By: Terry Pruyne | Towanda Daily Review | August 27, 2016
WESTFIELD — On a warm summer night in Westfield the 2016 season began for Athens and Cowanesque Valley with high hopes only to see the Indians falter to a 56-6 loss that featured turnovers, turnover, and more turnovers.
Athens opened the season, via air mail, with two long completions from Justin Reagan to Kalen Keathley. The first covered 44 yards and the second produced a touchdown from 32 yards out. Keathley made a remarkable catch on the score when Reagan under threw the ball. Keathley pulled up as the Indian defender overran the play and Keathley came back for the ball before jogging into the end zone.
Shane Colegrove drove the extra-point home as he did after each Wildcats score. Never a doubt all night.
The teams looked sloppy on the next two drives with fumbles and penalties — possible evidence of the early season start with one less week of practice and one less scrimmage.
On CV's second possession, Athens recovered a fumble following a bobbled exchange at center and the Wildcats capitalized.
Eluding pass rushers, Reagan hit Dylan Wolf for an 11-yard gain. Then the Wildcats went to the ground game as Zack Jayne rumbled on gains of two, 16, and 11 yards — the final run stopping short of the goal line.
The Wildcats quickly got to the line and Reagan called his own number for the one-yard plunge for a 14-0 margin.
The turnovers continued as Cory Stivason intercepted Colton Vinluan on the Indians' next possession. Four plays later, Vinluan returned the favor picking off a Reagan pass.
The turnovers mounted as Jace Bieser fumbled and Athens recovered. Three plays later Thomas Shadle intercepted a Reagan pass.
On their next possession, the Indians gave up the ball deep in their own territory when Jarod Stanfield blocked a Bieser punt attempt.
The Wildcats called Peyton Lewis' number and he gained 13 yards on two carries. Then Reagan found Luke Newman for a 12-yard gain. Lewis then punched the ball in from a yard out for a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
On Cowanesque's next possession, Drew Brandes fumbled and Jayne recovered. Jayne then took two handoffs for 13 and 17 yards before Reagan passed to Keathley for seven yards. Lewis added a 14-yard dash before Jayne scored from three yards with just under five minutes left in the half.
The Indians' final score came on an electrifying kickoff return by Matt Barber who cut his way through Wildcat defenders for 92 yards. The extra-point by Barber came up short.
Not to be outdone, on the next play from scrimmage, Reagan hooked up with Keathley once again. This time the play covered 62-yards — capping a 21-second scoring barrage that netted 20 points — and giving Athens a 35-6 halftime lead.
Reagan finished the half and game going 8-of-15 for 208 yards with 157 yards going to Keathley — along with two grabs going for touchdowns.
Cowanesque Valley mishaps continued in the second half, fumbling the first snap from scrimmage. Athens turned it into six points on a Jayne 23-yard carry.
On the ensuing possession, the Indians were forced to kick to Keathley, who razzled and dazzled his way to the end zone only to have the play called back for a push in the back. Not being denied, the Wildcats allowed a host of backs to carry the ball with Nate Bradley scoring from six yards for a 49-6 lead.
On their final possession, Athens went solely to freshman Damian Hudson, who had carries of six, nine, and three yards before scoring on a 32-yard run with under a minute left for the final tally.
Next week, Cowanesque Valley will try to turn things around as they host Montgomery while Athens continues on the road to play North Penn.