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.

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