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