Rovers run past Port A

Garrett Kio (5) goes up for the first Gator touchdown of the day as Port Allegany took on Brockway Saturday afternoon at Gator Field. Kio made the 11-yard catch on a pass from sophomore quarterback Matt Bodamer. (Photo: Pam Fischer / Reporter Argus)

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 16, 2010

Heading into last Saturday’s game at Gator Field, most observers expected a high-scoring shootout between two of the Allegheny Mountain League’s best passers, Brockway’s record-setting senior Derek Buganza and Port Allegany’s Matt Bodamer.

Both quarterbacks did their part, throwing for more than 200 yards. But in something of a surprise, it was the Brockway running game – 56 carries for 383 yards and six touchdowns – that proved to be the difference in the Rovers’ 49-34 win.

Even Brockway coach Frank Varischetti was taken aback by the Rovers’ success on the ground.

“Last time we rushed for 300 yards? Oh, man, I don’t know,” he said with a smile. “When I played in 2001 we were a double-wing team, and we had many days when we rushed for 300 yards. But it hasn’t happened in at least five or six years, I’d say.

“We really didn’t expect it. Port had a great gameplan defensively and took away a lot of our favorite things to do offensively. We had to run the ball to be successful, so that’s what we decided to do.”

On the opposite sideline, Port coach Mike Bodamer was trying to figure out what went wrong.

“We expected run right off the bat, but not the same play time after time. We told the kids what to do, but we just couldn’t stop them,” he said.

192 of those yards – including a back-breaking 45-yard touchdown, his third of the day, to cap the scoring midway through the fourth quarter – came from the legs of All-State wide receiver Mike Vervoort after an injury knocked starter Tom Vervoort (16 carries – 103 yards) out of the game in the first half.

“Mike’s never played running back in his life,” Varischetti said. “We made the change at halftime to give him the ball. He’s probably our best playmaker, and he ran phenomenally. He was a man possessed with the football today. He did a great job.”

The Rovers started pounding the ball as soon as they got their hands on it. Running their no-huddle offense at blinding speed, they countered Port’s nickel defense by staying on the ground for 12 out of 15 plays on an 80-yard drive to their first touchdown, a Buganza dive over the top on second-and-goal.

The Rovers added another score just before the end of the first quarter as Buganza found Kyle Braun open behind the Gator defense for a 40-yard strike. The Brockway quarterback finished the game 19-of-32 for 244 yards, good enough to move him past the Miami Dolphins’ Chad Henne and current Pitt junior Pat Bostick into seventh place on the PIAA career passing list with 7,301 yards.

Down 14-0 entering the second stanza, the Gators roared back with touchdowns on three consecutive drives to take the lead. Bodamer threaded the needle on an 11-yard dart to Garrett Kio in the back of the end zone to put the home team on the scoreboard, and following a Camrin Stuckey interception, the Bodamer-to-Stuckey connection struck again. Facing third-and-10 at their own 32, Bodamer rolled left and fired deep downfield, where Stuckey fought off Mike Vervoort for the ball at the Brockway 25, then outran the rest of the Rovers defense for the touchdown.

A long pass to Zach Ramadhan set up Bodamer’s 1-yard keeper on their next possession, and suddenly, Port had a 21-14 lead … but with 2:03 left in the quarter, Brockway had just enough time to work with, marching to Houston Fairman’s 2-yard score on the final play of the half.

The two teams matched point-for-point through the third quarter and into the fourth, before a failed extra-point pass by Stuckey left the Rovers with a 35-34 lead they’d never relinquish.

“In reality, that really didn’t hurt us,” Mike Bodamer said of the missed extra point. “We had to come out and stop them anyway, because we knew they were going to push the ball back down the field and they did. We had a chance to score more points, and we just didn’t do it.”

It took just four plays for Brockway (2-0) to go 80 yards after the ensuing kickoff, and following an interception on Port’s next series, Mike Vervoort’s third touchdown put the game away.

“I knew we weren’t going to stop them,” Mike Bodamer admitted afterward. “I knew they were going to be in the 30s, there was no doubt about it. We just had to keep scoring with them, and in the end, we just didn’t do it.

“Them scoring, we expected that to happen. We needed to keep our offense on the field. At the end, we made a couple of mistakes, and that was the difference.”

Matt Bodamer finished the game 13-for-25 for 220 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions, and was also Port’s leading rusher with 78 yards on 11 carries. Five of those passes went to Stuckey, good for 93 yards and two scores.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Gators (1-1), with a long bus ride to Curwensville Friday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff against a 2-0 Golden Tide team which hung a 72-18 loss on Sheffield last week.

“They’re going to be physical,” Bodamer said. “Line up, run between the tackles all night long on you. And apparently that’s our weakness right now, so we’ve really got to think of something to do there.”

At Port Allegany, 9/11:

Score by quarters:
Brockway 14 7 14 14 49
Port Allegany 0 21 7 6 34

First Quarter
Brockway – Buganza 1 run, Esposito kick, 7-0
Brockway – Braun 40 pass from Buganza, Esposito kick, 14-0

Second Quarter
Port Allegany – Garrett Kio 11 pass from Bodamer, Kysor kick, 14-7 B
Port Allegany – Stuckey 68 pass from Bodamer, Kysor kick, 14-14
Port Allegany – Bodamer 1 run, Kysor kick, 21-14 PA
Brockway –Fairman 2 run, Esposito kick, 21-21

Third Quarter
Brockway – Mike Vervoort 4 run, Esposito kick, 28-21 B
Port A – Ramadhan 13 run, Kysor kick, 28-28
Brockway – Buganza 2 run, Esposito kick, 35-28 B

Fourth Quarter
Port A – Stuckey 3 pass from Bodamer, pass failed, 35-34
Brockway – M. Vervoort 8 run, Esposito kick, 42-34
Brockway – M. Vervoort 45 run, Esposito kick, 49-34

Team Stats: B PA
First downs 27 16
Rushes-Yards 56-383 29-155
Comp-Att-Int 19-32-1 13-25-2
Passing Yards 244 220
Total Yards 617 375
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Punts-Avg. 0-0 2-40.0
Penalties-Yards 7-60 3-15
Total Plays 88 54

Gators thump Elkers in AML opener

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 9, 2010


Going into last Friday night’s 2010 Allegheny Mountain League season opener at Ridgway, expectations were high for Port Allegany’s varsity football team. Even so, few could have predicted the offensive show the Gators put on at Memorial Field, scoring on all eight first-half possessions on their way to routing the Elkers 55-14 before a stunned home crowd.

Sophomore quarterback Matt Bodamer picked up where he left off at the end of last season, completing 9-of-11 passes for 228 yards and hooking up with senior wideout Camrin Stuckey for three long touchdowns, and also added 85 rushing yards and a score.

“We pretty much know each other’s preference, know what we’re going to do the whole time,” said Stuckey, who finished a huge night with 121 receiving yards and also scored on a kickoff return and a fumble recovery. “I don’t know, we just have a really good connection. We worked a lot in the offseason, too, to make sure our timing was perfect.”

The Gator ground game was just as efficient, with Seth Lowery running over and around defenders on his way to 134 yards and a long touchdown on just 13 carries and fellow senior Zach Ramadhan also finding the end zone.

“Everything just clicked,” Port coach Mike Bodamer said afterward. “I was surprised at the way we came out. The first couple of runs Seth had really set the tone. He’s been hurting – hobbled all summer long – and he came out and busted a couple of long runs, and seemed to set the tone for everything. And Matt threw the ball well to Camrin, and seemed to have that connection going.”

The fireworks started early, when a long punt return by Stuckey set the Gators up at midfield. They took just 2:39 to march 50 yards to their first score, on a Bodamer third-and-goal bootleg – and that ended up being the slowest of their five first-quarter touchdown drives.

Senior kicker Ken Kysor, the high-scoring PAHS soccer all-star performing double duty with the football team this season, drilled the extra point high and deep before sending the ensuing kickoff into the end zone for one of his two touchbacks on the night.

The Gators kept up the onslaught, scoring twice more while forcing the Elkers to punt, before Ridgway running back D.J. Skraba broke loose for a 57-yard touchdown to finally put the home team on the board. Then, things really got wild, as Stuckey and Skraba traded kickoff-return touchdowns to add 15 more points in the next 28 seconds.

But with the Elkers back in the game at 27-14 and the fans stirring, Port took control, allowing just two more first downs in the rest of the half while continuing to convert their own possessions into points courtesy of the Bodamer-Stuckey connection.

Even when things appeared to go wrong for the Gators, they still turned out all right. Already ahead 41-14 and driving again, Stuckey alertly scooped up a fumble at the Ridgway 10 and took it in for his fourth score of the game. Merely fortunate to be in the right place at the right time? Not entirely, according to Stuckey.

“Our coach makes us work a lot on fumble recoveries when we’re moving,” he said. “(Assistant coaches) Mr. Zitnik and Mr. Luther do a good job of that. We do a lot of work with the parts of the game that most teams wouldn’t bother learning about.”

Stuckey’s final touchdown came on a 38-yard pass from Bodamer just before halftime, surprising even his head coach.

“Did he really (have five touchdowns)? Wow,” Mike Bodamer said when informed of Stuckey’s total. “He’s just a threat no matter where he is. He catches the ball and he’s just got those moves to get the job done. He’s just a great all-around athlete.”

Kysor’s fifth successful extra point of the night made it 55-14, and with the mercy rule in effect, the Gators spent the second half working on their running game and chewing up the clock.

Next up: a highly-anticipated glasstown showdown against visiting Brockway Saturday afternoon (1:30 p.m., WHKS-FM 94.9) at Gator Field. Led by quarterback Derek Buganza’s 310 passing yards and five touchdowns, the Rovers took a 42-0 lead into halftime before finishing off Sheffield 49-21 in their season opener last Friday night. Mike Bodamer knows his Gator defense will have its hands full with Buganza, who broke the 7,000-yard career passing mark last week and now stands ninth on the all-time PIAA leaderboard, and his crop of talented receivers.

“I don’t know,” he said with a laugh when asked how he planned to slow down the Rovers’ aerial assault. Then, turning serious, he continued, “We’ll use Matt on the scout offense and spread it out. We have quite a few tapes and we played seven-on-seven against them this summer, so we know what they like to do. But he’s just so good at throwing the ball; if there’s a small window, he just zips it in there, and his receivers are good route runners. So it will be a tough one for us, and then we turn around and go to Curwensville the following week.

“This game, things just fell into place. I don’t want to take anything out of that. We’ll just enjoy this one for the weekend, and try to figure out how to stop Brockway next Saturday.”


At Ridgway, 9/3:

PA – 33 22 0 0 – 55

Rdg – 14 0 0 0 – 14


First Quarter

7:52 – PA: Bodamer 6 run; Kysor kick, 7-0

6:11 – PA: Lowery 56 run; Kysor kick, 14-0

3:23 – PA: Ramadhan 2 run; kick failed, 20-0

2:23 – Rdg: Skraba 57 run; kick blocked, 20-6

2:10 – PA: Stuckey 72 kickoff return; Kysor kick, 27-6

1:55 – Rdg: Skraba 90 kickoff return; Jaques pass from Dickant, 27-14

0:03 – PA: Stuckey 25 pass from Bodamer; kick failed, 33-14


Second Quarter

9:23 – PA: Stuckey 25 pass from Bodamer; Lowery pass from Stuckey, 41-14

2:01 – PA: Stuckey 10 fumble recovery; Kysor kick, 48-14

0:10 – PA: Stuckey 38 pass from Bodamer; Kysor kick, 55-14


Team statistics: PA Rdg

First Downs 15 5

Rushes-Yds 38-278 27-104

C-A-I 9-11-0 3-12-0

Passing Yds 228 28

Total Yds 506 132

Fumbles-Lost 4-0 4-0

Penalties-Yds 10-76 3-15

Punts-Yds 1-29.0 8-29.3

Total Plays 49 39


Individual statistics:
Passing: Port A – Bodamer 9-11, 228 yards, 3 TDs. Ridgway – Dickant 2-10, 19 yards; Jaques 1-1, 9 yards; McKnight 0-1.
Rushing: Port A – Lowery 13-134, Bodamer 7-85, Ramadhan 7-31, Tr. Miller 4-13, Sena 5-7, Stuckey 0-7, Drabert 1-(-4). Ridgway: Skraba 11-71, Wickett 10-28, Quail 1-2, Mitchell 1-2, Jaques 2-1, Dickant 2-0.
Receiving: Port A – Stuckey 4-121, Kio 1-40, Trevor Neal 1-28, Trent Neal 1-24, Buchanan 1-8, Ramadhan 1-7. Ridgway: Himes 1-14, Skraba 1-9, Jaques 1-5.