Football: Johnsonburg 7, Port Allegany 0

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 18, 2008

Fans expecting a repeat of last year’s 46-32 shootout were instead treated to a defensive struggle on Friday night in Johnsonburg, with the Rams doing just enough to escape with a 7-0 win against the visiting Port Allegany Gators.

Rams head coach Tom Launer had a pretty good idea this game wouldn’t be anything like their first two, both lopsided wins. “Port Allegany’s got a good football team,” he said afterward. “I told our kids all week, ‘You’re 2-0 and you’ve scored a lot of points, but we’re not going to score 40 points against this team. They play excellent defense.’”

Early in the game, a gutsy coaching call put the Gators on the move. After their opening drive stalled on their own 41-yard line, Camrin Stuckey dropped back to punt. Instead, he took the snap and rolled out to his left, sprinting down the Port sideline all the way to the Johnsonburg 34.

Port couldn’t gain any traction from there, but after Stuckey’s punt pinned the Rams deep, the sophomore QB/DB made another big play by picking off a pass at the 35. Once again, however, a stifling Johnsonburg defense wouldn’t let the Gators get much closer to the end zone, holding on fourth down at their own 26. The game settled down into a defensive battle, with neither team able to gain much ground.

On the first play of the second quarter, Johnsonburg running back Zane Zelehoski tipped the scales in the home team’s favor, breaking loose on a punt return to give the Rams the ball at the Gator 35. From there, quarterback Ren Yonker hit Craig Carrow for an 18-yard pass completion on fourth down to keep the drive alive, then capped it off with a 10-yard touchdown run. Kicker Mark Myers added the extra point, and the Rams were on the board.

“The score they made – we never should have given it to them,” Gators head coach Mike Bodamer said, “but they took advantage of our mistake and scored.”

Port returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, but penalties – a problem for both teams all evening – knocked them back to their own 25. On a play that WHKS broadcaster Al Lacher described as “third-and-Ridgway,” the coaches decided on a quick-kick, and Stuckey got the Gators out of danger with a punt that finally stopped rolling at the Johnsonburg 33.

Again, neither team was able to move the ball. The Rams did manage one shot at the end zone just before halftime, but Yonker’s long fourth-down pass slipped through the receiver’s hands just past the goal line, and the score remained 7-0.

The Gators caught a break early in the fourth quarter, when Yonker mishandled a bouncing punt. Chris Fabish tracked down the ball at the Rams 26 to give Port its deepest drive start of the night, but the Johnsonburg defense held firm again, with Myers breaking through the line to sack Stuckey on fourth down.

After a long Yonker run was called back by yet another penalty, Gator linebacker Seth Lowery caught the Rams quarterback in the backfield for a sack on the next play, and Carrow was forced to punt from inside his own 20. His kick rolled dead at the Port 34 with 5:43 remaining, and the Gators had one final chance to tie the game. They managed to drive past midfield, but eventually turned the ball over on downs, and Johnsonburg ran out the clock for the win.

After the game, Bodamer knew his team had missed some opportunities. “We had a fumble and two interceptions to our advantage, but we just couldn’t do anything with them,” he said. “Their defense is tough. They kept sending people from all different directions, and I think our kids were confused by it.”

The Gators’ ground game, held under 100 yards for the second week in a row, remains a source of concern for the Port mentor. “We need to be able to establish a running game,” he admitted. “We still have an inexperienced backfield. They’re starting to learn, but they really haven’t done a lot of it. Hopefully, we’ll turn it around and get a couple of wins under our belts in the next few weeks.”

On the other sideline, Launer praised both squads. “Stuckey played an excellent game for them,” he said. “I’m sure his numbers didn’t show it because we played so well on defense, but he gave us fits the whole game.”

He continued, “The Port Allegany coaching staff had their kids well prepared, and they’ve got some good football players on that team. But we have an excellent defensive football team – the first string hasn’t been scored on yet this year – and they did another good job tonight.”

Port’s schedule doesn’t get any easier this weekend, when 2-1 Kane visits Gator Field on Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff (WHKS-FM 94.9, The Wolves lost a lot of talent from the team that captured the AML and District 9 titles last season, but the Gator coaching staff will certainly have to account for the presence of returning All-State players Ross Nicholson and Steve Mix.

“Kane’s a lot like Johnsonburg,” Bodamer said. “They’ve got a lot of speed, and some big physical kids. Defensively, we’ll come out and try to play the same type of game we did tonight. Offensively, we’ll go back to the drawing board and see what we can do.”

Score by quarters:
Port Allegany 0 0 0 0 0
Johnsonburg 0 7 0 0 7

Second quarter
Johnsonburg – Ren Yonker 10 run (Mark Myers kick), 7-0

Team Statistics: PA J
First downs 3 12
Rushes-Yards 31-67 36-122
Passing Yards 9 87
Comp-Att-Int 4-15-0 7-19-2
Total Yards 76 209
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-1
Punts-Avg. 6-36.3 3-41.3
Penalties-Yards 9-83 8-72
Total Plays 46 55

Josh Kinney back in the St. Louis bullpen

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 11, 2008

October 26, 2006.

The last time relief pitcher Josh Kinney walked to the mound in a major league game, his Saint Louis Cardinals were three innings away from taking a 3-1 lead in the World Series. The Cards would finish off the Detroit Tigers the following night to win their tenth world championship, and it’s not stretching the imagination to assume that a majority of the television sets in Port Allegany and Roulette were tuned to the game and the celebration that followed.

The 1997 Port High graduate realized his dream on the Busch Stadium field that autumn, and took the entire area along with him for an unforgettable ride. However, disaster struck the next spring. Kinney’s elbow locked up on him in a spring training game, and doctors discovered he’d need “Tommy John” surgery to replace the frayed and torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.

Then, while he was working his way back from the surgery, he broke a small bone in the elbow during a throwing session in August, and it was back to Square One for more rehab.

“It’s not really the way you want to go start the season off after winning a World Series,” Kinney told “To start out having an injury like that, it’s already going to cost you a year. You get turned around and you think that’s bad and then you blow off a bone and that takes another year.”

Almost 700 days have passed since that rainy October night in Saint Louis, and Kinney’s long, arduous trip back to the major leagues is all but complete. Although he has yet to pitch in a game for the Cardinals, he rejoined the big-league club during their road trip to Arizona on Sept. 2, after a successful week-long rehab stint with the Cards’ Double-A affiliate in Springfield.

“Somehow or another I look back and it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since the World Series. But it has, and here I am,” said the righthander, who turned 29 in March. “I’m just fortunate enough to be able to count my blessings and get to be able to get back to where I’m at now.”

Kinney will be close to home this weekend, when the Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh for a three-game series with the Pirates. (Game times are set for 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and 1:35 p.m. Sunday afternoon.) More than a few area residents are expected to make the 3.5-hour trip south to cheer on one of Port’s favorite sons.

Those interesting in buying tickets to any of this weekend’s games can either visit the Pirates’ Web site at or call 1-800-BUY-BUCS.

PAHS Sports Briefs for Sept. 8-14

Cross Country:
Boys – Oswayo Valley 18, Port Allegany 38
Girls – Oswayo Valley 27, Port Allegany 29

Port’s cross country teams traveled to Shinglehouse early in the week for a dual meet against Oswayo Valley. The Gator girls barely missed the program’s first win, falling to the home team by just two points. Jessica French recorded the winning time of 22:35 on the OV course, with Jackie Lewis (25:30) and Desi Tanner (25:36) also finishing in the top five. On the boys’ side, Justin Lewis came in fifth against a strong group of Green Wave runners, crossing the finish line with a time of 19:52.

The Lady Gators golf team fell to Coudersport on the Falcons’ home course last Monday, 34 ½ to 20 ½. Lynea Gustafson continued her strong play, earning medalist honors by shooting 47 for nine holes. After a ten-day break, the team returns to action this Thursday afternoon in a rematch at Coudy. A similar quirk in the schedule left the boys’ team without a match last week; they resumed play on Monday, when they traveled to the Smethport Country Club to face the Hubbers and the Otto-Eldred Terrors.

Boys’ Soccer:
Sept. 8 – Saint Marys 2, Port Allegany 0
Sept. 9 – Port Allegany 9, Ridgway 0
Sept. 11 – Port Allegany 1, Smethport 0

Port took a break from the Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League schedule on Monday to get in a game against the Dutchmen, a Class AAA team. “We actually dominated Saint Marys – we had 23 shots to their 13 – but they converted on their chances, their goalie played well, and we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” Gators head coach Aaron Clark said after the loss.

The Gators rebounded to overwhelm a young Ridgway team 9-0 the next night. Kirby Elliott led the Gator attack with three goals, Tyler Payne netted one for his team-leading fifth score of the season, and Denzel Middleton, Ken Kysor, Ben Osani, Sam Shaffer, and Max Parana all scored against the Elkers. Ryan Sabolcik and Willie Postlewait combined for four saves in the win.

According to Clark, his team is a little ahead of where he thought they’d be at this point. “Honestly, if we would have been .500 going into most of our league matches, I would have been thrilled,” he said. “Right now, we’re 3-0 in the league, and if we keep doing what we’re doing, we can challenge for a league title. That’s kind of nice … but we still have to keep winning. It’s still extremely early in the league schedule.”

On Thursday, a 3-1 Smethport squad arrived at the Mill Street field intent on avenging their loss to the Gators at the end of last season. The teams played a scoreless, evenly-matched first half, with neither side able to get many quality chances on goal.

“Smethport plays a defense-first style,” Clark explained after the game. “They pack everything into the middle, and it’s very difficult to get a decent shot against them.”

Play began to shift toward the Smethport side of midfield in the second half, before Kirby Elliott finally managed to find the net in the 71st minute. His goal, on an assist from Jon Burkart, gave the Gators a 1-0 win to keep their unbeaten league record intact.

Ryan Sabolcik stopped seven shots to earn Port’s third shutout of the season, while Adam Groshek had nine saves for the Hubbers, who fell to 3-2 (2-1 in league) with the loss.

The Gators (5-2, 4-0 in league), one of just two Pennsylvania teams to earn mention in the latest Olean Times Herald Big 30 soccer rankings, hit the road for matches at Brockway and Coudersport this week before returning home to face Elk County Catholic on Saturday morning.

Girls’ Soccer:
Sept. 8 – Kane 2, Port Allegany 1
Sept. 10 – Saint Marys 4, Port Allegany 1
Sept. 13 – Port Allegany 5, Smethport 1

Down 2-0 to Kane, Bryanna Evans headed Kaitlyn Kio’s throw-in past the Wolves’ goalkeeper to bring Port back within one, but the Gators couldn’t net the equalizer. While head coach Travis Cowburn was disappointed by the loss, he was thrilled to see Kio’s and Evans’ effort result in a goal. “We’ve been working on that play a lot in practice,” he said, “and it was great to see them get one in a game.”

Port scored first against Saint Marys and the match was tied at the half, but the Class AAA Lady Dutch – a school twice Port’s size – netted three goals after the break to pull away for the 4-1 victory.

“We’re almost there,” Cowburn said the next day. “It’s slowly coming together. They’re giving me everything they have; now, we just have to take that last step and learn how to finish games.”

On Saturday morning, his team did just that against Smethport’s first-year program. Bryanna Evans scored two goals to pace the Lady Gator attack, with Amanda Kelly, Kari Drabert, and Kaitlyn Kio also finding the back of the Hubbers’ net. Senior goalkeeper Cortney Barnett saved two shots for her second win of the season.

While Evans and Kelly are battling for the team goal-scoring lead, Cowburn also praised the play of midfielder Amarae Reinard. “She’s our steam engine,” he said. “Right now, she’s the one driving this team.”

Following six straight road trips, the 2-4 Lady Gators finally returned home to play a match on their own field, taking on Ridgway on Sept. 16.

Sept. 10 – ECC 3, Port Allegany 0
Sept. 11 – Austin 3, Port Allegany 0

The Gator spikers lost a 25-13, 25-22, 27-25 decision to Elk County Catholic on Wednesday before opening North Tier League play in Austin on Thursday night. The Panthers prevailed in their home gym, winning a tightly contested match by scores of 25-22, 25-22, 25-16, to drop the Lady Gators to 0-4 on the season. They returned to action against Oswayo Valley on Tuesday night before traveling to Smethport on Thursday.

Football: ECC 15, Port Allegany 0

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 11, 2008

On an overcast, muggy Saturday afternoon at Gator Field, Elk County Catholic scored on their first two possessions to take an early 15-0 lead, then managed to keep Port off the scoreboard to give new ECC head coach Travis Skrypek his first win at the varsity level.

Afterward, Mike Bodamer wasn’t pleased with his team’s level of intensity early in the game. “We didn’t come to play at all,” the Gator coach said. “The first two drives Elk County had, we were just playing lackadaisical … We backed off them in practice over the summer, and we’re paying for it now. We didn’t come out fired up to play.”

The Crusaders started at their own 40 after the opening kickoff and quickly moved down the field, using four different running backs and two timely pass completions to set up first-and-goal at the Gator 6. Fullback Josh Catalano got the call on back-to-back plays from there, scoring on the second one from two yards out, and Tom Marconi added the two-point conversion.

Less than a minute later, Elk Catholic got the ball back when defensive tackle Alex Moore recovered a Gator fumble at the Port 39. This time, tailback Kyle Gerber capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, and Catalano’s kick was good, giving the visitors all the points they’d need. Port’s defense held ECC down for the rest of the game, forcing several turnovers and only allowing them to cross midfield once more, but the offense couldn’t cash in on any of their three trips inside the Crusaders 30-yard line.

“I was happy with our defensive effort,” Skrypek said after watching his team hold the Gators, who usually field a solid ground game, to 19 yards on 31 carries. “We gave up a little bit here and there, but we really came off the ball and stopped the run, which we were hoping to do today.”

Because starter Camrin Stuckey was restricted to punting duties due to injury, Bryce Healy, normally one of the team’s best running backs, was pressed into service at quarterback, and other players also changed positions. Bodamer admitted that Stuckey’s absence was a setback, but refused to blame the reconfigured offense for the loss.

“Camrin makes things happen out there – that was definitely a big thing – but it didn’t account for the way we played today,” he said. “We just had no energy. That has to change. Defensively, we did play better in the second half,” he continued, “but we can’t get down 15-0 – especially with the low numbers we have – and expect to come back and pull one out.

“I’ll take the blame for this one; I just didn’t have the kids ready to play,” Bodamer concluded. “Hopefully we can change that next week and get them more inspired to play in the first quarter instead of waiting until the fourth quarter.”

The Gators travel to Johnsonburg Friday night to take on the Rams in their home opener, with kickoff at Memorial Field scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Johnsonburg is 2-0, with lopsided wins over Otto-Eldred and Sheffield, and will be motivated to avenge a 46-32 loss to Port in the 2007 season opener.

As of Saturday, Bodamer hadn’t seen much game film on the current Rams squad, but he expects their offense to be just as potent as last year’s. “They have one of the fastest tailbacks in the league, and a big fullback,” he said. “Their split end (Ren Yonker) went to quarterback this year, and he’s a good athlete.” Yonker threw three touchdown passes against Sheffield and has also scored on a 93-yard run, an 81-yard punt return, and a 92-yard interception return this season.

WHKS-FM (94.9) will broadcast the game, which is also available online by going to the station’s Web site ( and clicking on the “LOCAL SPORTS & EVENTS LIVE” link.

Score by quarters:
Elk Co. Catholic 15 0 0 0 15
Port Allegany 0 0 0 0 0

First Quarter
ECC – Josh Catalano 2 run (Tom Marconi run), 8-0
ECC – Kyle Gerber 4 run (Catalano kick), 15-0

Team Statistics: ECC PA
First downs 9 6

38-157 31-19
Passing Yards

43 105

4-9-0 7-21-0
Total Yards

200 124

3-3 4-2

5-37.0 4-31.0

9-84 4-16
Total Plays

47 52

Individual Statistics:
ECC – Gerber 17-71, 1 TD; Catalano 10-44, 1 TD; Marconi 6-37, Meholic 3-17, Stubber 1-(-1), Jacob 1-(-11)
PA – Lowery 9-13, Healy 12-11, Woods 1-4, Bodamer 8-1, Guerrero 1-(-4)

ECC – Jacob 4-9, 43 yards
PA – Healy 7-21, 105 yards

ECC – Eshbach 2-40, Bauer 1-11, Marconi 1-(-6)
Port Allegany – Woods 2-41, Kline 1-31, Lowery 1-14, Guerrero 1-10, Bodamer 2-7

PAHS sports briefs for Sept. 1 – 7

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 11, 2008

Boys’ Golf:
Sept. 3 – Coudersport 31, Port 24 / Oswayo Valley 33 ½, Port 21 ½

In their only match of the week, the boys’ golf team dropped a double-dual to Coudersport (31-24) and Oswayo Valley (33 1/2-21 1/2) on the Falcons’ home course. Sophomore Kyle Hildebrandt led the Gators with a round of 43 for nine holes, and freshman Charlie Buchanan added a 52. Other Port golfers competing included Terry Gleason (54), Marcus Borowsky (59), and Frank Austin (61).

Girls’ Golf:

Port finished eighth out of 11 teams participating at the Coudersport Invitational last Thursday, ahead of two other teams from their league. Lynea Gustafson “had the round of her life,” said coach David Roae; the Gator junior’s score of 89 for 18 holes was the lowest recorded by any Big 30 golfer at the tournament. Earlier in the week, Sarah Gordon earned medalist honors by shooting a 49 at Pine Acres in Port’s 33-22 loss to Bradford.

Boys’ Soccer:

Before the season began, Gators head coach Aaron Clark was confident his soccer team could compete with anyone on their schedule. So far, so good. In the opening week of Upper Allegheny Valley league play, Port dominated Johnsonburg by an 8-2 score on the Rams’ home turf, then returned to their own field to notch a 2-1 win over Kane.

Tyler Payne paced the onslaught in Johnsonburg with three goals, while Jon Burkart found the back of the net twice and Kirby Elliott, Jonathan Binder, and Ryan Michelitsch all chipped in with a goal apiece. Ryan Sabolcik had a quiet day in the Gator net, recording two saves for the win.

Against Kane, it was Burkart’s turn to lead the attack, as the senior midfielder accounted for both Gator goals. Sabolcik kept the Wolves at bay, saving six shots as Port improved its record to 3-1 for the season (2-0 in league).

Girls’ Soccer:

With a 3-2 victory at DuBois CC last Tuesday, the girls’ soccer team has already matched their win total from last season. Amanda Kelly scored two goals, Kaitlyn Kio added the third, and Cortney Barnett made 8 saves for the Lady Gators. The team traveled south again on Thursday, dropping a 4-1 final to Elk County Catholic. Kelly continued her scoring streak, tallying Port’s only goal in the loss. Port, now 1-2 on the season, continues their long road trip this week with games at Kane, Saint Marys, and Smethport before finally playing its home opener on Sept. 16.

Cross Country:

Team scoring wasn’t kept for the home dual meet against Otto-Eldred, but Justin Lewis and Jessica French apparently found the new course above Edison Bates Drive to their liking. Both Gator runners finished first, with Lewis recording a time of 21:02 to win the boys’ race and French crossing the finish line in 24:59 to pace the girls.

Desi Tanner (27:09), Jackie Lewis (28:21), and Melissa Haggard (31:44) also completed the 3.08-mile course on a hot, humid afternoon, with freshmen Elliott Binder (22:56), Jacob Stehle (23:38), and Adam Johnson (29:46) doing the same for the boys’ squad. Both teams resumed their schedule with a dual meet at Oswayo Valley on Tuesday afternoon, and will also run in the Franklinville Invitational Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.


The Gator spikers dropped two tough matches last week, falling to a powerful Wellsboro squad 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-21) before coming up just short in a five-set loss at Allegany-Limestone. Port lost the first two sets 25-20 and 25-21 before rallying to tie the match with 25-15 and 25-18 decisions, but the other Gators managed a 25-19 win in the deciding set to secure the win. According to Olean Times Herald statistics, Alyssa Bowser and Rachel Edgreen led the Port attack with 10 kills apiece, while Stacey Johnson recorded 17 assists and Kelsey Pistner added seven kills.

Football: Curwensville 23, Port Allegany 8

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 4, 2008

CURWENSVILLE – Although the game was tied at halftime, Gators head football coach Mike Bodamer suspected his team might be in trouble against a bigger, deeper Curwensville squad. His unease was warranted. The Golden Tide offense controlled the ball for almost nine minutes of the third quarter, scoring once and mounting another long drive that stalled at the Port Allegany 1-yard line, before adding another touchdown early in the fourth to secure a 23-8 win in the Allegheny Mountain League opener for both teams.

“We just ran out of gas in the second half,” Bodamer explained after the game. “We had some bad field position, and they just wore us down. They were rotating three or four guys in at a time, and we had about 12 kids playing the whole game.

“We knew it was going to happen,” he admitted. “We just don’t have the numbers, and we absolutely ran out of gas. And that’s when injuries start.”

Those injuries included one to quarterback, Camrin Stuckey, who left the field with an apparent ‘stinger’ in the fourth quarter. After the game, he was taken to an area hospital for further examination, and Bodamer was uncertain of his status for next week.

Curwensville, led by returning AML All-Star Jesse Hoover, struck quickly in the first quarter. After a holding penalty negated a Gators first down on their opening drive, linebacker Derek Dixon broke through to sack Stuckey on the next play, forcing a punt. Hoover gathered in Stuckey’s kick at his own 33, picked up a couple of blocks, and cruised down the right sideline into the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown return. Jed Greslick added the two-point conversion run, and the home team took an 8-0 lead just 2:55 into the game.

Following another punt, the Tide offense went back to work, mixing a series of running plays with quarterback David Kalgren’s passes to Hoover to drive inside the Port 20. The Gator defense stiffened, though, and Kalgren’s fourth-down pass sailed out of the back of the end zone, turning the ball over on downs.

As the second quarter began, Port’s offense started to find its rhythm. Two strong Bryce Healy runs and a defensive pass interference penalty moved the ball into Tide territory, and Ryan Bodamer fought for three yards and a first down at the 33. However, disaster struck two plays later when Greslick intercepted Stuckey’s pass at the 18 to stop the drive.

The defense was again up to the task, stuffing Curwensville running back Ben McGary on third and short, and the resulting punt gave the Gators possession at their own 43. Taking advantage of their best field position of the night, the Port running game kicked into gear. On fourth and short, fullback Seth Lowery plowed through the middle of the line for a tough first down. Two plays later, Healy broke away from several would-be tacklers for a 28-yard run, and the Gators were on the move. After an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on the defense gave Port first and goal, Stuckey found Woods for a 5-yard touchdown reception on fourth down, and Lowery ran for the conversion to knot the game at 8-8 with just 0:17 remaining before the break.

Curwensville ran back the second-half kickoff to their own 43, and the Tide offense started to roll. Kalgren capped off an efficient series with a 1-yard quarterback sneak for the touchdown; his pass to Tyler Johns for the conversion fell incomplete, making the score 14-8. After a quick three-and-out by Port, the home team set off on another long drive. But with their backs to the goal line, the Gator defense stood firm once more. On fourth down from the 2-yard line, they knocked the ball away from Greslick, with Brent Frontino recovering the fumble.

Unfortunately for Port, the turnover only delayed the inevitable. Pinned at their own 1, and with Curwensville beginning to dominate the line of scrimmage, they found no room to run. After the first two plays went nowhere, on third down, Lowery couldn’t fight his way past the tacklers surrounding him in the end zone. The safety extended the Tide’s lead to eight, the resulting free kick gave them the ball at the Gator 38, and the exhausted Port defense couldn’t stop them this time. McGary’s 1-yard touchdown run, followed by Hoover’s kick for the extra point, made the score 23-8 early in the fourth quarter, and the home crowd sensed that the game was firmly under control.

The Gators would get the ball back twice more, but their best chance at mounting a comeback ended when McGary picked off a pass from Healy (in at quarterback following Stuckey’s injury). As fog started to settle over the field, the Tide ran the final two minutes off the clock for the win.
Port returns to action this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. when they kick off their home opener against Elk County Catholic. The Crusaders, helmed by first-year head coach Travis Skrzypek, left Coudersport with a 29-15 loss last weekend.

Score by quarters:
Port Allegany  0  8  0  0 –   8
Curwensville   8  0  8  7 – 23

First Quarter
Curwensville – Jesse Hoover 67 punt return (Jed Greslick run), 8-0

Second Quarter
Port Allegany – Paul Woods 5 pass from Camrin Stuckey (Seth Lowery run), 8-8

Third Quarter
Curwensville – David Kalgren 1 run (pass failed), 14-8
Curwensville – Safety, Lowery tackled in end zone, 16-8

Fourth Quarter
Curwensville – Ben McGary 1 run (Hoover kick), 23-8

Team Statistics: PA CV
First downs 10 12

36-120 36-130
Passing Yards

35 124

6-15-2 9-16-0
Total Yards

149 254

4-0 1-1

4-30.3 2-31.0

4-30 6-62
Total Plays

51 52

Individual Statistics:
Port Allegany – Healy 7-51; Lowery 13-39; Stuckey 9-20; Woods 1-5; Bodamer 6-2
Curwensville – Kalgren 9-47, 1 TD; Greslick 8-39; Bloom 8-27; McGary 8-15, 1 TD; Opaliski 2-4

Port Allegany – Stuckey 6-13, 35 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Healy 0-2, 0 yards, 1 INT
Curwensville – Kalgren 9-16-0, 124 yards

Port Allegany – Healy 2-17; Lowery 2-6; Bodamer 1-7; Woods 1-5, 1 TD
Curwensville – Hoover 6-84; Greslick 1-34; Starr 2-6

PAHS soccer earns split in season-opening tourney

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 4, 2008

As the Port Allegany boys’ varsity soccer program enters its third year, momentum continues to build. Over the weekend, the team opened the season with a 1-1 record at the Galeton Tournament, including a 3-0 win over their hosts in an opening-round match.

The Gators, who tied Galeton 1-1 last year but lost the match on penalty kicks at the end of overtime, emphatically made sure that no extra session would be necessary this time.

“It was a good first game of the year,” Clark said. “It was a good way to go out, get the butterflies out, gain some confidence.”

Port concentrated on offense in the first half, with Jonathan Binder and Tyler Payne both finding the back of the Tigers’ net. “Binder was a pleasant surprise,” Clark said. “I thought he’d be providing more assists than anything this year.”

Protecting their 2-0 lead, the Gators went into a defensive shell in the second half. Clark’s gameplan was to “choke off Galeton, try to keep them from getting any balls at the goal.” The strategy worked, as Ryan Sabolcik recorded six saves to register the shutout and Binder scored his second goal.

The win sent the Gators into the tournament finals against Sullivan County, which had defeated Elkland 2-0 in its opening-round match. The Griffins – a District 4 playoff team last year – were simply too powerful for the Port side, winning the championship by a 5-0 score.

“They’re perennially a really good team,” Clark said. “This is the second time we’ve played them now, and they have our number; we can’t seem to figure them out. They’ve been playing for a long time. They’ve got a lot of skill at all their positions, and they’ve got very big players. Their school has no football team, so kids who are normally playing linebacker are playing soccer. It’s tough to go up against that kind of size.”

The Griffin defense paid special attention to Payne, marking him closely throughout the match. “The Northern Tier League teams play a much more physical game than the teams out here do,” Clark admitted.

However, he thinks the experience could benefit the team later in the season. “It’s nice to have the kids see that kind of soccer being played, because they won’t see it again for the rest of the year,” he said. “But if they’re successful and able to go far in districts, they’ll see that again at some point in the district playoffs. So it is nice for them to see that, and realize that not everyone plays like we do.”

Port’s performance in Galeton gave Clark confidence heading into Tuesday’s Upper Allegheny Valley league opener at Johnsonburg. “We realistically should be able to challenge for a win in every game this year,” he said. “I feel comfortable that we can challenge for some sort of league superiority.”

PAHS cross country 2008 preview

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 4, 2008

A week before her runners stepped to the starting line for their first meet, Port Allegany head coach Fran Reilly’s enthusiasm was evident, and with good cause. Not only will the Gators officially be able to field full teams for both boys’ and girls’ competitions this season, they’ll also have a “home-course” advantage again.

After last year’s Vo-Tech expansion wiped out the first track Reilly devised, and forced the teams to run all their meets on the road, she decided to take advantage of the woodlands across Edison Bates Drive from the school to build a decent course.

“Our challenge was, we have a beautiful hillside up there,” she said. “But it was a mess, and it was going to take a lot of work.” Fortunately, one of her students, Jordan Stehle, decided to take on the course as his Eagle Scout project. After an offseason of hard work by Stehle, Reilly, and her athletes, the program now has a brand new 3.08-mile layout – shortened to 1.6 miles for the junior high runners – “that can be maintained, that won’t fall apart after using it one time.”

Senior Justin Lewis, who finished third in the North Tier League championship and also ran well at districts, is the only returning varsity letterman for the boys’ team. However, he’ll be joined by a strong trio of freshmen – Elliott Binder, Jacob Stehle, and Adam Johnson – moving up from the junior high squad that won its league meet. Junior soccer fullback/midfielder Josh Fox, taking advantage of a new dual-enrollment rule which allows students to participate in more than one sport at the same time, will also run with the team, as will freshman James Coxen.

Reilly is optimistic about their prospects. “Every one of those guys is a fairly good athlete,” she said. “I think we’re going to be in the competition.”

Three of the four girls who competed in the district meet – senior Desi Tanner, junior Melissa Haggard, and sophomore Jackie Lewis – return for another season, and freshman Hannah Wise joins the varsity. Jessica French, a member of the team in 2006, is back for her senior year after concentrating on soccer last fall. (Like Fox, she’ll compete in both sports.) Reilly also sees potential in this group, with French and Tanner expected to set the pace.

But while she’s pleased at the thought of finally being able to field full rosters and officially keep score in dual meets, Reilly – herself an avid runner – doesn’t list team accomplishments among her expectations.

“The first thing, the first day, they all know that their goal is to beat themselves,” she said. “I’m not worried about anything else. Yes, if we get trophies or whatever, that’s great … but every time they get on the line, their biggest competition is themselves. ‘What did I get last time’? That’s what I want them to do. That’s why I like cross country. You’re competing against yourself.”

PAHS football 2008 preview

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 4, 2008

After his team finished last season with a 6-4 record and their third trip to the District 9 playoffs in four years, Gators head football coach Mike Bodamer expects to be in the mix again in 2008.

“We’re definitely one of the teams that could take the title this year,” he said. “There are six or seven that could actually win it, and I think we’re definitely one of them. If we don’t make the playoffs, it’s going to be a big disappointment. That’s our goal every year, just to get in the playoffs and see what happens.”

To do that, though, they’ll have to stay healthy. With just 25 names on the opening-weekend roster, “If we get a couple of injuries in our first 15 or 16, we’re going to be hurting,” Bodamer admitted.

The coaching staff, which includes Bob Haskins (offensive coordinator), Justin Bienkowski (line/junior varsity), Dan Eskeson (junior high), Nate Zitnik (junior high), and Bob Rankin (7th grade), is challenging the players to believe they can play with any team in the league.

“The last couple of years, we’ve been so close. When we lost to Coudersport and Curwensville, which were the two big guys, a lot of times, we just didn’t believe we could win,” Bodamer confessed. “Last year against Kane and Cameron County, same thing. I just don’t think they believed they could actually beat them. This year, we’re stressing that they can beat anybody – but they also can be beaten by anybody – just the idea of believing in themselves. That’s going to be a big part of it.”

Bryce Healy, Damen Brodhun, Brent Frontino, and Josh Guerrero have been chosen as team captains. While he expects a lot from those four players, Bodamer said of his team, “They’re all good kids. There are five seniors that are really good leaders, and most of the juniors have been playing since ninth grade. So they’ve been around, and they all get along well together.”

Josh Saltsman, Port’s only representative on the 2007 Big 30 All-Star team, is now playing for Clarion University. The Gators should still have a veteran presence on the offensive line, though, as Guerrero (who was named an Allegheny Mountain League All-Star last season), Brodhun, and Lucas Kline all started last season, and senior lettermen Frontino, Chris Fabish, and Zigmund Reichenbach also return.

However, the same isn’t true for the backfield, where QB/RB Derick Morey and leading rusher Nick Nichols both graduated. Sophomore Camrin Stuckey, who started the last few games of the 2007 season at quarterback, takes over the job full-time this year. Bodamer sees great potential in his young signal-caller. “That last Coudy game, in the playoffs, he really played well,” he said. “I think he realized he has the ability to play with anybody.”

Running backs Ryan Bodamer, Healy, and Paul Woods, along with fullback Seth Lowery, should earn the majority of the carries. Koty Milford and Zach Ramadhan start at receiver, but Healy and Woods are also expected to contribute in the passing game.

Bodamer is concerned about the backfield’s lack of experience – according to statistics, Lowery led the returning ballcarriers with 72 yards in 2007 – but said, “we have some good kids there. We’re not blazing fast, but all of our kids, especially our offensive line, can move pretty well. I think our speed’s going to finally be an asset for us.”

Port fielded an above-average defense last season, allowing 15 or fewer points in half of its games. Guerrero and Lowery, who both earned multiple accolades for their play from regional media outlets, are back to anchor a solid linebacking corps. Reichenbach and Frontino lead a disruptive defensive line. Bodamer paced the team with three interceptions from his cornerback spot last year; he and Healy give the team veteran leadership in the secondary.

Coach Bodamer, entering his fourth year in the top job after several seasons as an assistant, believes the races for both the division and league titles are wide open: “Coudy still has the talent. I think we’ll be up there. Cameron County, they’re young, but their young kids are really good, so they’re still going to be in it. Smethport, they’ll be back, and the new coach at Otto-Eldred has those kids working hard.

“Down south, Curwensville’s going to be loaded; they’ll be tough. Kane lost some of their skill players, but they still have most of their lines, and Nicholson, they’re going to be tough, too. Johnsonburg, they don’t have numbers, but they have some good skill-position players who are going to cause some problems. And of course, three of our first four games are Johnsonburg, Curwensville, and Kane … so we’ll see what we have the first week.”

He concluded, “I think the kids realize that we can hang with anybody as long as we play hard.”

PAHS boys’ golf 2008 preview

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 4, 2008

Eight golfers, including lettermen Terry Gleason, Kyle Hildebrandt, and Frank Austin, return for another season on the Gator varsity. While most of the team is back from last year, the steady play of 2008 graduate Andy Beck will be missed. “He’s a big loss,” head coach Bob Raudenbush said of Beck, who was named to the Penn-York League all-star team last season. “He was going out and getting 10 or 9 points every match, giving us a chance to win. Without him, we have some ground to make up.”

Competition for the No. 1 spot should be wide open, but Raudenbush expects Gleason to provide some stability for a roster dominated by underclassmen. “Terry’s our only senior,” he noted. “We’re definitely looking for his leadership to help our younger players.”

The large sophomore contingent is led by Hildebrandt, Port’s top returning scorer from the 2007 district championships, and Austin also lettered as a freshman. They’re joined by returning players John-Michael Austin, Todd Bigley, and Marcus Borowsky, along with newcomers Chad Barnard, Kody Taylor, and Chester Tanner. Freshmen Charlie Buchanan, Jaret Martin, and Josh Morey round out the squad.

“We have 12 players, so the interest is there,” said Raudenbush, who will be assisted by Chris Ernst again this season. “They’re a great bunch of kids, very coachable, they want to learn. And we’re very young. We can keep working with these kids. I think we’re capable; we have some pretty talented kids. We just have to get them on the golf course.”

That necessity, a minor detail for most teams, has become a major challenge for the Gator programs since Indian Echo Country Club closed several years ago. Raudenbush hates to use it as an excuse for the lack of recent team success, but he admitted, “The reality is, without a course for our kids to play on over the summer, we have an uphill climb. Last year, as the season progressed, our point difference kept getting smaller. I felt like we were making up ground … but there was too much ground to make up.”

Raudenbush has set some team goals for the 2008 season, saying he’d “like to get a win this year,” but he emphasizes the long-term benefits of the game.

“Individually, we try to help them progress as far as they can,” he said. “Wins and losses take care of themselves. We look at it as a lifetime sport. We’re excited that we have the numbers we do, and we feel like we’re getting them ready for the rest of their life playing golf.”