AML Week 8: Falcons ground Gators, 24-0

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
October 29, 2009

A driving rainstorm at Coudersport Area Recreational Park helped ground the Port Allegany passing game last Friday night, but Coudy’s rushing attack didn’t seem to mind the sloppy field conditions. Led by fullback Skyler Blumer’s 130 yards on 14 carries, the Falcons’ “flex-bone” powered through the muck for 283 yards and three touchdowns on its way to a 24-0 victory, improving to 6-2 and gaining an upper hand against the Gators in the standings for the upcoming District 9 playoffs.

“These guys prepared all week long for a good Port football team,” Coudy coach Brendan Hathaway said afterward. “Some breaks in field position went our way, and the kids took advantage of it. On defense, we had a couple of big plays. We got the ball rolling early, and I think the kids did a nice job of staying with the gameplan. We felt comfortable out there and we came to play.”

“Undisciplined on defense,” an obviously disappointed Port coach Mike Bodamer countered. “They did exactly what we showed them in practice, but we just couldn’t stop them. They moved us off the ball five yards on every play, and that was the ballgame.”

He continued, “There’s no way we could throw in this mess; this is the worst night we’ve ever had in terms of weather. Matt (Bodamer) couldn’t get anything, and we weren’t picking up blitzes. Just an absolutely horrible performance.”

Coudy opened the game with an efficient 11-play, 56 yard drive, capped off by quarterback Tim McCusker’s one-yard dive for the touchdown. Cooper Bonczar’s extra point was good, and midway through the first quarter, the Falcons led 7-0.

Following a Gator three-and-out – one of five on the evening – Ryan Bodamer stopped the next Coudy possession by picking off McCusker’s only passing attempt of the game. The Port offense still couldn’t get on track, though, and the Falcons scored on each of their next three drives to break the game open.

Dirk Cowburn, the Penn State-bound Falcon senior who recently returned to the squad, played a major role in two of those touchdowns. Late in the second quarter, the speedy tailback broke loose for a 30-yard sprint down the left sideline to the Port 1 to set up Mitch Freeman’s short touchdown. Then, two plays after the ensuing kickoff, he stepped into the path of an attempted Gator screen pass and returned it 30 yards to give Coudy another first-and-goal at the 6. Creighton Hayes punched it in for the score with 1:01 remaining in the half, and the Falcons were cruising.

“The kids were prepared for it, and Dirk read it beautifully,” Hathaway said of the interception.

With the wind and rain continuing unabated, neither offense could gain much traction in an uneventful second half, and the mud-soaked starters gave way to the clean jerseys of the backups as both teams emptied their benches in the fourth quarter.

A playoff game in Port Allegany is probably unlikely at this point, but despite the loss, Port (5-3) can drop no lower than the sixth seed in the District 9 Class A playoffs. Before they learn their first-round opponent for a game the weekend of Nov. 13-14, the Gators conclude the regular season with a trip to Otto-Eldred (1-7) Friday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

“They’ve got athletes,” Bodamer said. “The way we’re playing up front on both sides, we don’t seem to be moving many people anymore. I don’t know … I’ll watch the film again and see what’s going on. I hope it’s just size, that they were physically bigger and stronger than us. I hope.

“Back to the drawing board,” he concluded.

At Coudersport, Oct. 23:

PA – 0 0 0 0 – 0

C – 7 17 0 0 – 24

First quarter:

C – McCusker 1 run, Bonczar kick, 7-0 Coudy

Second quarter:

C – Bonczar 20 field goal, 10-0

C – Freeman 1 run, kick blocked, 16-0

C – Hayes 1 run, Cowburn run, 24-0

PA C

First Downs 2 11

Rushes – Yards 29-42 49-283

Passing Yards 25 0

C-A-I 3-7-1 0-1-1

Total Yards 67 283

Punts – Avg. 7-35.6 2-28.5

Penalties – Yards 6-48 4-20

Fumbles – Lost 2-0 4-2

Plays 36 50

D9 soccer playoffs: Both Gator teams lose OT heartbreakers

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
October 29, 2009

Boys’ soccer: DuBois Central Catholic 2, Port Allegany 1 2OT (4-3 PK)

As the last daylight faded over the hilltops and the referees prepared for the shootout that would decide their District 9 first-round playoff game, Port Allegany coach Aaron Clark met DuBois Central Catholic mentor George Suhoney along the sideline at midfield. They shook hands and agreed, “No matter what happens, this was a great game,” then stood side by side as the first shooter approached the ball.

And after 80 minutes – plus another 30 of overtime – weren’t enough to separate the two teams on Tuesday evening, no one should have been surprised that it came down to the last kick. With the score tied at 3-3, DCC striker Daniel Leroy somehow managed to find the net in the gathering darkness at the Port Allegany field, and the ninth-seeded Cardinals celebrated their 2-1 (4-3 PK) victory.

“I’m proud of all those guys, because we’ve got a patchwork-quilt team,” Suhoney said. “When we lost five in a row, there wasn’t a coach in the district – or even the world – who thought we’d make the playoffs or do anything in them.”

The Gators struck first in regulation, with senior midfielder Jon Binder scoring from a Ben Osani throw-in. The two almost connected again off a corner kick later in the first half, but Leroy, who stepped into the net after the Cardinals’ starting keeper was injured, made the save to keep the score 1-0 at the break.

Joe McNally, a UAVSL South Division All-Star for DCC last season, netted the equalizer at the 23:00 mark of the second half. Both teams had their chances after that, but the numbers on the scoreboard didn’t budge as Leroy and Port High netminder Max Parana made a series of outstanding, pressure-packed saves to set up the dramatic ending.

DCC (10-8) moves on to play top seed Karns City on Thursday, while the Gators conclude their second consecutive double-digit-win season at 10-8-1.

Girls’ soccer: Ridgway 1, Port Allegany 0, 2OT

“Heartbreaking.”

That’s how Port Allegany coach Travis Cowburn began his description of the Lady Gators’ double-overtime loss to Ridgway in Monday’s opening round of the District 9 playoffs.

“Three of our last four games have been like that,” he continued. “We dominated every facet of the game, but every time we sent the ball in, it either went straight at their goalkeeper or we didn’t get anything on it. The defense stopped them, but the offense, for whatever reason, just couldn’t find the back of the net. That was a microcosm of our season.”

After Port goalkeeper Jordan Edgell matched Ridgway’s Alyson Dybowski save-for-save through over 100 minutes of play, Rhianon Fowler managed the only goal of the game midway through the second overtime to send the Lady Elkers (7-11-1) on to face top seed Brookville Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, Cowburn’s squad wrapped up its season with a 7-11-1 record, meeting one of his goals and falling just shy on the others.

“We set three goals at the beginning of the year,” he said. “We’d never beaten Kane, and we accomplished that. We wanted to get to double-digit wins, but we didn’t quite make it there. And we wanted to win a playoff game … and we had it, but we came up just short.

“I can’t be more proud of them,” Cowburn concluded. “I appreciate their heart and desire.”

Lady Gators top Green Wave, fall to undefeated Terrors in NTL volleyball action

In what head coach Sharon Daniels’s e-mail described as “quite the exciting week,” the Port Allegany volleyball team split a pair of five-set matches against the North Tier League’s top two teams, upsetting Oswayo Valley on Tuesday before falling to undefeated Otto-Eldred two nights later.

At Port Allegany, Oct 20th: Port A 3, Oswayo Valley 2 (25-21, 25-14, 22-25, 22-25, 15-11)
Individual stats:
Becky Andrus: 18 digs
Jenny Shelley:  18 service points, 2 kills, 25 assists, 7 digs
Alyssa Bowser:  7 service points, 5 blocks, 8 kills, 17 digs
Renee Edgell: 14 kills
Kyley Mickle: 2 blocks, 3 kills, 16 assists, 9 service points
Kelsey Pistner: 5 service points, 9 kills, 17 digs
Rachel Taylor: 2 blocks, 10 kills

“Both teams came to play and it was definitely a crowd pleaser with a
combination of 48 kills for the Lady Gators,” Daniels said.

At Port Allegany, October 22: Otto-Eldred 3, Port A 2 (19-25, 25-18, 25-22, 17-25, 15-12)
Individual Stats:
Becky Andrus: 15 digs and 13 service points
Jenny Shelley: 10 service points, 2 kills, 17 assists
Alyssa Bowser: 8 kills and 10 digs
Kyley Mickle: 3 kills, 17 assists and 11 service points
Kelsey Pistner: 6 kills, 2 blocks and 8 digs
Renee Edgell: 13 kills
Rachel Taylor: 8 kills, 2 blocks and 11 service pts/4 aces

“We came right out in the last game and took an early lead only to watch it slip away to an 8-4 O-E lead. We then had to play catch-up for the remainder of the game,” Daniels explained. “The score was 9-14 and we dug in and played hard enough to get our score to 12. O-E has a nice ball team.”

Now 7-8 (6-6 NTL), the Lady Gators conclude the regular season this week with Tuesday’s trip to Coudersport before the Senior Night home finale against Northern Potter on Thursday evening.

Gator soccer teams tune up for playoffs with wins

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
October 22, 2009

Girls’ soccer:

At the beginning of the month, Lady Gators coach Travis Cowburn talked about needing to find the right ‘attitude’ for a potential playoff run. For the most part, the team has met that challenge, winning four our of five games heading into Tuesday night’s visit to Brockway.

Last Wednesday, Port spotted Ridgway a goal early in the second half before roaring back with three unanswered scores to secure a 3-1 victory, pushing their record to 7-8-1 (6-5-1 UAVSL).

“We’re on a good run right now,” Cowburn said following the Ridgway game. “We’re starting to gel. We’re peaking at the right moment.”

Senior midfielder Kaitlyn Kio scored the first and last of those goals, both after taking a shot to the face that would earn her a trip to the dentist following the game.

“Just shows you her grit,” Cowburn said. “She’s been our ‘mean machine.’ Amarae (Reinard) is our steam engine, and Kaitlyn is our leader on and off the field. Can’t say enough about both of them … She’s our heart right now, her and Amarae.”

Bryanna Evans netted the game-winner against the Elkers on a corner kick at the 24:00 mark, deftly curving the ball into the net from the left side of the field.

“I think we’ve only scored two goals off corner kicks in four years, so that’s always a plus. We’ve been working on them, too,” Cowburn said.

The regular season ends this Thursday with a visit from Curwensville, with playoff pairings yet to be determined.

Boys’ soccer:

The Gators dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 game at Brockway in overtime last Thursday, but rebounded to avenge an early-season loss to Coudersport Monday night as the team continues its late-season playoff push. Sam Shaffer scored the lone goal against the Rovers, and Kyle Conway netted the game-winner to beat the Falcons, each on assists from Jon Binder and Ben Osani. Max Parana was in goal for both games, stopping 10 shots against Coudy to earn the shutout.

Now 10-7 (9-4 UAVSL), the Gators conclude their regular-season schedule on Wednesday afternoon with a home game against Elk County Catholic. With double-digit wins on their résumé, Port should be in line for a decent playoff seed – and perhaps even a home game – when the schedule is announced.

AML Week 7: Gators fall to unbeaten Cameron County

Lippert

Led by Seth Lowery (44), a congregation of Gators descends on Red Raider running back Andy Lippert. Also pictured are Camrin Stuckey (2), Shag Ramadhan (32), Paul Woods (24), and Ryan Bodamer (13). Cameron County (7-0) prevailed 14-7 in the muddy Homecoming game at Gator Field, claiming its third straight AML North title, but Port Allegany (5-2) did clinch a District 9 playoff berth over the weekend. (Photo by Pam Fischer / Reporter Argus)

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
October 22, 2009

All season long, the Port Allegany football team has depended on quickness and agility to counteract the disparity in size it faced along both lines. But following an early-season snowfall, any advantage in speed disappeared into the layer of mud coating Gator Field for Saturday morning’s Homecoming game against undefeated Cameron County, and the laws of physics took over.

And with 1,000-yard rusher Andy Lippert in the Red Raiders’ backfield, behind an offensive line which averaged over 220 pounds per player, well …

“The ball would be snapped and we’d collide and our kids would just start sliding backward,” Gators coach Mike Bodamer said after watching Lippert power his way to 190 yards on 27 carries in Cameron County’s hard-fought 14-7 victory. “Nothing more than size – they’re just bigger, and Lippert’s so low to the ground you can’t get a good hit on him. We’d hit him and just bounce off him and he’d keep going. And (Jason) Blose had a couple of big runs with that quarterback sneak. They’ve got two good runners, and in these conditions, with their size, they’re definitely going to move us.”

Adam Greenman’s fumble recovery on the first play from scrimmage gave Port a chance to take an early lead, but the offense couldn’t gain any traction on the slippery turf, turning the ball over on downs.

“When Matt (Bodamer) came back to the sideline after that first series, I told him, ‘We’re going to have to throw the ball if we want to win this game,’” coach Bodamer said.

The Gators did just that on their next series with better success, driving inside the Raiders’ 5-yard line on two Bodamer-to-Lucas Kline completions. The drive stalled there, though, and Cameron County blocked a field goal attempt to keep the game scoreless.

“I think that set the tone,” Red Raiders coach John Fragale said. “They stuffed us on our first possession (after the fumble) and got good field position out of it, and Port just drove it down. Our defense rose to the occasion and stopped them from going in, and they had to try that field goal. On a day like today, the kicking game’s not there very good.”

Early in the second quarter, Blose capped off a nine-play, 80-yard drive – all on the ground, with Lippert accounting for 70 of those yards – with a 1-yard touchdown run. Neither offense was able to move the ball after that, and Cameron County took a 6-0 lead into the locker room.

The Port offense came alive midway through the third quarter, with Seth Lowery pounding the ball down to the Raiders’ 15 before Bodamer (10-for-18, 129 yards) hit Kline on a quick slant near the left sideline. The tight end cut inside and carried the ball into the end zone, and Tyler Burr added the extra point to put the Gators in front, 7-6, late in the third quarter.

That’s when Lippert took over the game, breaking free for double-digit gains on three consecutive plays before rumbling the final three yards for the go-ahead touchdown and adding the two-point conversion for good measure.

“Andy’s our workhorse, and he’s just a heck of a runner,” Fragale said. “He’s tough; he’s a tough-nosed kid. He’s got one – not one speed, he’s just got one attitude. He’s just a fantastic football player, a coach’s dream back there.”

“I knew as soon as we scored, they were going to come back and go power football. Whether or not we could stop them … we just couldn’t do it,” Bodamer said.

Trailing 14-7 early in the fourth quarter, Port had one more chance to mount a comeback. But the Red Raiders defense stopped them near midfield, and the Gators never touched the ball again.

“One of the things we wanted to do more of in the second half was get more pressure on the quarterback, and we did a good job responding after they did get the touchdown,” said Cameron County defensive coordinator Mark Morelli. “We started to crank it up a little more in terms of blitzes and different looks in the fronts, and our secondary needed to tighten up their coverage a little bit. Fortunately we came away with a couple of big sacks midway through the fourth quarter to put them in the hole, and we were able to take control of the game from there.”

“It was a heck of a ballgame,” Fragale concluded. “We knew coming over here that Port’s got a good football team; they were very aggressive and they play a lot like us, and I knew we were going to be in for it. Plus, with the weather on top of it … I think people had a very good game to watch today. We were fortunate to get out of here with the victory.

“Great game. I think everybody got their money’s worth today.”

The loss may have ended Port’s hopes for winning the AML North title, but the Gators (5-2) did clinch a District 9 playoff berth over the weekend, and coach Bodamer wouldn’t mind seeing the Red Raiders (7-0) again.

“That’s the defending District 9 champs and they’re just as good this year, and I think we definitely proved to people that we can stay with these teams. I expect both them and Curwensville to be in the AML title game, and we actually could have beaten both of them if we didn’t have our mistakes at certain times.

“I think our kids got a lot of confidence (today); I know they’re mad they didn’t win, but there’s nothing to hang their heads about.”

Before any playoff talk can begin, though, there’s a road trip to always-tough Coudersport this Friday night before next week’s regular-season finale at Otto-Eldred. The Falcons share an identical 5-2 record with the Gators and have piled up the yards with their flex-bone offense this season, and the winner of this week’s game may well host a rematch in the district quarterfinal round. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at C.A.R.P. Field.

At Port Allegany, Oct. 17:

Score by quarters:

CC 0 6 0 8 – 14

PA 0 0 7 0 – 7

Second quarter:

CC – Blose 1 run; run failed, 6-0

Third quarter:

PA – Kline 15 pass from M. Bodamer; Burr kick, 7-6 PA

Fourth quarter:

CC – Lippert 3 run; Lippert run, 14-7 CC

CC PA

First Downs 17 7

Rushes-Yards 50-283 20-13

Passing Yards 12 129

C-A-I 3-8-1 10-18-0

Total Yards 295 142

Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0

Punts-Avg 3-30.3 3-24.0

Penalties-Yards 5-35 4-25

Plays 58 38

Week 6: Gators outlast Wolverines to stay in AML North race

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
October 15, 2009

From the opening onside kick to the last touchdown pass, Port Allegany and Sheffield treated the crowd at Gator Field to a wildly entertaining game last Saturday afternoon. When the assault on the scoreboard finally ended, Port High owned a 42-27 victory to move to 5-1 on the season, setting up an Oct. 17 showdown with unbeaten Cameron County which will go a long way toward deciding the Allegheny Mountain League North title.

With leading rusher Seth Lowery limited to five carries and Camrin Stuckey out for the game, the focus of the Gator offense turned to seniors Ryan Bodamer and Lucas Kline, and the co-captains didn’t disappoint. They hooked up for the first score of the game on Port’s opening drive, with Kline taking the handoff on a double reverse and lofting a 27-yard touchdown pass to Bodamer.

Kline was just getting warmed up. The 6-1 tight end finished the game with four catches for 166 yards, including touchdowns of 66, 55, and 18 yards from quarterback Matt Bodamer, who went 8-for-12 for 164 yards on the day.

“Lucas can outjump most of those kids, and he outsized most of them,” Port High coach Mike Bodamer said. “So the basic call was, ‘Matt, same formation, throw it to Lucas,’ and it worked almost every time … Keep going to it until they stop it.”

When Matt wasn’t throwing it, he was handing off to elder brother Ryan, who pounded the Wolverine defense for a career-best 183 yards on 29 carries.

“Ryan ran hard. He got stuffed a couple of times, but in the fourth quarter, he started breaking some nice runs for us,” coach Bodamer said.

Port jumped out in front early, with Kline’s first touchdown catch giving them a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Sheffield showed no sign of going away quietly, though, responding with Khalil Slaughter’s 40-yard touchdown run to get on the scoreboard.

The offensive fireworks continued in the second quarter, with Ryan Bodamer taking a direct snap and rushing for an eight-yard touchdown, and the visitors answering with Jim Hahn’s 30-yard halfback option pass to a wide-open Nick Bonavita. The second long Bodamer-to-Kline connection, this one from 55 yards out, made it 28-14 Gators at the half.

But while the crowd may have been satisfied with a two-touchdown lead, the Wolverines weren’t about to let it stay that way. On their first possession of the second half, quarterback Craig Fitch managed to elude the onrushing Gators and fire a pass downfield to Slaughter. The speedy Sheffield running back adjusted to the underthrown ball, picked up a block, and took off down the sideline for a 61-yard touchdown. The fourth quarter opened with another long Fitch touchdown pass, this one good for 88 yards to running back Jasper Rentas, and suddenly, the Wolverines were down 28-27 and lining up for a two-point conversion to take the lead.

However, Hahn’s pass fell incomplete, and the Gators regained control of the game with an 11-play, 65-yard drive that burned over five minutes off the clock before Matt Bodamer’s three-yard keeper and Tyler Burr’s extra point gave them a 35-27 cushion. Ryan Bodamer carried the ball six times for 41 yards and two crucial third-down conversions on the drive.

“I was pleased with the offense. We didn’t seem to panic – Matt hit some passes to Lucas, and Ryan ran well in the fourth quarter to ice the game,” coach Bodamer said.

Brock Taylor and Benn Baxter combined for the Gators’ sixth sack on the day – and Baxter’s third – to end the next Sheffield drive, another long Bodamer run moved the ball deep into Wolverine territory, and Kline’s third touchdown catch with just 1:26 remaining finally sealed the win.

First-year Sheffield coach Bryan Gould was understandably disappointed with the outcome, but pleased with his team’s effort: “When we went down two scores early, they never gave up the entire game,” he said. “We kept battling back, and battling back. A couple of things didn’t go our way, but they never gave up, and I’m proud of them for that. I think we gave Port Allegany a pretty good game today.”

Now comes the game many area football fans have been waiting for, as Cameron County – one of just two undefeated teams remaining in the Big 30 – visits Gator Field for an 11:00 a.m. Homecoming kickoff. Setting aside playoff games, the Red Raiders haven’t lost to an AML team since Johnsonburg managed the feat in the 2006 season finale.

“Emporium’s for real,” said Bodamer, who watched them dismantle Otto-Eldred on Friday night. “Like I said at the beginning of the year, they’re definitely the favorite to win the district title again. Their quarterback, Jason Blose, threw some nice passes last night, and they’ve got a tough running game. They just line up and try to run it down your throat. And they’re extremely large, so hopefully out little guys can hold up. But we usually play them pretty tough, so we’ll see what happens. These kids know we can play with them.”

S PA

First Downs 11 17

Rushes-Yards 27-73 50-218

Passing Yards 270 191

C-A-I 10-23-0 9-13-1

Total Yards 343 409

Fumbles-Lost 4-1 3-2

Punts-Avg 4-32.8 3-24.0

Penalties-Yards 7-91 11-100

Plays 50 63

PAHS volleyball back on the winning track

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
October 15, 2009

The Lady Gators broke out of a midseason slump with two wins in the last week, rallying past Austin in a five-set thriller before rolling to a 25-13, 25-22, 25-12 win over Cameron County on Tuesday night.

“The last time we played them, we came out and won the first two games soundly. In the third game they got on a roll; we ended up losing that game, and had to come back for the fourth game. So tonight, it was, ‘Let’s keep the intensity up’ And they did a nice job,” Port coach Sharon Daniels said following the Cameron County match.

The team’s only two seniors, Alyssa Bowser (13 kills) and Kelsey Pistner (8 kills), led the Lady Gator attack against the Red Raiders.

“That’s a nice tandem. I’m going to miss them next year,” Daniels said.

The victories pushed Port Allegany (6-6, 5-4 North Tier League) back to .500, the cutoff point for participating in the District 9 playoffs, with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.

“We have five games left, and we need to win three to go on to districts, which has been our long-term goal since the beginning of the season,” Daniels said. “So we need to play up. We have Smethport Thursday night, who we beat the first time around, but they’ve improved. They’ve beaten teams that have since then beaten us. And every team after that beat us the first time around. So … lots of preparation, lots of practice.

“We had a dry spell there – we lost five in a row before last Thursday night – so I’m hoping we’ve turned things around now. A little more excitement out there.”

At Austin, Oct. 8: Port Allegany 3, Austin 2 (25-20, 22-25, 26-24, 17-25, 15-5)

Alyssa Bowser: 13 kills, 5 blocks, 13 digs
Jenny Shelley: 5 kills, 18 assists, 13 digs, 20 service points
Renee Edgell: 4 kills
Kyley Mickle: 18 assists, 9 service points
Kelsey Pistner: 8 kills, 10 digs
Rachel Taylor: 4 blocks, 8 kills

At Port Allegany, Oct. 13: Port Allegany 3, Cameron County 0 (25-13, 25-22, 25-12)

Kelsey Pistner: 11 kills, 9 digs
Alyssa Bowser: 3 kills, 15 service points
Jenny Shelley: 8 service points, 2 kills, 12 assists
Kyley Mickle: 4 service points, 10 assists
Rachel Taylor: 4 kills
Renee Edgell: 3 kills
Becky Andrus: 15 digs