Wildcats pull away from Wellsboro
ATHENS - Although the Wildcats came out with a slow start in the first quarter, once they got rolling they were hard to stop. The home team's combination of passing and rushing was too much for the Hornet defense, as Athens came out on top to win their fifth straight game of the season, 40-0.
The Wildcats received the kickoff and were set up at their own 22. On fourth and six, junior quarterback Troy Stivason threw an incomplete pass to a wide open teammate and handed the ball to the Hornets. Wellsboro's first drive ended eleven plays later. When Athens gained
possession for a second time, Stivason threw his first and only interception of the night on the second play. Likewise, Wellsboro's quarterback Michael Pietropola acquired his first interception on third and twenty-one on the Athens 22 yard line.
Key rushes from Tyler Birdsall and Brad Sampson brought the Wildcats to the Wellsboro 36, where Stivason set up for the field goal. His 52-yard attempt was good, sailing through the left corner of the goal post. And with 5:53 left to play in the second quarter, Athens now captured the lead, 3-0. Dan Saniga gave the Hornets their first punt on their next drive. Athens then regained possession and put themselves on the board once again as Austin Depew raced into the end zone for the score with 2:02 left. Stivason's extra point was blocked, and the Wildcats extended their lead, 9-0.
On the sixth play of Wellsboro's ensuing drive, Pietropola threw his second interception to senior Brad Sampson. Athens took advantage of this mistake, Troy Stivason setting up for his second field goal. With 0:07 seconds to play in the first half, the 30 yard attempt was good, and both teams retreated to the locker room with the scoreboard reading 12-0.
Both teams traded punts to begin the second half, until a few rushes on behalf of Depew and Birdsall set Athens up at their own 41. Mike Estes ran up the middle twelve yards for the score with 4:17 to go. Stivason's PAT was true, and the Wildcats were now up 19-0. Yet another interception from Pietropola set Athens up to add to their lead again. A 24 yard catch-and-run from Stivason to Curt Moore with 55 seconds left to play in the third put Athens on the board once again. The extra point was good and the 'Cats now led 26-0.
Another Wellsboro punt gave Athens the ball again and Tyler Forbes' first and only five yard rush of the night resulted in another touchdown for the Wildcats as he rounded the defenders and raced down the right side. At 10:23 in the fourth, Athens led 33-0.
Freshman backup QB Aaron Barry had one completion on the night, which ultimately ended in the final score of the night; his pass to Garrett Clark, who then tip-toed into the end zone forty yards down the right side line with 7:48 left to play. Again, Stivason's PAT was true, and Athens set the final score, 40-0.
For Athens, Tyler Birdsall led all rushers with 120 yards on 16 carries, while Austin Depew had 8 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Next week, Wellsboro travels to Montgomery and Athens will take on the Canton Warriors for homecoming.