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 (www.whksradio.com) and clicking on the “LOCAL SPORTS & EVENTS LIVE” link.
|Score by quarters:|
|Elk Co. Catholic||15||0||0||0||–||15|
ECC – Josh Catalano 2 run (Tom Marconi run), 8-0
ECC – Kyle Gerber 4 run (Catalano kick), 15-0
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