Ram Rally Falls Short at Athens
Wyalusing Valley saw a second-half rally fall short at Athens on Friday, Sept. 2.
The Rams, who dropped their 2011 gridiron opener, 21-14, to the Wildcats, couldn’t overcome a three-touchdown deficit.
“We didn’t play very well in the first half,” admitted Ram head coach Jim Huffman.
Athens outgained the Rams, 233-23, in the first half.
But the Rams made a contest of it in the second half, closing the gap to seven points with 5:18 to play in the game.
After the Wildcats missed a 35-yard field goal on their first possession of the second half, Wyalusing needed six plays to cover 80 yards en route to their first score—a nine-yard touchdown run by Dan Frankenfield.
Andrew Pickett, who left the game later with an ankle injury, found Aaron Johnson for a 54-yard pass completion on third-and-nine to set up the touchdown.
Jordan Anderson booted the first of two extra points to cut the Athens lead to 21-7 with 6:05 left in the third quarter.
After holding the Wildcats on downs on the Wyalusing 30, the Rams embarked on a 15-play scoring march, capped by Tyler Thompson’s one-yard plunge.
Three Athens penalties for 35 yards aided the long scoring march.
Wyalusing forced an Athens punt on the ensuing possession.
With 2:30 remaining in the game, the Rams took over on their 43. However, a fumble on first down resulted in a 23-yard loss, essentially killing any chance of scoring. Athens eventually took over on downs at the Ram 5 with 1:13 left and ran out the clock.
Athens scored on its first possession of the game.
Tyler Birdsall capped a 47-yard, seven-play march with a seven-yard run with 6:56 left in the first quarter.
Troy Stivason kicked the first of his three extra points.
With 8:25 left in the second quarter, Stivason hit Mike Estes with a four-yard touchdown pass.
Stivason earlier had found Casey Shiposh for a 17-yard completion on third-and-10 to keep the 42-yard, eight-play scoring march alive.
On the ensuing kickoff, Austin Depew recovered a Wyalusing fumble at the Ram 23.
The Rams turned back the threat when Chad Johnson intercepted a pass in the end zone.
It turned out to be a temporary reprieve as Athens forced a quick punt and only needed three plays to cover 56 yards.
Birdsall had runs of 15 and 29 yards to set up Stivason’s 15-yard touchdown run with 4:01 left in the half.
Anthony Benninger, Clayton Force and Aaron Johnson were Wyalusing’s co-captains. …A beautiful late-summer night in the Penn-York Valley greeted a modest crowd at Alumni Stadium. …Wyalusing was strong on special teams with Aaron Johnson’s 57-yard kickoff return and McDonald’s 66-yard return in the second quarter. Tyler Fenton also had a good night punting, averaging nearly 40 yards on three kicks. …Defensively, McDonald and Aaron Johnson broke up a pair of Athens pass attempts. Benninger had a key tackle for a loss in the fourth quarter. …The two teams combined for 16 penalties for 111 yards. …The junior varsity game between the two schools, originally slated for Tuesday at Peterson Stadium, was cancelled because Athens was low on players in 10th and ninth grades and didn’t want to use upperclassmen. …The Rams return to action on Friday, Sept. 9 at South Williamsport, a 42-22 loser to Bloomsburg last week. Game time at Rodney K. Morgans Stadium is 7 p.m.