November 25, 2008
As area basketball teams prepare to tip off their non-league schedules, with the first wrestling matches not far behind, it’s time to take a final look back at the fall sports season. Several Port Allegany High School athletes earned leaguewide recognition for their play, and for the second straight year, two selections to the prestigious Olean Times Herald Big 30 All-Star teams – one each in football and boys’ soccer – topped the list.
Josh Guerrero, the 47th Port High football player tapped for the Big 30 squad since its inception in 1968, spearheaded a defense that allowed more than 17 points in just two of their nine games. The 6-1, 205-pound senior linebacker led the entire Allegheny Mountain League in tackles and also contributed seven takeaways, including a remarkable performance against Smethport, when he forced and recovered four fumbles in the Gators’ 20-6 Homecoming win.
Kirby Elliott is the secondto earn Big 30 honors in just the program’s third season at the varsity level, and one of only two Pennsylvania players on the team. The junior midfielder notched two hat tricks on his way to a team-leading 12 goals, helping the Gators finish 9-4-1 in the Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League’s North division – good for second place behind ECC – before falling to eventual district champion Brookville in a second-round playoff match and completing their season with an 11-7-1 overall record.
Of course, both players were also honored by their respective leagues. Senior captains Damen Brodhun (offensive guard) and Brent Frontino (defensive tackle), along with junior defensive back Ryan Bodamer (second on the team in tackles) and sophomore fullback Seth Lowery (the Gators’ leader in both rushing yardage and scoring), joined Guerrero as AML North All-Stars, and senior midfielder Jon Burkart (six goals, including both scores in a 2-1 win over Kane) also represented Port Allegany on the UAVSL North All-Star team.
On the girls’ side, Cortney Barnett was the only area player selected as an UAVSL North All-Star. The senior goalkeeper was in the Gator net for all eight of the team’s wins, including two shutouts, and her 33-save performance in a 1-0 overtime playoff loss to top-seeded Elk County Catholic prompted the veteran ECC coach to tell a group of reporters that Barnett was “one of the top goalies we’ve ever faced. She’s one of the best goalies we’ve seen in the ten years I’ve been coaching.”
Two volleyball players received recognition, with league coaches naming Emily Schena as a first-team North Tier League All-Star. The senior libero provided veteran leadership and steady defensive play for a young team, averaging over 20 digs per match and coming up big in the Lady Gators’ Senior Night win over Northern Potter. In addition, junior outside hitter Alyssa Bowser earned an honorable mention to the squad.
And moving from the court to the golf course, junior Lynea Gustafson and sophomore Kyle Hildebrandt were both tabbed as Penn-York League All-Stars. The honor marked the third consecutive selection for Gustafson, who also added the league’s Most Valuable Player award to her increasingly crowded trophy case.
(NOTE: Although both PIAA state qualifier Jessica French and fellow senior Justin Lewis would have presented strong credentials for inclusion, the North Tier League does not select a cross country all-star team.)