The Black Knights were an upset and heart-broken team after last week’s tough 14-7 loss to D4 AA foe Mifflinburg. This was the first regular season loss for the Black Knights since 2008. Towanda had little time to think about that loss as they had to prepare for arch rival and 6-0 Athens. This was not just a rivalry game; this game was also for the NTL title and had huge playoff implications. The Black Knights rode their defense again this time to a convincing 28-0 win and the NTL title.
For the first time in years it was the Athens Wildcats who came into this game the favorites, undefeated, and at home. Athens had their weapons of Casey Shiposh and Nick Carl who have been explosive on offense all year. This was not a good night to be on offense for Athens. A Towanda team that held 7-0 Mifflinburg last week to under 225 total yards of offense did one better this week holding Athens to just 83 yards total on the day. After each team went 3-and-out their first series Towanda got the ball back and faced a fourth-and-inches at the Athens 24.While the Wildcats defense geared up for the inside run, Roof bounced it outside and tumbled over the final defender to get into the end zone.
After spending the first half on the ground, the Black Knights finally went to the air late in the second quarter and Trey Sites hooked up with Ripic on a 35-yard pass with 1:39 left in the half to make it 14-0 after Roof hit his second extra point. That would end the scoring in the 1st half. Down 14-0 in the third quarter it appeared the Wildcats might get some favorable field position as they forced Towanda to punt from their own 12, however Ripic unleashed a 63-yard punt, putting Athens back inside their own 30. Not only was the punting working well for Towanda, but they also scored on special teams as Athens fumbled the ball on a punt attempt from their own endzone. After a scramble for the ball, Roof recovered it with 7:46 left in the game. He hit the extra point and it was 21-0. Towanda capped their scoring 2:46 later as Sites threw to Casey Huff, who made a fingertips catch and ran it in from 38 yards out. Roof hit the extra point and with 5:00 left in the game it was 28-0.
Carl completed 6-of-20 passes for 44 yards, with Ray McDougan getting four catches for 38 yards and Shiposh catching two passes for six yards. Adam McCauley had an interception for the Wildcats in the game.
Roof led the Towanda attack, gaining 114 yards on 18 carries. Roof also intercepted a pass in the game, along with recovering the fumble for a score. Garrett Dinelli had 35 yards on 10 carries, Sites gained 29 on nine carries and Jordan Dawsey got four carries for eight yards.
Sites was 4-for-8 passing for 99 yards with two scores. Ripic and Huff each had their touchdown catches and Roof had a 17-yard catch, while Dawsey caught a pass for nine yards.
With the win Towanda goes to 5-1 and will return home to play Canton next week. This win also gives the Black Knights their 3rd straight NTL title. Athens falls to 6-1 and the road doesn’t get any easier next week taking on undefeated Mifflinburg.