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.