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:|
PA – Camrin Stuckey 1 run; pass failed, 6-0 Port A
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
PA – Stuckey 5 pass from M. Bodamer; run failed, 26-15 Port A
C – Gardner 57 run; Greslick kick, 26-22 Port A
C – Alex Holland 4 run; kick failed, 28-26 Curwensville
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).
Curwensville – Gardner 4-8, 70 yards.
Port Allegany – M. Bodamer 6-10, 111 yards, 2 TD; Stuckey 1-1, 26 yards.
Curwensville – Greslick 2-43; Daniel Hess 2-27.
Port Allegany – Stuckey 3-86, 2 TD; Lucas Kline 3-48; Lowery 1-3.