Function of Beauty

Offensive Line propels Athens to 26-12 win over North Penn.

By: Tim Birney | Valley Sports Report | September 2, 2017


ATHENS — Senior Zach Jayne rushed for 282 yards and four TDs to lead Athens to a come-from-behind, 26-12, win over North Penn here Friday night in a key NTL Large School football match-up at Alumni Stadium.

"Zach Jayne was tremendous, but our offensive line was fantastic tonight," said Athens coach Jack Young. "We made a lot of in-game adjustments, and a lot of changes at the line-of-scrimmage as far as blocking schemes are concerned.

"I can't say enough about our guys up front," noted Young. "I can't say enough about Gavin Corino, Dawson Leiser, Cody Sindoni, Jared Williams, Dylan Comstock, Zack Woodard, and Matt Robbins.

"They're playing both ways, and the longer the night got, the tougher they got," added Young. "We talked a lot about toughness this week, and those guys were incredible."

North Penn struck first when Brendan Hill broke loose on a 79-yard TD run with 4:12 left in the first quarter to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead.

"Defensively, other than the one big play, we were outstanding," said Young. "It may have been one of the best tackling nights we've had in a long time. We were tackling machines, whether there was one guys at the ball, or four guys at the ball."

After an exchange of possessions, Jayne capped a short scoring drive for the Wildcats with a 19-yard TD run on the first play of the second quarter.

The Wildcats defense forced a North Penn punt on the ensuing possession, but a fumble at midfield gave the Panthers the ball back at midfield.

Five plays later, NP QB Brent Burleigh hooked up with Dylan Wesneski on a 17-yard TD strike to give the Panthers a 12-7 lead.

The Wildcats answered with a sustained drive, culminating with a 1-yard TD plunge by Jayne on fourth-and-goal with 29 seconds left in the half. The Panthers stopped two QB sneaks from inside the 1 by junior Kaden Rude prior to Jayne's second TD of the game.

Aric Westbrook's second PAT kick of the game made it 14-12.

Defense ruled in the second half until Jayne bulled into the end zone from 1 yard out with 4:09 left in the game to make it 20-12.

Jayne scored again on a 19-yard run just 2 1/2 minutes later to seal the victory.

Rude completed 5 of 9 passes for 78 yards for the Wildcats, and Matt Robbins was the top target with two receptions for 40 yards.

Hill led North Penn with 100 rushing yards and a TD on 10 carries, but the Panthers managed just 56 yards on the ground as a team, thanks to six QB sacks of Burleigh.

Burleigh was 15 of 29 for 109 yards and one TD through the air, while being picked off once. Wesneski led Panther receivers with seven grabs for 50 yards and one TD.

Athens, now 2-0, plays what amount to be an NTL Large School title game Friday at Wellsboro, now 2-0 after a 48-14 win over Sayre.


About the Author

Tim Birney Author Bio
Tim Birney

Tim Birney is the founder/owner of Valley Sports Report, which covers high school and youth sports in the Sayre and Athens, PA and Waverly and Tioga, NY school districts.

Birney, a 1988 graduate of Utica College of Syracuse University, spent nearly 20 years as a Sports Writer at the Daily Review and Evening/Morning Times.

He founded Valley Sports Report in August of 2009.