Gators ground Falcons to clinch D-9 berth

Port Allegany Reporter Argus
November 4, 2010

On a blustery, chilly Saturday afternoon, eight Port Allegany senior football players were honored before their final game at Gator Field. Then, they helped make sure the season would continue in the District 9 Class A playoffs, making their presence felt in Port’s methodical 39-8 victory over an undermanned Coudersport squad.

Camrin Stuckey led the way for the Class of 2011 with 159 receiving yards and three more touchdown catches, running backs Seth Lowery and Zach Ramadhan combined for close to 200 yards on the ground, Ken Kysor was perfect on all of his kicks, and even tackle Zach Manning found his way into the end zone as the Gators improved to 5-4 with the win – the varsity squad’s first against the Falcons since a 10-9 thriller in the 2003 district playoffs.

The entire first quarter was played inside the Coudersport 40 as Kysor, already listed among the state leaders in kickoff touchbacks, added three more (of his five on the day) to pin the Falcons deep and the Port defense kept them there. After Victor Bandish broke through to block a punt on Coudy’s first possession, Kysor followed with his fourth field goal of the season, a 22-yarder to give Port a quick 3-0 lead.

“Kenny did a great job with his kicks,” Port head coach Mike Bodamer said. “He had the wind, but still, he was booting them through the end zone. He’s been a weapon for us all year.”

The Gators struck twice more for a 17-0 lead before the Falcons managed to answer, with Matt Bodamer finding fellow sophomore Trent Neal for a 31-yard touchdown pass, then following it up with a 20-yard strike to Stuckey, who made the leaping catch over a Coudersport defender at the right pylon.

Coudy quarterback Jason Gibson’s 57-yard touchdown pass to Alex Furman and the two-point conversion by the same tandem cut the lead to 17-8, but with both teams struggling to hang onto the ball in the windy, cold conditions, the score remained the same as the half ended.

The third quarter opened with Lowery – who had already steamrolled the Coudy defense for 105 yards on 13 carries – trying to return from an ankle injury suffered late in the first half, but he managed just a few plays on defense before heading to the sideline for the rest of the afternoon. The senior still stayed active, encouraging his teammates and even carrying water for timeouts.

“Luckily, we had the lead,” coach Bodamer said. “Zach Ramadhan went to fullback and ran the ball hard, and we had those long pass plays in the second half and broke it open a little bit, but if it was a close game we definitely would have missed him.”

Ah yes, those pass plays. Bodamer and Stuckey continue to prove that they’re one of the most dangerous quarterback-receiver combos in the state, connecting on a 59-yard touchdown just three plays into the half, then following it up with an 80-yarder early in the fourth quarter.

“He’s just an exceptional athlete, and he makes plays for us,” coach Bodamer said of Stuckey, who leads all District 9 passcatchers with 11 touchdowns.

Following Benn Baxter’s fumble recovery at the Gator 18 late in the third quarter to thwart the Falcons’ deepest drive of the second half, Bodamer hit Stuckey in stride at the Coudy 40 and the senior wideout split two Falcon defenders for the back-breaking touchdown to put the game out of reach.

Bodamer finished 7-of-10 for 205 yards, with his fourth TD pass of the day bringing his season total to 19, good enough to tie Brockway’s Derek Buganza for the District 9 lead.

“He threw the ball extremely well,” coach Bodamer said. “On that last touchdown I told Stuke, ‘Matt’s got the wind at his back, so just run as far as you can and he’ll throw it to you.’”

The Gators showed a different look on the PAT attempt, with tackle-turned-fullback Zach Manning bulling into the end zone for a two-point conversion.

Bodamer explained, “Zach’s been asking all year if he can run the ball if we get down close. Mr. Bienkowski takes care of his linemen, so when we scored, he said, ‘Let Zach run it in,’ and I said okay.

“He made a decent run – got hit right at the line and carried everybody a couple of yards,” he added with a chuckle. “It was Senior Day, something fun to do.”

Ramadhan capped the scoring with a 40-yard touchdown on his final carry at Gator Field.

“Field position was pretty big in that first half,” Falcons coach Chris Fink said afterward. “We were still in the game at halftime, obviously, but I didn’t feel we could keep up with them athletically in the second half. When they started throwing the ball, we had a very depleted secondary, and that hurt. But Port’s got a lot of nice ballplayers, and they did a good job. When we were in a three-man front they were running the ball and having some success, and when we moved to a four-man front, they started throwing the ball. Again, their better athletes just took a toll later in that ballgame.”

After going through the same sort of injury problems a couple of seasons ago, Bodamer could sympathize with his Coudersport counterpart.

“They’re like Smethport was last year, with all the injuries,” he said. “Losing (starting quarterback) Tim McCusker was a killer, and they lost a couple of linemen. I think the Blumer kid was probably the biggest loss. He’s a tough kid.”

While the Falcons have chosen to end their season instead of participating in the playoffs with a losing record, the Gators have to wait for the outcome of next weekend’s Allegheny Mountain League championship game between Cameron County and Brockway to see where they’ll be headed for their District 9 opener.

“We’ll get back and watch tape and see if we can get ready, go from there. Get everyone healthy, and hope the weather’s good where we can throw the ball,” Bodamer said.

“It’s the playoffs, it’s fun. I told the kids it would be nice to eat turkey on Thanksgiving, then go the next day and play in the district finals. The teams we have to face, we know we can beat. It’s just a matter of doing it.”

He concluded, “It’s good to end on this one. From this point on it’s just for fun, and to see what we can do.”

At Port Allegany, 10/30:

Score by quarters:
Coudersport 0 8 0 0 8
Port Allegany 10 7 7 15 39

First Quarter
PA – Ken Kysor 22 field goal, 3-0
PA – Neal 31 pass from Matt Bodamer, Kysor kick, 10-0

Second Quarter
PA – Camrin Stuckey 20 pass from Bodamer, Kysor kick, 17-0
C – Alex Furman 57 pass from Jason Gibson, Furman pass from Gibson, 17-8

Third Quarter
PA – Stuckey 59 pass from Bodamer, Kysor kick, 24-8

Fourth Quarter
PA – Stuckey 80 pass from Bodamer, Zach Manning run, 32-8
PA – Zach Ramadhan 40 run, Kysor kick, 39-8

Team Stats: C PA
First downs 8 12
Rushes-Yards 38-59 39-204
Comp-Att-Int 3-12-0 7-10-0
Passing Yards 89 205
Total Yards 148 409
Fumbles-Lost 6-2 4-3
Punts-Avg. 10-30.0 3-34.7
Penalties-Yards 4-30 5-30
Total Plays 50 49
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