AML Week 3: Goal-line stand carries Gators past Johnsonburg

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 24, 2009

It’s Saturday afternoon, the scoreboard clock at Gator Field shows 0:32.1 remaining in the fourth quarter, and Port Allegany is clinging to a 7-3 lead. But after making one stand inside the 5-yard line a few minutes earlier, the Gator defense is backed up to its own end zone again. It’s fourth-and-goal at the 1, and Johnsonburg has one more chance to punch the ball in for the potential game-deciding score.

Rams coach Tom Launer calls timeout, and both teams huddle for some last-minute instructions.

“Blitz as hard as you can,” Port Allegany coach Mike Bodamer tells linebackers Seth Lowery, Zach Ramadhan and Brock Taylor.

Quarterback Mitchell Vallone takes the snap, pivots, and hands the ball off to Trevor Miller, the 281-pound tackle-turned-fullback who outweighs the heaviest player on Port’s roster by a good 70 pounds … but before he can crash into the line, three Gator defenders are on him, dragging him down in the backfield.

Ballgame.

As the home stands still buzz with excitement, a kneeldown by Matt Bodamer finishes the game, and Port High escapes with the victory to improve to 2-1 in the Allegheny Mountain League North division.

“That goal-line stand was absolutely beautiful. Can’t ask the kids for anything more than that,” Bodamer said afterward. “Fourth-and-1, win or lose, and we decided to win this time.”

But while the veteran Port mentor was pleased to come away with a win, he was equally nonplussed about several miscues which helped keep the game in doubt until the thrilling ending. The Gators turned the ball over twice inside the Johnsonburg 20, and the Rams’ only score came from a short drive set up by another turnover.

“We played ugly in the first half; we should have had at least two touchdowns,” he said. “We could have easily had 28 points if we hadn’t had any problems … Just mistakes on our part, things we have to work on to make them automatic, instead of having to worry about it.

“It’s good to win, but I don’t feel very good about the way we played.”

The Gator offense looked good early, shrugging off a failed gadget play on the first snap of the game to drive deep into Rams territory on its first two possessions. However, neither one yielded any points, and the first quarter ended in a 0-0 deadlock. The Rams were going nowhere; their first four drives netted a total of 20 yards, with the only first down via a defensive penalty. But when Mitchell Holmberg recovered a fumble at the Port 33, the visitors were suddenly in position to take the lead. The drive stalled at the 5, but Trey DeCecchis pounded a 22-yard field goal through the uprights, and Johnsonburg took a 3-0 lead into the locker room.

The Rams went backward on the opening drive of the second half, and punter Andrew Nortum was called upon yet again. His booming kick sailed over the head of the returner and rolled all the way to the Gator 1, and the crowd on the visitors’ side stirred, hoping for a big defensive play.

The Gators didn’t oblige. Behind the strong running of Ryan Bodamer (11 carries – 66 yards rushing, 2 catches – 68 yards) and Lowery (19 carries – 94 yards, 1 catch – 31 yards), who each had strong games on both sides of the ball, the offense drove the length of the field. Lowery capped off the 99-yard scoring drive by breaking loose for a 20-yard touchdown run with 8:20 remaining in the third quarter, then added the extra point for the 7-3 margin.

“That was a little disappointing, the way we’ve been playing defense. We get them down there on the 1-yard line, I thought we were in pretty good shape,” Launer said.

The two teams swapped turnovers and punts heading into the fourth quarter, where the Rams unveiled their supersized backfield combo – Miller and 6-3, 245-pound Matt Shuey – and began moving the ball for the first time all afternoon, forcing the Gator defense’s last-minute heroics.

“We just couldn’t get our running game on track,” Launer explained. “We just put that formation in this week. We thought, maybe we can go with the big guys and get three or four yards per carry, and move the ball that way. It was working pretty good until we got inside the 5, and then they jammed it up. When we had first-and-goal on the 4, I thought we had a really good shot to punch it in, but we didn’t do it.”

Now 2-1, Port Allegany is tied with Coudersport for second place in the division, a game behind Cameron County. A tough road trip awaits this week, though, when the Gators head south to Kane to take on the defending AML champions. The Wolves are led by senior running back Arie Paup (24 carries – 142 yards, 3 TDs), who missed the game at Sheffield last week.

“We’ll have to key on him and make sure he doesn’t kill us,” Bodamer said. “Their quarterback can throw the ball a little bit, and they’ve got another fast tailback. They’re just so big up front; they look like little NFL linemen. Hopefully our guys will be able to use our speed again … I think these couple of defensive stands will give them a little bit of confidence. We’ll watch some tape, see what we can do with them, and find some way to get our offense back on track.”

At Port Allegany, Sept. 19:

Score by quarters:
Johnsonburg 0 3 0 0 3
Port Allegany 0 0 7 0 7

Second quarter

Johnsonburg –Trey DeCecchis 22-yard field goal, 3-0

Third quarter

Port Allegany –Seth Lowery 20 run, Lowery kick, 7-3 PA

Team Stats: J PA
First downs 10 14
Rushes-Yards 41-107 43-157
Passing Yards 60 143
Comp-Att-Int 4-14-0 5-10-0
Total Yards 167 300
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-3
Punts-Avg. 7-40.9 3-35.3
Penalties-Yards 3-28 4-30
Total Plays 55 53

Individual stats:

Rushing:

Johnsonburg – Shuey 8-32; DeCecchis 12-26; Miller 10-24; Vavala 7-13; Nortum 6-9; Vallone 2-5.

Port Allegany – Lowery 19-94, TD; R. Bodamer 10-66; Ramadhan 5-11; Stuckey 3-(-3); M. Bodamer 5-(-17).

Note: Rushing statistics include sack yardage for QBs.

Passing:

Johnsonburg – Nortum 2-12, 48 yards; Vallone 2-2, 12 yards.

Port Allegany – M. Bodamer 5-9, 143 yards; Stuckey 0-1, 0 yards.

Receiving:

Johnsonburg – Shuey 1-29; Holmberg 1-19; Nortum 2-12.

Port Allegany – R. Bodamer 2-68; Kline 1-35; Lowery 1-31; Stuckey 1-9.

Update: for the second consecutive week, both Seth Lowery and Ryan Bodamer were named to the D9Sports.com Honor Roll.

PAHS Sports Roundup: Sept. 16-22

Volleyball:

The Lady Gators remained undefeated in North Tier League play last Thursday, coming up with a 3-1 (25-17, 25-12, 19-25, 25-18) victory on Cameron County’s home court.

“The girls played excellent defense and a very well-rounded offense,” head coach Sharon Daniels said. “Kelsey Pistner had a banner night at the net with 13 kills and two blocks, and defensively had 12 digs. Joining in the offensive effort were Kyley Mickle with a personal best in kills with nine, 13 assists, 8 service points, Alyssa Bowser played well all around with six kills, 23 digs, two blocks and 10 service points, Renee Edgell with seven big kills, and Jenny Shelley with 16 service points, three kills, 15 assists and six digs. Becky Andrus really picked up her game tonight and played a very tight defense with 32 digs and added 15 service points to the board. Freshman Rachel Taylor chipped in with two kills and two big blocks.”

On Monday night, Port ran up against a tough Elk County Catholic squad, falling to the Crusaders 3-1 (25-14, 16-25, 25-10, 25-21) in a non-league match.

“We were slow starting in the first set and then came back to life in the second. That was not to last long, though, and we never got going at all in the third. The fourth found us with a 10-point deficit and we came back to within three before losing 25-21,” Daniels said.

She continued, “Although we came up on the losing side, we had much that was positive. Both Kelsey Pistner (15) and Renee Edgell (13) recorded match highs in kills. The team remained composed even when trailing.”

Becky Andrus added 30 digs, Jenny Shelley 14 assists, and Kyley Mickle 13 assists for the Lady Gators, 3-2 (3-0 NTL) heading into Tuesday night’s match against Smethport. They’ll be on the road for the next two matches, traveling to Oswayo Valley Thursday and Otto-Eldred next Tuesday.

Cross country:

The young Gator squad got to see one of the best squads in District 9 on Tuesday, when Oswayo Valley swept the top five places in a dominating 15-50 victory on Port Allegany’s 3.08-mile course. Green Wave freshman Barrett Kemp shattered the course record, crossing the line in a time of 18:45.

“I told our kids, ‘Don’t be disappointed when you don’t win this meet. They’re just that good,’” Port coach Fran Reilly said.

Aaron Majot (22:47) finished sixth to lead the Gators, with Jameson Haskins (24:20), Lucas Manning (26:05), and Bryan Pritt (26:06) rounding out the top 10.

The junior high team edged OV 27-28, with Adam Koehler (11:49, second place) setting a new personal best and Logan Hutton (14:03) and Steven Blankenship (14:07) also earning top-five finishes. A trip to Rochester for Saturday morning’s McQuaid Invitational is up next on the schedule.

Boys’ golf:

With trips to the Smethport Invitational (Friday morning, 9 a.m.) and next Tuesday’s District 9 Championships at Pennhills remaining on the schedule, the Gators conclude their Penn-York League season by matching last year’s 4-8 record.

Girls’ golf:

Led by Lynea Gustafson, who’s making a strong bid to repeat as Penn-York League MVP, the Lady Gators have already won twice and come close a couple of other times.

“It’s definitely nice to get the squad some wins,” coach Dave Roae said. “It’s been a few years.” Asked if Gustafson has picked up where she left off last year, he added, “She’s picked up – and then some, lowering her stroke average from 48 to between 42 and 43 shots per round.” Roae also mentioned Alesha Shatley’s improvement; the junior has cut four to five shots off her average, and is now consistently recording scores in the mid-50s.

At Emporium on Monday, Port’s top three golfers played Cameron County to a draw, but the Red Raiders barely managed to eke out a 29.5-25.5 victory. Gustafson carded a 45 to earn medalist honors, as she has in every match this season; Shatley (56) and Cora Bova (57) also finished in the top five, with Sasha Fischer (67) and Amber Fischer (69) rounding out the squad.

Roae noted, “Lynea had another nice round. The greens were just punched yesterday, so putting was a little difficult for most of the girls. The whole team had better scores than the last time we were there.”

The Gators, now 2-6 on the season, will head back to Emporium Country Club for the league tournament on Thursday morning.

Boys’ soccer:

The Gators’ undefeated streak in the Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League came to an end last Thursday with a 3-0 loss at Smethport.

“We played flat in the first half,” coach Aaron Clark admitted. “We were better in the second half, but we’d dug ourselves too big a hole. We had some chances; we just couldn’t find the back of the net.”

It didn’t take long for Port to find the win column again, though, as they used a late goal by Sam Kysor – his second of the game – to outlast Brockway 5-4 in the team’s long-awaited home opener.

“We jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first 15 or 20 minutes – which surprised me, because Brockway’s better than that,” Clark said. The Rovers proved his point, roaring back to tie the score before Kysor’s game-winner. “Definitely one of those ‘tale of two halves’ games,” the coach added.

With the Brockway win safely in the scorebook, the 5-3 (4-1 league) Gators face two more challenges this week, taking on a dangerous Coudersport team at home on Wednesday before visiting defending UAVSL North champion Elk County Catholic on Friday.

With the team’s goals of a 10-win season and a playoff berth in mind, “I’m comfortable with where we’re at,” Clark said.

Girls’ soccer:

After dropping games to Smethport (3-2) and Genesee Valley (3-0) last week, the Lady Gators rebounded with a solid 3-0 win at Ridgway on Tuesday night. Sophomore Jordan Edgell stopped 19 shots to record her first career shutout, and Kaylee Kio, Amarae Reinard, and Bryanna Evans all found the net for Port. “The defense really stepped up,” coach Travis Cowburn said.

Now 3-5 (3-2 UAVSL), Port is off until next Monday afternoon, when they make the long trip to Curwensville.

AML Football Week 2: Port A 41, ECC 20

Gator quarterback Matt Bodamer hands off to fullback Seth Lowery, who rushed for a game-high 184 yards and three touchdowns in Port's 41-20 win over ECC. (Photo credit - Pat Crants)

Gator quarterback Matt Bodamer hands off to fullback Seth Lowery, who rushed for three touchdowns in Port's 41-20 win over ECC. (Photo credit - Pat Crants)

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 17, 2009

Led by junior fullback Seth Lowery, who rushed for a career-high 184 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries, Port Allegany rolled up 248 yards on the ground en route to a 41-20 win over Elk County Catholic Saturday night in St. Marys.

“Seth said the holes were gigantic; he just got the ball and went,” Port coach Mike Bodamer said. “We also had some good blocks on the touchdown that Ryan (Bodamer) scored; Seth wiped out a kid to let Ryan get around the end. They both ran very well.”

He singled out guards Benn Baxter and Adam Greenman for their work against the larger ECC defensive line, noting, “Benn and Adam are small, but they’re tough kids. They just keep going after people.” Center Zach Manning also drew a mention, with Bodamer adding, “Somebody had to be moving those kids up the middle.”

Early on, it looked like the Crusaders (0-2) were going to make a game of it, taking the opening kickoff and marching 59 yards for a touchdown with David Bojalad covering the final 16 yards on a screen pass from quarterback Joe Jacob. The Gators (1-1) matched the score quickly, though, pounding the ECC defense on 11 straight running plays with their new no-huddle attack. On third-and-1 from the 5, Matt Bodamer took the snap and rolled right, then pitched the ball to Lowery for his first touchdown of the night. Tyler Burr’s extra point was good, and Port moved in front, 7-6.

Less than two minutes later, the defense found the scoreboard for the second time in as many weeks. Safety Matt Bodamer intercepted an overthrown pass at the Port 46, cut to his right, and sprinted past the ECC bench on his way to a 54-yard touchdown return to extend the Gator lead to 13-6. They came up big again on the next series, with Lowery and Lucas Kline stuffing fullback Kyle Gerber in the backfield on fourth-and-short from the Port 4-yard line to turn the ball over on downs.

However, the Crusaders were far from done. They caught a break when Matt Bodamer’s quick slant to Camrin Stuckey was deflected at the line of scrimmage and ended up in the hands of cornerback Rob Wortman, who ran the pick back 33 yards for the score, then caught a two-point conversion pass from Jacob to put his team back in the lead midway through the second quarter.

“I’m kicking myself for calling that pass play, because we were running the ball so well,” coach Bodamer admitted.

Not to worry, because his defense kept making plays. Greenman’s fumble return to the ECC 20 set the Gator offense up with great field position just before halftime. Lowery punched in a 2-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal, then added a 2-point run to make the score 21-14 at the break.

Port’s no-huddle went back to work as the second half began, taking just 3:30 to move 58 yards in eight plays. Ryan Bodamer finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to increase the margin to 27-14, and the visitors started to take control of the game.

“We just tired them out with the no-huddle,” coach Bodamer said. “In the third quarter, we kind of got away from it because we wanted the clock to run out, but even the first time we got the ball … They scored and we were kind of down, so we went no-huddle the very first series and took it right down and scored, and the same thing at the start of the second half. I just think it keeps the defense on their heels a little bit; they don’t have time to adjust.”

ECC’s next possession ended on another fourth-down stop, with James Nellis and Ryan Bodamer bottling up running back Ricky Pearsall for no gain. The elder Bodamer played an outstanding game on defense, finishing the night with a game-high 15 total tackles.

“Just a great team effort,” coach Bodamer said. “We knew No. 3 (Pearsall) was a heck of a ballcarrier. We preached all week that we had to gang-tackle him and not let him cut back. He made a couple of nice runs on us, but for the most part we did a decent job with him. He’s just a good runner. It’s tough to try and contain him.”

An 18-yard touchdown pass from Matt Bodamer to Kline gave the Gators a comfortable 35-14 cushion heading into the fourth quarter, but Pearsall had one big play left in him. Just after the teams switched ends, the junior running back took a nifty behind-the-back pitch from Jacob and sprinted 45 yards for the score. But just as the Dutch Country Stadium faithful began to stir, Lowery slammed the door shut on any hopes for a comeback, breaking away for a 59-yard touchdown jaunt of his own to restore Port’s 21-point lead. A sack by Nellis ended the Crusaders’ next drive, and with more than half of the fourth quarter left to play, both teams began substituting in fresh players as time ticked off the scoreboard.

“We moved the ball okay, but our defense broke down,” ECC coach Travis Skrypek said. “We definitely need to work on our defense, tighten some things up. Port moved the ball well. They played good; their coach had a good game plan, trying to tire us out with their numbers.”

The Gators will try to make it two in a row when Johnsonburg pays a visit for a 1:30 p.m. Saturday kickoff. The Rams are also 1-1, beating Otto-Eldred 34-14 in the season opener before losing a heartbreaking 7-6 decision to Sheffield last Friday night on a missed extra point.

“They’ve got a physical defense, like these guys (ECC),” Bodamer said. “Hopefully, we can run the ball, and just keep doing what we’re doing.”

At St. Marys, Sept. 12:

Score by quarters:
Port Allegany 13 8 14 6 41
Elk County Catholic 6 8 0 6 20

Scoring:

First quarter

ECC – David Bojalad 16 pass from Joe Jacob; kick failed, 6-0

PA – Seth Lowery 5 run; Burr XP, 7-6 Port A

PA – Matt Bodamer 54 interception return, kick failed, 13-6

Second quarter

ECC – Rob Wortman 33 interception return; Wortman pass from Jacob,

14-13 ECC

PA – Lowery 2 run; Lowery run, 21-14 Port A

Third quarter

PA – Ryan Bodamer 11 run; kick blocked, 27-14

PA – Lucas Kline 18 pass from M. Bodamer; Lowery run, 35-14

Fourth quarter

ECC – Ricky Pearsall 45 run; kick failed, 35-20

PA – Lowery 59 run; kick blocked, 41-20

Team Statistics: PA ECC
First downs 13 11
Rushes-Yards 47-248 35-148
Passing Yards 56 35
Comp-Att-Int 3-4-1 4-13-1
Total Yards 304 183
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Punts-Avg. 3-28.0 2-30.5
Penalties-Yards 4-35 2-10
Total Plays 51 48

Individual stats:

Rushing:

Port Allegany – Lowery 25-184, 3 TD; R. Bodamer 8-28, 1 TD; Stuckey 4-20; Ramadhan 4-6; Larson 3-6; M. Bodamer 2-3; Woods 1-1.

ECC – Pearsall 20-121, 1 TD; Chiodo 3-26; Gerber 9-22; Jacob 3-(-21).

Passing:

Port Allegany – M. Bodamer 3-4, 56 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.

ECC – Jacob 4-11, 35 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Schneider 0-2, 0 yards.

Receiving:

Port Allegany – Kline 2-47, 1 TD; R. Bodamer 1-9.

ECC – Bojalad 2-19, 1 TD; Wortman 2-16.

Update: for their efforts, both Seth Lowery and Ryan Bodamer were named to the D9Sports.com Week 2 Honor Roll.

PAHS sports roundup: Sept 8-15

Girls’ soccer:

Elk County Christian has been the team to beat in the Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League’s North division for five years and counting, and it looks like that’s not about to change this season. Last Thursday, the Crusaders broke open their game against Port Allegany with four goals in the latter part of the first half on their way to a 6-1 win.

“We were just outclassed,” Gators coach Travis Cowburn admitted. “We’re hurting right now, with four key injuries. And when you get a fast, well-coached thing that can do the things they can do, we’re going to struggle.”

The game was tied 1-1 after the first 20 minutes, with Kaitlyn Kio scoring Port Allegany’s goal. “She ran through the ball. She’s been working on that,” Cowburn said. We’ve been working on keeping her body above the ball, and she finished. It was a good shot — well-placed in the corner.”

He added, “The first 20 minutes we stayed with them, we really did. The better team came out after that, but we can play with them. I think we’ll do well in the league.”

After dropping a 2-1 decision to Class AAA St. Marys Public on Friday with Amanda Kelley netting the lone goal for Port, the Gators rebounded with a 4-3 victory over Kane on Monday to improve their record to 2-1 in the league, 2-3 overall. Kaitlyn and Kaylee Kio, Bryanna Evans, and Kelley all found the net, and goalkeeper Jordan Edgell stopped 14 shots to pick up the win.

The Lady Gators return to action on Thursday afternoon with a home game against Smethport, before starting a long stretch of road games next week.

Boys’ soccer:

The Gators stayed undefeated in the UAVSL last week, following Monday’s 6-1 domination of Johnsonburg with a 2-0 win at Kane on Thursday. Ben Osani and Ken Kysor both continued their hot start to the season, scoring two goals each against the Rams, with Jon Binder and Scotty Brookens also finding the net. Three Port goalkeepers faced just three shots on a quiet night in the net. Kysor and Brookens scored the goals against the Wolves, with Willie Postlewait stopping four shots for the shutout.

On Monday night, they stayed with St. Marys Public for most of the game before dropping a tough 2-1 decision to the Class AAA squad on the Dutchmen’s home field. Kysor scored for the third consecutive game; Postlewait got another start in goal, recording 10 saves.

Now 3-2, 2-0 league, the Gators’ long road trip continued this week with games at Ridgway (Tuesday) and Smethport (Thursday). Port will finally play its home opener next Monday night against Brockway, with the game slated for a 4 p.m. start at the Mill Street field.

Boys’ golf:

Following a lengthy layoff, the Gator golfers got back into the swing of things on Monday at the Smethport Country Club, defeating the Hubbers 36-19 and Otto-Eldred 28 ½-26 ½ to improve their overall record to 2-4. Kody Taylor shot a 45 to lead the way, earning medalist honors against Smethport; Kyle Hildebrandt (49), Kole Hults (54), Todd Bigley (54), and Marcus Borowsky (54) also picked up points in the wins. The Gators are slated to make a return visit to the county seat on Thursday.

Girls’ golf:

Lynea Gustafson medaled with a 41 as the Lady Gators beat Smethport for the second time in as many tries, dumping the Hubs 30-25 in a match on their home course. Also contributing to the victory were Alesha Shatley (54), Cora Bova (56), Amber Fischer (75), and Sasha Fisher (80). Now 2-2 on the season, Port is scheduled for a match at Coudersport on Thursday.

Cross country:

A strong Coudersport team defeated the Gators’ young runners by a 21-34 score on Port’s home course last Tuesday. Freshman Aaron Majot crossed the line in 22:53.8, good for third place, with fellow captain Jameson Haskins finishing fifth in 24:47. Other Gator finishers were Jacob Undercofler (27:46), Lucas Manning (29:00) and Bryan Pritt (29:46). Port’s Adam Koehler won the junior high race, completing the course in 12:49, but the Falcons’ depth led them to a 27-39 win.

The team headed to Kane for a meet against the Wolves and Smethport on Tuesday afternoon, and will also compete in the Bradford Invitational at 9:30 Saturday morning.

Volleyball:

On Tuesday night, the Gator spikers opened North Tier League play with a 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-15) win over the visiting Austin Panthers.

In recounting the match, Port coach Sharon Daniels wrote, “Great start to league play.  Everyone contributed and fairly evenly. Kelsey Pistner (10 points, 2 blocks, 7 kills, 7 digs) hit very effectively, Alyssa Bowser (11 points, 3 blocks, 3 kills, 11 digs) played very strong at the net defensively.  Jenny Shelley (14 points, 3 kills, 10 assists) led our offense with her serving and setting.  Becky Andrus (7 points, 8 digs) got a hand on everything in the back and for a freshman, I am very pleased with the play of Rachel Taylor (3 points, 4 kills, 4 assists).” Port hits the court again this Thursday night at Cameron County.

Gator volleyball team splits non-league matches

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 10, 2009

The Port Allegany volleyball team started the season off on a positive note, defeating Allegany-Limestone 3-1 (25-16, 21-25, 25-23, 25-19) in last Friday’s home opener.

“Excellent offensive effort by our middles,” head coach Sharon Daniels said. “Alyssa Bowser (16 service points, 8 blocks, 6 kills, 16 digs) and Kelsey Pistner (15 service points, 4 blocks, 6 kills, 12 digs) both were swinging very well. Setters are moving quick to the ball and making sound decisions.  Jenny Shelley (8 service points, 1 block, 4 kills, 11 assists) did a very nice job of picking their service receive apart with her serving.  The entire team is passing very well. Their enthusiasm is contagious.”

On Tuesday, the Gators fell at Wellsboro, 3-1 (25-21, 25-15, 26-28, 25-17).
“Our offense was rather ineffective in the first two games, but in the third the girls successfully got the ball out to Renee Edgell (10 kills) and Jenny Shelley (12 service points, 8 assists, 5 digs), and we started making Wellsboro’s defense move,” Daniels said.  “Renee Edgell hit very well. Again, Jenny Shelley’s serving kept Wellsboro’s service receive off balance and we were able to get some free ball opportunities to set up our attack.”

She concluded, “Even though we didn’t come out on top of this match, I’m seeing so many good things on the court.  We have specific areas in which we need to improve but the girls’ teamwork and enthusiasm remains their best attribute.”

Port High soccer teams start season on the right foot

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 10, 2009

Boys soccer:

Port Allegany 4, Sullivan County 2
Northeast Bradford 3, Port Allegany 1

Expectations are high for the Port Allegany soccer program this year. Both the boys’ and girls’ teams are eying a return trip to the District 9 playoffs, and each squad took the first step toward that goal by splitting a pair of matches over Labor Day weekend.

The boys made their annual trip to the Galeton tournament, beating defending champ Sullivan County 4-2 in an opening-round game. While Port coach Aaron Clark noted that the Griffins are starting several freshmen this year, he added, “They were still a challenge. They were good. They got up 2-1 at the end of the first half; it wasn’t a cakewalk. But we started dominating the play in the second half, and sort of dictated what went on.”

Jon Binder led the Gators with two goals; Ben Osani added a goal and two assists, and Ken Kysor also scored.

With the win, Port moved on to the championship game, where they fell 3-1 to Northeast Bradford.

“That was a tough game,” Clark said. “We were down three starters – Kirby Elliott and Sam Shaffer (due to injury), and Ken Kysor (yellow cards). Between being down three players and having it be the second game of the day, it was just tough. It was 0-0 at halftime. We played right with them. I don’t want to say they were better than us; they just got a few breaks, and we didn’t.”

Osani tallied the lone Gator goal against the Panthers; Willie Postlewait started both games in the net, making a combined 16 saves on the day.

Overall, Clark is pleased with the start to the season. “We’re very confident in the team going into Johnsonburg,” he said. Due to a scheduling quirk, the Gators will play each of their first seven games on the road, including Tuesday’s game against the Rams and a visit to Kane on Thursday.

Girls soccer:

Bolivar-Richburg 5, Port Allegany 0
Port Allegany 4, Brockway 3

Following the girls’ season-opening 5-0 loss on the artificial turf at Bolivar-Richburg, head coach Travis Cowburn’s initial assessment was simple and to the point: “We were thoroughly outclassed. We played sloppy, and it showed.”

He continued, “If our wings don’t get back against a fast team, then it’s going to leave problems, and it showed there. We abandoned our new formation just after halftime and tried to shut things down, which we did, but the damage was done and we just couldn’t get back into it.”

Jordan Edgell stopped 10 shots for the Gators, and Cowburn also noted the strong play of Amarae Reinard, Shanel Halle, and Hannah Wise.

After returning from Bolivar late Friday evening, the team had an early wake-up call for a rescheduled 10 a.m. home game against Brockway. Although Cowburn admitted that the quick turnaround seemed to leave his team flat, Port managed to rally from a two-goal deficit to notch their first Upper Allegheny Valley league win of the season, evening their record at 1-1 with a 4-3 victory over the Rovers. Amanda Kelly scored twice and Kaitlyn and Kaylee Kio each added a goal, while Edgell made 13 saves in goal.

“They didn’t have much of an offense, but they have a girl who’s really, really fast up top, Amanda Lindemuth. They just try to boom it and she runs onto it, and she can finish. That’s how they scored two quick goals. It was 2-0 very quickly, but our seniors stepped up. Kaitlyn Kio, Amarae Reinard again, and Brittany Drabert really stepped up and started to control the ball in the midfield, which is what we needed,” Cowburn said.

“Our passes started to come together. They were doing the things we’ve been working on, and when they do that and succeed at it, we should win some games. I was very proud that they didn’t get flustered after being down 2-0.”

The Lady Gators were scheduled to face Dubois CC at home on Tuesday afternoon, but the game was postponed due to local filming for the movie “Unstoppable,” with no makeup date set as of press time. Five-time defending league champion Elk County Catholic visits on Thursday, followed by St. Marys on Friday, with both games slated for 4 p.m. starts.

AML Week 1: Curwensville 28, Port Allegany 26

Several Curwensville players are trying to take down Camrin Stuckey during Saturday’s first game of the season. Stuckey had three touchdowns for the Gators who lost to Curwensville 28-26.  (Photo - Pam Fischer, Reporter Argus)

Several Curwensville players are trying to take down Camrin Stuckey during Saturday’s first game of the season. Stuckey had three touchdowns for the Gators, who lost to Curwensville 28-26. (Photo - Pam Fischer, Reporter Argus)

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 10, 2009

Port Allegany did a lot of things right in their Allegheny Mountain League season opener against Curwensville at Gator Field on Saturday afternoon, rushing for over 100 yards, unveiling a no-huddle offense that accounted for two passing scores, and forcing four turnovers on defense.

But on a warm late-summer afternoon that left players from both teams battling cramps during the second half, the ending was an all-too-familiar flashback to last season. A bigger, more powerful Golden Tide team took over in the fourth quarter, pounding the ball at the Gators on a 14-play, 69-yard drive to what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown in Curwensville’s 28-26 victory.

“We just need to find some way to stop them. We got too worn out, got run-down, and they ran over us. That was pretty much the story of the game in the fourth quarter; they just took it to us,” Port coach Mike Bodamer said afterward.

Both teams had trouble holding onto the ball, trading fumbles on their opening possessions before Camrin Stuckey’s 1-yard touchdown run gave the Gators a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter. The Tide answered on a Jed Greslick run, then took the lead when offensive lineman Jonathan Michaels fell on a loose ball in the end zone for the two-point conversion.

That’s how it stayed until fewer than four minutes remained in the half, when Tide quarterback Sam Gardner was hit and fumbled as he dropped back to pass. Defensive end Lucas Kline scooped up the ball with a clear path to the end zone 20 yards in front of him, and a Stuckey run made it 14-8. Curwensville quickly answered on a Gardner keeper, but with 1:49 on the clock, they left more than enough time for the no-huddle offense the Gators had unveiled earlier in the quarter. On 3rd-and-21 from his own 40, backup quarterback Matt Bodamer fired the ball deep down the right sideline to Stuckey, who made the leaping grab at the 20, evaded a would-be tackler, and sprinted into the end zone for a 60-yard touchdown and a 20-15 halftime lead.

“Camrin’s a threat no matter where you put him. We can put him in the backfield or split him out; it just gives us more options,” coach Bodamer said of the quarterback switch. “And Matt threw the ball well enough; I think he handled himself extremely well for being a ninth-grader.”

The Gators picked up where they left off as the third quarter began, with the no-huddle keeping the Tide defense on its heels. A steady dose of runs by Seth Lowery and Ryan Bodamer moved the ball to the Curwensville 5; from there, the Matt Bodamer-to-Stuckey connection struck again, with the junior powering his way into the end zone for his third touchdown of the afternoon.

“They took the second-half kickoff and shoved it right down our throats,” Curwensville coach Andy Evanko said. “They executed every play they needed, they blocked very well, and they got the yards they needed.”

But if any of the Gators felt comfortable with a 26-15 lead, Gardner didn’t let them enjoy it for very long. Just two plays after the kickoff, the Tide quarterback, a threat to run all afternoon, broke loose for a 57-yard touchdown to bring his team back within four points.

“I was disappointed with the defense. We never should have let that kid roll outside like they did all day. We have some things to work on. We didn’t contain, we didn’t cover, we didn’t tackle very well,” Bodamer said.

After forcing a fumble deep in Gator territory on the next drive, Curwensville had a golden opportunity to take the lead, but Seth Lowery recovered Gardner’s fumble in the end zone to keep Port’s slim margin intact. The mismatch on the line was beginning to take its toll, though. With several Gator defenders in and out of the lineup with cramps, the Tide handed the ball to big fullback Alex Holland seven times on their next drive, the last one for a four-yard touchdown to move in front for good. Port had two more chances to come back, but a fourth-down pass attempt was ruled incomplete, and Stuckey’s last-minute 31-yard field goal attempt missed the mark.

The Gators will try to even their record at 1-1 on Saturday night when they visit Elk County Catholic for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Crusaders, coming off a 7-4 record last year but fighting a numbers problem of their own, also seek their first win of the season after dropping a 36-26 decision to Coudy last weekend despite three touchdowns from junior running back Ricky Pearsall.

At Port Allegany, Sept. 5:

Score by quarters:
Curwensville 0 15 7 6 28
Port Allegany 6 14 6 0 26

Scoring:

First quarter

PA – Camrin Stuckey 1 run; pass failed, 6-0 Port A

Second quarter

C – Jed Greslick 9 run; Michaels fumble recovery in end zone, 8-6 Curwensville

PA – Lucas Kline 20 fumble return; Stuckey run, 14-8 Port A

C – Sam Gardner 1 run; Greslick kick, 15-14 Curwensville

PA – Stuckey 60 pass from Matt Bodamer; pass failed, 20-15 Port A

Third quarter

PA – Stuckey 5 pass from M. Bodamer; run failed, 26-15 Port A

C – Gardner 57 run; Greslick kick, 26-22 Port A

Fourth quarter

C – Alex Holland 4 run; kick failed, 28-26 Curwensville

Team Statistics: C PA
First downs 11 12
Rushes-Yards 45-222 46-110
Passing Yards 70 137
Comp-Att-Int 4-8-0 7-11-0
Total Yards 292 247
Fumbles-Lost 5-4 4-2
Punts-Avg. 1-31.0 2-33.5
Penalties-Yards 5-65 3-15
Total Plays 53 57

Individual stats:

Rushing:

Curwensville – Sam Gardner 15-94, 2 TD; Alex Holland 12-78, 1 TD; Jed Greslick 13-38, Richie Michael 2-6, Alec Starr 2-3, McCracken 1-3.

Port Allegany – Seth Lowery 16-49; Ryan Bodamer 14-33; Camrin Stuckey 10-31, 1 TD; Zach Ramadhan 2-5, Paul Woods 1-0, Matt Bodamer 3-(-8).

Passing:

Curwensville – Gardner 4-8, 70 yards.

Port Allegany – M. Bodamer 6-10, 111 yards, 2 TD; Stuckey 1-1, 26 yards.

Receiving:

Curwensville – Greslick 2-43; Daniel Hess 2-27.

Port Allegany – Stuckey 3-86, 2 TD; Lucas Kline 3-48; Lowery 1-3.

2009 Fall Sport Special: PAHS football

Lori Chase
Potter Leader-Enterprise / Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 9, 2009

At Port Allegany High School, last year’s football season can be summed up by the numbers, although perhaps not the ones on the scoreboard. With 24 names on the opening-day roster – which later dipped into the high teens for a game or two – and just three of those players tipping the scales at (barely) over 200 pounds, the undermanned Gators simply wore down late in many of their games en route to a 3-6 record.

Although disappointed by the results, fifth-year Port High head coach Mike Bodamer couldn’t find fault with his players’ determination. “Even though it wasn’t a great season in terms of wins, I really think the kids played their hearts out,” he said. “They never gave up. Almost every single game, we were in right until the very end. I just hope it carries over to this season.”

Port will still be giving away a significant amount of weight on the lines in 2009; once again, 200-pounders are few and far between on the roster. But at least this year, there are enough players to be able to run a full 11-on-11 practice.

“Our numbers are a lot better this year. I think we’ve got 39 kids, which is a lot better than the 18 or 19 we ended with last year. We’ve got a little bit more depth, so we should be okay,” Bodamer said.

The Gators boast an experienced backfield, with starting quarterback Camrin Stuckey (27-58, 166 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) and all four of last year’s leading rushers returning. Junior fullback Seth Lowery (102 carries-452 yards, 3 touchdown runs) and seniors Ryan Bodamer (85-252, 1 TD) and Paul Woods (15-89, 1 TD) are the projected starters, with junior Zach Ramadhan (17-73, 1 TD) also seeing some time.

While Stuckey enters the season as the quarterback, coach Bodamer also wants to get his backup, freshman Matt Bodamer, some experience while hopefully creating mismatches against the defense.

“I’d like to try to be able to use (Stuckey) a couple of times maybe out at split or even as a running back, because he is such a threat with the ball,” he explained. “Lucas Kline can get down the field and I think he can catch, I think if we can split Lucas and Camrin, it can be a pretty lethal weapon for us. So we may flip-flop Stuke around a little bit, but he is a quarterback for most of the time.”

The switch worked to near-perfection in the season opener against Curwensville; the younger Bodamer checked into the huddle at the 8:17 mark of the second quarter and went the rest of the way under center, tossing two touchdown passes – including a 60-yarder – to Stuckey.

Linemen Damen Brodhun, Josh Guerrero, Brent Frontino, and Chris Fabish all graduated, but the Gators do have three returning lettermen in their front five, with seniors Adam Greenman and James Nellis anchoring the right side, junior Zach Manning at center, and new starters Benn Baxter (guard) and freshman Nick Budd (tackle) on the left.

“We’re not big up front, but the kids seem to know what they’re doing, and we actually have more quickness this year. Hopefully quickness can beat size, especially at guard. Adam and Benn are our two guards; they’re not very big, but they’re fast and aggressive, so hopefully that will counteract their lack of size,” coach Bodamer said.

Seniors Ryan Bodamer, Greenman, Nellis, and Kline are the captains.

On the other side of the ball, the veteran mentor admitted, “We’re losing a couple of key parts. (Big 30 All-Star) Josh Guerrero at linebacker; hopefully Seth Lowery can step in for him. Bryce Healy was in the secondary for the last three years, but we have Ryan, Paul, and Camrin coming back, so our secondary should be pretty good. I definitely see the defense being our strong point again this year.”

Either Cameron County or Coudersport has been at the top of the division standings at the end of every season since 2002. Odds are, that streak will last for at least one more season.

“Cameron County has size, speed, strength – they’ve got everything, so Emporium’s definitely the team to beat,” Bodamer said. “Coudy’s big up front. Their skill positions might be a little down this year, but they’re always a good team. Smethport should be good. They have some running backs coming back, so they should be a lot better. Eldred had some skill-position players last year, that should make them competitive. And I even hear that Sheffield has gone in with Abraxas again, so that’s going to give them a lot more talent.

“I think the league is definitely up in the air. Emporium should be the top of the list, but after that … I think Brockway’s going to be a surprise. They throw the ball well with that no-huddle spread offense, so I think you’ll see Brockway up there, too. It will be a pretty competitive league this year.”

Where does Port fit into that?

“I really couldn’t tell you,” Bodamer said. “I think we have some experience – it’s lack of size I’m concerned about, whether or not we can handle bigger teams up front. Hopefully our speed and quickness can help compensate for that; try to outrun teams instead of outmuscle them.”

SCHEDULE:

September

5 – Curwensville, 1:30 p.m.

12 – at ECC, 7 p.m.

19 – Johnsonburg, 1:30 p.m.

25 – at Kane, 7 p.m.

October

2 – at Smethport, 7 p.m.

10 – Sheffield, 1:30 p.m.

17 – Cameron County, 11 a.m.

23 – at Coudersport, 7 p.m.

30 – at Otto-Eldred, 7 p.m.

2009 Fall Sport Special: PAHS boys’ golf

Lori Chase
Potter Leader-Enterprise / Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 9, 2009

Port Allegany may no longer have its own golf course, but that inconvenience hasn’t stopped the high school teams from continuing to compete. On a recent afternoon, the Gator boys could be found at the Pineview Driving Range just east of town, practicing their putting on the miniature-golf layout.

“Haven’t had any putts like this on the golf course,” head coach Bob Raudenbush said with a chuckle as he used the ‘loop-the-loop’ hole to demonstrate ball-striking speed, “but we make the best of it. We’re doing okay.”

Does that built-in handicap make team victories a little sweeter when they happen? “It definitely does,” the longtime Port High coach said. “I think it’s a three- to four-shot advantage when you’re on your home course. Again, no excuses, but it’s definitely an advantage to know what clubs to hit, your yardages, how greens break, those kinds of things. There’s nothing like local knowledge. It’s another challenge for us to overcome, so it does make it a little more satisfying to win a match on someone else’s home course. That’s the challenge we know we face, and we keep working hard to get there. Last year we were 4-8, and we look at that as a pretty good season to pick up four wins on the road.”

The Gators were young in 2008, with graduating senior Terry Gleason the only upperclassman on the roster. That gave the current junior class plenty of playing time as sophomores, experience Raudenbush thinks will work in their favor.

“Our juniors are definitely our core this year,” he said. “Kyle Hildebrandt and Kody Taylor are our two returning letterman, and they’ve consistently shot our two best scores. So it was nice to see that Frank Austin was the co-medalist against Austin; it’s nice to have a third guy come into the picture. With some good scores, things are looking up to start the season.”

Fellow juniors Chad Barnard, Marcus Borowsky, and Todd Bigley also return, and the Gators added seniors Cameron Lane and Kole Hults, sophomore Brady Major, and freshman Zach Austin to the roster.

Hildebrandt put together a strong sophomore season, earning a spot on the Penn-York League All-Star team, but Raudenbush cautioned against inking him – or anyone else – into the No. 1 spot just yet.

“I think Kyle stepped up a little toward the end of last year, and definitely put himself out there as being our No. 1 golfer. But Frank Austin came through (in the season opener against Austin) and Kody Taylor’s been in the 40s a couple of times, so there is some competition there for that top spot. And that’s healthy; competition is a good thing. That should make us better,” he said.

While Raudenbush is pleased with the effort he’s seen thus far, he knows his Gators still have work to do to match up against the teams at the top of the league standings.

“We’re probably five strokes off right now,” he admitted. “We need to improve by five more strokes from where we’re at, and then we’re going to be very competitive in the league. And I think these guys will do that. Good group of kids once again. Very teachable, coachable. When you talk about working in something, or changing something in their swing, they’re willing to give it a try and stick with it. That makes it fun as a coach to have a group of kids like that.

“We talked about building on last year’s 4-8 season. If we can repeat that – or I’d like to see us improve on that – it would be a very good season, being realistic. I think we’d be moving in the right direction, and with this many juniors coming back, I think we can do that.”

SCHEDULE:

September

2 – Oswayo Valley, 4 p.m.

14 – Otto-Eldred, 4 p.m.

17 – Smethport, 4 p.m.

21 – Coudersport, 4 p.m.

22 – Cameron County, 4 p.m.

25 – Smethport Invitational, 9 a.m.

29 – District 9 Tournament, 9 a.m.

2009 Fall Sport Special: PAHS girls’ golf

Lori Chase
Potter Leader-Enterprise / Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 9, 2009

The Port Allegany girls’ golf team may not have the benefit of a home-course advantage, but the Lady Gators do have something no other Penn-York League squad can claim: reigning league MVP Lynea Gustafson. The three-time All-Star began her senior season the same way she ended the last one, medaling in each of the team’s first two matches.

“Lynea has a very natural swing,” said coach Dave Roae. “There’s not a lot I can do to change what she’s doing, because she’s doing such a nice job. She definitely has the talent to play at the collegiate level. I think she’s the top golfer in the league again this year. She’s going to get pushed a little bit by Ashley Mackey from Bradford – she’s one to watch – but I think Lynea’s definitely the cream of the crop in our league. She’s got nowhere to go but up – or down – in score, depending on how you want to look at it,” he said with a grin.

Juniors Alesha Shatley and Amber Fischer and sophomores Lindsay Delacour and Sasha Fisher also return from last year’s squad, giving Roae an experienced foundation to build on. Instead of having to spend most of his practice time teaching fundamentals, he can focus on fine-tuning each golfer’s game.

“It’s definitely a help,” Roae said. “We can work on golf swings at practice instead of having to teach the absolute basics.”

Junior Cora Bova is the lone new addition to the team. “She’s already improving,” Roae said. “She’s really never golfed before, she’s brand new at this, but she’s an athletic young lady and I think she can help us.”

Port went “oh-and-whatever” in regular-season matches last year but recorded a strong showing in the league tournament, finishing a single stroke out of a tie for second place and providing Roae with a source of motivation for this season. “It gave us a chance to say, ‘Hey, we can compete with the rest of the league,’” he said.

The Gator girls emphatically proved that point in their season opener, dominating Smethport 33-21 to earn a split in a tri-match played on Cameron County’s home course.

“It had been several years since we had won a match, so it was very nice to see,” Roae said. “We’ve been struggling with numbers in the past few years, with our practice situation being what it is, so it was very nice to come in with a win.”

Now in his fourth season with the program, Roae’s goals are simple: “As long as I can get my ladies to continually improve, I’ll be happy.” As for the team? “Win some more matches.”

Roae sees Bradford and Coudersport battling for the Penn-York league championship, with everyone else competing for third place. Where does Port Allegany factor into that equation?

“We are definitely more competitive this year,” he said. “We have the young ladies with talent to win a few matches this year, and that’s a great thing to see for the program.”

SCHEDULE:

September

9 – Kane, 4 p.m.

10 – Coudersport, 4 p.m.

17 – Couderport, 4 p.m.

21 – Cameron County, 4 p.m.

23 – Bradford, 3:30 p.m.

24 – Penn-York Tournament, 9 a.m.

28 – Kane, 4 p.m.

October

5 – District 9 Tournament, 9 a.m.