7 p.m.
All season long the Tigers have had success, running off to a 5-1 record.
However, this week they face a team having similar success as they take on a 5-1 Panthers team.
Tioga has locked up a playoff spot, but a win gives them a division title. Spencer Van-Etten likely needs a victory in order to reach the playoffs.
"They are 5-1 they will be excited to play us," Tioga coach Nick Aiello said. "We have to go up there and we can't look past them. It's a chance at a divisional championship, that's the first step we need to focus on."
Aiello believes his team is starting to play some of their best football now and he knows that they are getting into playoff mode.
"They are starting to really gel as a team," Aiello said. "The kids are really excited. I think things are really coming together at the right time.
"It feels great going into the last week of the success with the loss we had. We know come next week, the playoffs start and it's win or go home. That's next week, we'll take care of business and next week will be here soon enough."
Aiello knows Spencer has some weapons that the Tigers need to be ready for.
"Elijah Burns, he's a very good player for them," Aiello said. "He's a dual threat, running and half-back passes. We have to be ready for what they are going to throw at us. Defensively they do a couple things we haven't seen before, we must be ready for that."
TROY (4-2) AT TOWANDA (2-4)
Today, 7 p.m.
Both teams are coming off tough losses last week and are looking to get back on track this week in an NTL large-school matchup.
"We are real excited about it, we are trying to get refocused and they know they have a tough test ahead of them and I can guarantee that," Troy coach Jim Smith said of his team.
A week ago the Trojans had plenty of success on offense, but struggled to slow down the Loyalsock offense in a loss.
There were some positives," Smith said. "Our offense really played well. Our defense got exploited. We knew we would have a difficult time with the athletes they have and we learned what we didn't do very well that's for sure."
For Towanda, last week was a tough one-point loss at Mifflinburg in a game they had chances to win.
"They haven't lost their spirit, but it just feels like we are doing enough to win games, but we do enough to lose them at the same time," Towanda coach Jamie Wecker said. "We just make too many mistakes, we get into the red zone and then turn the ball over. The focus is again to limit the mistakes and hopefully hold onto the ball."
Both teams know this will be a tough test this week.
"Towanda is extremely aggressive, they are very good on defense," Smith said. "They are as strong defensively as everybody we have played. The last few weeks the implemented a power look on offense and they have become more successful with the power look."
The Black Knights know they are facing a good 4-2 Troy team.
"Their defense is a lot better than some of the scores have shown," Wecker said. "Offensively they can hurt you, they run the option real well. The minute you get a little bit lazy with your assignments on defense they can hurt you. I think they are a talented team, in a lot of ways they are kind of like us. They have a good defense which is better than the numbers may show. They have a lot of kids who can make plays."
Towanda is happy to be back at home after travelling last week.
"It's always nice to play at home here in Towanda and it's nice to play against an NTL team," Wecker said. "We know Troy gives us a lot of problems to deal with. Their quarterback is faster than heck, they have a great option offense. We are excited to be home and excited to play Troy."
The Black Knights believe they are better than their record and know that their tough season-long schedule just continues this week.
"The kids have not quit at all and they still work hard," Wecker said. "I'm real proud of our kids, they keep trying to improve themselves. This was probably their best week of practice all year. We are not playing a pushover, we are playing another really good football team."
Smith knows Troy needs to win tough road games like this if they want to make the postseason.
"I think this is a must win situation for us," he said. "I told the kids that, they know they are going to be tested, they know Towanda is going to be well prepared."
NORTH PENN (3-3) AT WYALUSING (0-6), (Homecoming)
Today, 7 p.m.
It's homecoming for the Rams and they face another tough test with the Panthers coming to town.
Last week the Panthers had balance in running and passing on offense and Wyalusing coach Jim Huffman knows you have to be ready for both.
"I don't think you can focus on just one, you have to focus on both," Huffman said. "They are starting to do both pretty well. The quarterback (Taylor Hillson) himself he is a weapon. He can throw the ball very well and run the ball very well. We've got to be prepared for him."
For the Rams the key is to just limit their own mistakes.
"Executing, very simple, we have to start running things correctly," Huffman said. "We are doing things a little bit better. Executing and quit making silly mistakes that shouldn't be happening this time of year.
We are moving the ball then we shoot ourselves in the foot. Execution, execution, execution."
North Penn coach Tom Dickinson knows that even in a win over CV last week his team still has things he can improve on.
"We just have to try and get better," Dickinson said. "I watched what we did Friday night. We need to start doing some things better and we didn't do it Friday night. We have to go back to the basics and improve on that. We have to work on the fundamentals."
Dickinson was happy with the balance his offense found last week as the running game got going.
"We've been working on it, it did come along Friday night," Dickinson said. "We need to get some running game going, I was pleased with it Friday, we'll keep working on it."
Well the Panthers have three losses this week, they know two of them, Athens and Loyalsock, are against teams playing good football and were competitive games and he thinks that's a sign his team is playing pretty well and can only get better.
"Athens is a great football team and are playing real well and we had them on the ropes for a little bit," Dickinson said. "People saw what Loyalsock did Friday night. We learned from that, once again we've got a lot of new kids, the more experience the better off they are going to be.
"With the beginning of the schedule to be where we are right now, I'm not disappointed with where we are right now. We knew we were inexperienced and we played some tough games. I'm pleased with where we are and can be and I like how we finish the seasons."
Wyalusing hopes that homecoming will bring out the best in his team.
"I'm hoping," he said. "When homecoming comes around motivation comes naturally."
SAYRE (5-1) AT SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT
Today, 7 p.m.
This is a big game in the race for the NTL small-school schedule and Sayre coach Larry Hanafin knows his team needs to be ready for a big test.
"I watched some film on them, they have all the pieces," Hanafin said. "They are big and physical, and they know what they are doing up front. They have a quality back. It's going to be a big challenge for us.
We have to focus on what we do and try and get better."
Sayre is happy with the way the passing game is starting to come around the past few games.
"This is the first year for Adam (Wampole) playing since junior high and his first year playing quarterback," Hanafin said. "He can throw it and the kids have confidence in running the routes and the ball's going to be there.
"We go from a running play to running a more modern passing play. Coach Nobles is doing a good job keeping everything in balance."
Hanafin knows that his team will have to play sound defense this week.
"It seems whatever you focus on they can go to something else," Hanafin said. "If we can control, slow down their running game that's the key. They are very potent offensively. We have to get better in reading our keys and reacting to our keys. We have to focus on doing what we do and hope for the best."
Despite their strong start, Hanafin believes his team has the right mindset and knows they need to keep working hard.
"I think they are quietly confident," he said. "They are a funny group. They don't get too high, or get too low. They don't get rattled. They are not cocky or anything, they feel good. They understand they've got to do it every day or else it will fall apart on you."
WELLSBORO (3-3) AT MONTGOMERY (0-6)
Today, 7 p.m.
The Green Hornets are looking to get above .500 if they get a win this week.
While Montgomery has struggled this year with a small roster, Wellsboro coach Steve Boyce is not going to look past them.
"Unfortunately they are wrecked by a couple of injuries," he said. "We scrimmaged Montgomery and they did very well against us. They have kind of gone back down hill, they lost kids, but we can't take them easy. They have shown potential in all their games.
"They love to get the ball in number seven's hands. They run a real nice sweep pass. He can throw the ball deep and when he runs, he runs hard. He plays strong safety, linebacker and does real well on that side of the ball. If we control No. 7 we should be able to win the game."
The Green Hornets believe they are capable of finishing the season strong.
"I think going against the last four teams we do that if we play to our potential, without a doubt we can win all four. If we are playing to our potential," Boyce said. "With Athens it's 0-0 in the first quarter then we get worn down. They got backups that allow them to sub in more in places we don't have. We can run the table, if we can stay healthy and keep our wind to us. We should be able to finish out very well the last four games."
COWANESQUE VALLEY (2-4) AT BUCKTAIL
Today, 7 p.m.
While the Indians have lost their last two games to Sayre and North Penn, CV coach James Burns thinks he learned a lot about his team in those losses.
"We are just happy to get another chance to move forward and take another step as a team," he said. "Even though we haven't gotten wins the last two games we took a step forward. I think the biggest thing is the kids are frustrated and down that they didn't get the wins and they are over the moral victories. They are dong gunning for a moral victory."
The Indians are anxious to get back out and try and get another win this week.
"I think they are really excited, I think they understand what it takes to do it," he said. "They are just trying to get back and take care of the turnover problem we have had."
One of the challenges this week is making a long trip to Bucktail.
"It's tough, especially the ride there," Burns said. "That one lane road up and down the mountain, it's tough, but they are excited just to get the opportunity to play again."
CANTON (1-5) AT ATHENS (5-1) (Homecoming)
With a homecoming game Athens coach Jack Young knows his kids will be excited for Saturday afternoon.
"We are just going to try and get healthier and healthier," he said. "It's homecoming and that's as big as you make it, it's an exciting time."
There are some challenges to playing a homecoming game and playing on Saturday instead of Friday night.
"These are high school kids, it's part of their life, you want to kind of grasp it and make it a part of what's going on, but you have to keep reminding yourself you have a task at hand," Young said of embracing the Homecoming weekend, but staying focused on the game. "As a coach I have to remind myself there is no school. Last Friday we played a game with no school and maybe that's why we didn't come out as sharp in the first half. As a coach it doesn't bother me when we play, we just have to adjust the time schedule. I know the kids are super excited for homecoming."
Young doesn't believe playing a day game will be much different for his team.
"It's a little different, but we spent all preseason practicing in the middle of the day," Young said. "One could say Canton is a little more used to playing Saturday afternoons, but we can't dwell on it. We just have to have normal practices throughout the week and the kids are excited about this week."
While Canton has struggled record-wise this year, Young knows they are still a challenge.
"Canton is struggling a little bit, but they are still typical Canton kids," Young said. "They are tough, they throw the ball when they need to and they still have a pretty solid running game. They are a pretty typical Canton bunch and we have to take care of ourselves."