WELLSBORO - Last year Athens had dominated from start to finish in a 40-0 rout of Wellsboro. Times have changed and so have the players.
Michael Pietropola threw for a school record 405 yards and another school record five passing touchdowns and Jermaine Brooks tallied a combined 239 yards and five touchdowns in a dominating 52-14 win over Athens Friday night at Wellsboro. Wellsboro stayed undefeated with the win and it was the Green Hornets' first win vs. the Wildcats since 2001.
Pietropola had dominated from the start, breaking both passing school records at halftime when he had 380 passing yards and five passing touchdowns. Pietropola led the Green Hornets to touchdowns on 7 of 9 possessions he was in for.
Pietropola had a four-headed monster at receiver with Brooks, Dylan Prough, Brandon Owlett and Kieron Smethers. The four combined for 405 yards and five touchdown receptions.
Pietropola didn't just sit back in the pocket and make easy throws. He was under pressure and had to make throws while on the run on third-and-long situations. Two of which went for big touchdown passes to Brooks.
Brooks seemed to take the role of Owlett this week, as last week vs. CMVT Owlett totaled 227 yards and four touchdowns.
The big play was again a big part of the Wellsboro offense. Pietropola's passing touchdowns came from 62, 65, 67, 20 and 40 yards and Brooks rushing touchdowns came from distances of 25 and 44 yards. The Wellsboro offense had a total of 13 plays gain at least 20 yards.
Wellsboro could have added another play to that total if Owlett's 65 yard punt return touchdown wasn't negated by a penalty.
The defense also played great for Wellsboro. Athens only accumulated 175 yards of total offense, 78 of which came on a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.
The defense constantly stuffed the run, defended passes and pressured the quarterback. Prough and Smethers just didn't make plays on the offensive end, they made plays on the defensive side as well. Prough was in on almost every play racking up tackles. Smethers was also all over the field making plays, the biggest was a strip sack in the third quarter.
Brian Doty also made plays on defense and special teams. Doty picked off an Aaron Barry pass in the third quarter and sacked him a few drives later. He also made huge blocks on special teams freeing up Owlett on punt returns.
Athens came out from the start and was overmatched. The Wildcats managed only three first downs in the first half and scored all 14 points in the 4th quarter when the game was all ready over. The one bright spot was running back Brandon Sturzenegger who carried the ball 19 times for 77 yards. He did this while Wellsboro was crowding the line of scrimmage.