Athens blocks Wellsboro in last game.

By: Lee Ed Thomas II | Wellsboro Gazette | November 10, 1999


When you have the size Athens has on their defensive line there is really only one thing left to do. Pass the ball.

Wellsboro couldn't get any momentum going against the Athens defensive line which resulted in the Green Hornets only gaining 10 rushing yards during their final season game Friday night, November 5.

With the ground attack going up against the odds and getting nowhere, the Green Hornets turned to senior signal caller Jake Banik. Banik tossed 23 passes on the night with only eight finding their mark for 71 yards. Wellsboro had a total of 87 yards on offense.

Despite the attempt to find success in the air, Athens overwhelmed Wellsboro and scored a touchdown in each quarter for the 27-0 win.

"We threw a lot and Jake (Banik) played the best game he has all year," first year Wellsboro head coach Mike Pietropola said. "A couple of guys dropped passes at key times and that hurt us."

In addition to Wellsboro's failure to generate offense due to the defensive line, the Athens offense wreaked havoc on the Wellsboro defenders.

The Athens secondary narrowed the odds for Wellsboro's pass attack by going with a man to man defense.

Brandon Shiposh got Athens on the board mid way through the first quarter by capping a long drive with a 10 yard bolt into the end zone. Josh Stevens added the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

Wellsboro had trouble shutting down the Athens running backs who utilized their depth with nine backs who rushed for 296 yards on 47 attempts.

Wellsboro adjusted their defense to contain the run but to no avail.

"We were really hoping to be quicker than they were and stunt defensively," Pietropola said. "They picked it up and were bigger and stronger."

Athens struck again early in the second quarter to widen their lead to 14-0.

Chad Baggerly punched the ball in from one yard out and Stevens followed with the extra point two minutes into the second quarter for the halftime lead.

Athens mixed their offense up to open the run with Wally Getsford passing. Getsford was 4-of-4 for 61 yards passing.

In the third quarter, Eric Agnew exploded on a 45 yard touchdown romp followed by a Stevens extra point to make the score 21-0. Agnew was Athens' leading rusher on the night piling up 89 yards on nine carries.

Athens' Jason Barry capped the win with a seven yard scamper into the end zone with one minute remaining in the game. Phil Shamoun added the extra point for the 27-0 win.

With the win, Athens (7-3) is expected to receive a berth in the Class AAA playoffs.

Wellsboro ended their season with a 2-8 record.

Derek Harsch, a sophomore, was the Green Hornets' leading rusher racking up 594 yards rushing on 160 carries. Harsch was trailed by Jamie Palmer who rushed 85 times for 333 yards.

Senior quarterback Jake Banik passed for 434 yards and completed 44 of his 134 attempts.

Wellsboro, under the leadership of Pietropola, will continue their program building in the off season. Although Wellsboro did not have a winning season, Pietropola has seen progress in the program and the players.

"I really believe our kids have made big strides since day one," Pietropola said. "I like that they didn't quit. It's hard to be 2-8 but they didn't quit.

"They worked hard just like they did at the beginning of the year," Pietropola added, "I thought highly of the kids that played."