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Northern Tier Sports Report
Towanda football posted their first winning record since the 2017 this year, finishing the regular season 6-4, and earning the fifth seed for the playoffs.

“I believe that the our team reached many goals that they developed in the off season,” said coach Craig Dawsey. “Each year we have a mission statement and goals that will define our season. The upper classmen make up the goals that define their season. After all only the players get to define the success of the season. It certainly is not the person or people who have not put on the pads in the heat of August who get to define a season.”

The Black Knights opened the season with a 26-6 victory at NP-Mansfield, but then fell to a tough team Milton, 27-0, on the road in week two.

They rebounded in week three with a 21-0 win over Northwest for their home opener, but followed that up with a 40-0 loss at Canton.

Then came the 20-17 overtime win over Wellsboro on the leg of Jack Wheaton, followed by a 27-6 victory at home against Athens to improve to 4-2 on the year.

The eventual league champions Troy defeated them 37-0, but Towanda would bounce back with a 19-14 win over Hughesville.

They followed that up with a 55-7 victory against Tunkhannock to keep the T-Bone.

In the regular season finale they lost in a thriller, 15-14, to Wyalusing before falling to Line Mountain in the district playoffs 46-23.

“As always, there were some goals that we missed out on but for the most part they can be proud of the season they had by the end of it in looking back,” said Dawsey. “They had to deal with much adversity and they kept fighting through those tough times and accomplished the right to hold their heads up and realize that a reputation of excellence indeed inspires trust.”

Riley Vanderpool proved to be on the best players in the district as he moved to quarterback. He ran for over 1400 yards and 13 touchdowns, while throwing for over 800 yards on the season.

Before he was injured Mason Higley ran for 300 yards and two scores in his first football season, while Tahshon Garner finished with three touchdowns runs and a 9.1 average of yards per carry.

Garner was also Vanderpool’s top receiving option with over 400 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Rylee Sluyter also had eight catches for 179 yards and a score.

The real strength of the team was on the defensive side, with Vanderpool and Sawyer Robinson both getting 65 tackles on the year.

Varrius Farrell led the team in tackles for loss (13) and sacks (nine). 

The Black Knight defensive backfield produced 15 interceptions this season, led by Will Shrawder’s eight, and Vanderpool’s five. Slutyer also had a nose for the ball on defense with three fumble recoveries.

Wheaton also had a solid year of kicking, making over 80-percent of his extra points and getting a fair share of touchbacks.

Moving forward Towanda returns most of their starters thanks to a big junior class, and with a junior high team coming off an undefeated season, things are looking up for the Black Knights.

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