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
Curwensville – Jesse Hoover 67 punt return (Jed Greslick run), 8-0
Port Allegany – Paul Woods 5 pass from Camrin Stuckey (Seth Lowery run), 8-8
Curwensville – David Kalgren 1 run (pass failed), 14-8
Curwensville – Safety, Lowery tackled in end zone, 16-8
Curwensville – Ben McGary 1 run (Hoover kick), 23-8
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