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Athens clinches home playoff game with win.

 

By: Cory Cook | Towanda Daily Review | November 3, 2007

 

The Athens Wildcats picked up their seventh victory of the season Friday night in the Rusty Rail Game.

The Lockhart Street Bowl was filled with Sayre and Athens fans as all were anxious for yet another Rusty Rail memory. This year's game, however, will be remembered as the Athens Wildcat offensive explosion.

The Cats racked up 414 total yards of offense, including a 208 yard, four-touchdown performance by junior quarterback Shane Raupers.

The Wildcats offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage all throughout the game, providing Raupers and company excellent protection. The Sayre running attack saw bright spots in the future as Robert Rought and Richie Villanti found holes in a tough Wildcat defense.

The first quarter saw the Wildcats push the ball on long drives. The opening drive took them to the Sayre five-yard line, only to fail on fourth down. Sayre's offense then went three-and-out, being forced to punt. Athens then took over with great field position starting on the Redskins 27-yard line. It took only two plays for sophomore running back Garrett Russell to dash 16 yards to the end zone, giving the Cats an early 7-0 lead.

It took Athens only another 28 seconds to grab its second score after a Podolinski interception on the first play. Raupers connected with Colin Repko for a 37 yard touchdown pass. This was only the start of a career night for Repko. Repko managed to grab eight passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

As the first quarter ended, the Athens offense looked to add more as the second quarter began. On the first play of the new quarter, Raupers found Jace Borden on a 17 yard touchdown strike. With the Raupers extra point, the Cats pushed the score to 21-0. Sayre then took the field, looking to score. Their drive ended due to a Raupers interception, giving the Cats the ball back. From there, Raupers hit Dillin Rudloff on a five yard touchdown pass. Once again Raupers hit his fourth extra point of the night, giving the Cats a comfortable 28-0 lead.

Sayre found some hope as Podolinski completed a swing pass to Robert Rought, who then took it 38 yards up the sideline for the touchdown. Sayre felt it had the momentum heading into the half, but Athens was quick to answer. The Cats offense worked the hurry-up and went 70 yards in 1:02. Again Raupers found Repko, this time on a 29 yard touchdown catch, giving Athens a comfortable 35-6 halftime lead.

The second half gave a peek at the future as Athens ran the ball all over the field, using a wide variety of young talent. The only score of the third quarter came when Russell dashed in for a two yard touchdown with 3:37 remaining in the quarter.

As the game slowly ended, the hope of a Sayre comeback ended quickly. Sophomore Rickie Young scooped up a fumble, taking it 63 yards to put the game away. This coming only two minutes after Josiah Lesser scored on a run from three yards out. Sayre ends the season 1-9, while Athens will host a District IV playoff game next Friday.