South Williamsport at Athens
South PPG–27.3, PPA–12.0; YPG–308.3, YPA–224.3
South facts: South is seeking its third straight 4-0 start in a game that was moved to Saturday after Athens played Monday night against Canton. The Mounties are playing excellent defense and have not allowed more than 13 points in a game. Defensive end Jake Casella is helping fuel that unit, making a team-high 27 tackles and adding a sack. Linebacker Lane Lusk played a super game in last week’s 28-8 win against Bucktail, making 14 tackles and setting up one of his two touchdown runs with an interception. The secondary is covering well and has produced four of the team’s six interceptions. Cam Greenaway made a crucial third-quarter interception against Montgomery and Grant Bachman intercepted two passes in a thrilling 21-14 win at Northwest. Landon Lorson has made 16 tackles and also thrown three touchdowns the last wo weeks. South produced a game-winning 86-yard drive against Northwest, converting multiple fourth downs along the way. Bachman has topped 100 receiving yards in consecutive games and his emergence could prevent teams from loading up the box and trying to slow the running game. Zack Miller ran for 256 yards and four touchdowns against Montgomery while Lusk has scored in all three games.
South player to watch–Lucas Long: A quality two-way lineman, Long has been vital to the defense’s success. He has closed up running lanes, freed up linebackers to make plays and also collected a sack last week when South allowed just 128 yards.
Athens PPG–21.0, PPA–17.0; YPG–266.3, YPA–239
Athens facts: Playing its second game in six nights, Athens is hoping to maintain its hold on the No. 3 spot in the District 4 Class AAA standings. The top four teams advance and Athens is one of the district’s most improved teams, starting 3-0 after going 1-9 last year. The Wildcats played excellent defense in those three wins, allowing just 35 points and handing Wyalusing its only loss, 21-14. Quarterback Mason Lister has attempted more than 20 passes in three of four games, throwing for 602 yards. Running back Shayne Reid has run for 69 or more yards in each of the last three games and produced a season-high 108 in a 44-14 win at Towanda. Reid also has caught 17 passes, kicked two field goals and averaged 31.7 yards per punt.
Athens player to watch–Karter Rude: The latest in his family to make a big impact at Athens, Rude has become Lister’s go-to receiver. He has 20 receptions for 303 yards, catching at least four passes each game.
Outlook: Like the Northwest game two weeks ago, Saturday’s game will provide a good measure of how much progress this young team has made. Expect a game similar to Northwest where the outcome may be determined late.