AML Football: Gators roll Hubs to stay in North race



Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
October 13, 2011

Memo to Allegheny Mountain League football teams: If you’re trying to plan a successful Homecoming weekend, don’t invite Port Allegany to the party.

For the second Friday night in a row, the Gators’ prolific offense put a damper on their opponents’ halftime festivities, scoring the first seven times they touched the ball and cruising to a 48-13 win over Smethport.

Junior quarterback Matt Bodamer went 22-of-33 for 317 yards and a career-high six touchdown passes and added a rushing touchdown, en route to claiming his third Player of the Week award of the season. Three of those scoring tosses went to tight end Rickie Bova (eight catches-64 yards), with wideouts Charlie Buchanan (6-106), Trevor Neal (3-91) and Tyce Miller (2-27) also visiting the end zone.

An impressive performance on any surface, much less the sloppy Smethport field that had Port coach Mike Bodamer lodging a protest to the officials during the pregame warmups, voicing his concerns about player safety.

“This game should never have been played. This is terrible,” he said afterward, surveying the churned-up sod. “But actually, I think it was more to our benefit, because throwing the ball, our kids know the routes they’re supposed to run. So they could take their time, and the other team’s trying to catch us and they’re slipping and sliding. I think it actually hurts a running team more than it does a passing team.

“Plus,” he said, “they couldn’t get any pressure on Matt in the first half. They were slipping and sliding. Matt had all day to throw, and he definitely found his receivers tonight. He was on fire. Some of those throws were amazing.”

But while the skill-position players get the accolades, savvy football observers know that games are often won or lost in the trenches. After the game, the Port mentor made sure to mention his starting front five of center Rex Windsor, guards Kyle Austin and Brock Taylor and tackles Tyler Burr and Nick Budd.

“Our kids don’t get any credit up front. We don’t run the ball a lot, so apparently we’re not a good offensive line,” Bodamer said, a hint of frustration in his voice. “But Matt has all day to throw. We definitely stress pass blocking – that’s what we do, and they’re extremely good at it. They pick up the blitzes, and when (Smethport) came off the edge a couple of times, the backs stepped up. I think our line deserves a lot more credit than the area gives them for being a good offensive line. Just because we pass doesn’t mean that they’re not good. They’re good at what they do.

“We’re not a great running team – we just don’t have that – but they do their job like we ask them to, and we basically run a five-man line,” he added. “Rickie is basically always out on pass routes, so those five guys control everything.”

Following an efficient opening drive capped by Matt Bodamer’s 2-yard bootleg for a touchdown, the Gators went to work through the air. 6-4 receiver Trevor Neal hauled in one long bomb to set up Bova’s first score, then slipped behind the defense on a post route for a 38-yard touchdown to make it 21-0 before Smethport crossed the Gator 40-yard-line.

The Hubs managed their deepest penetration of the first half on their next drive, but bogged down inside the 20, with Kevin Lord’s fourth-down pass sliding off a diving receiver’s fingertips in the end zone midway through the second quarter. The Gators responded with two more Bodamer-to-Bova touchdowns before halftime – the second on a surgically precise two-minute drill – to invoke the mercy rule for the rest of the game.

Two Smethport turnovers to begin the second half were quickly followed by Gator touchdowns, and with the score 48-0, the starting offense was done for the night.

On the other side of the ball, the Port defense held the tandem of Lord and Karl Lightner in check, allowing just 65 yards on 22 carries to the dangerous duo and pitching a shutout late into the third quarter before the Hubs managed to find their way onto the scoreboard.

“With a kid like (Lightner), he relies on speed and cutbacks,” Bodamer pointed out. “And in this stuff, you just can’t get going. Same with Lord. He stops and goes the other direction, and you just can’t do that on a field like this.”

To win their own Homecoming game – and stay within striking distance of AML North-leading Coudersport (6-0), which dispatched Cameron County (1-5), 21-7, last week – the Gators will have to deal with a Sheffield team which gave the unbeaten Falcons all they could handle in Week 5 before falling 7-6 in overtime. The game is slated for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff (WHKS-FM) on Saturday at Gator Field.

The Wolverines (2-4) rebounded from the Coudy heartbreaker by thumping Otto-Eldred 42-0 last Saturday, with both leading rusher Nick Bonavita (71 carries-429 yards, 4 TDs) and District 9 sprint champ Kalil Slaughter (21-194, TD) topping the century mark against the Terrors. Ike Nearing (5-17, 80 yards, 1 TD, 3 interceptions) and Shequan Wright (29-78, 410 yards, 2 TD, 8 interceptions) have split time at quarterback this year, throwing the ball to a group of receivers which includes Bonavita and Kwante Johnson, who leads the team with three touchdown catches.

“Sheffield’s athletic,” Bodamer said. “I haven’t seen them play, but I’ve heard that they have four or five kids that are really fast and really athletic. We’ll just have to keep our offense going.”

At Smethport, Oct. 7:

Score by quarters:
Port Allegany 14 21 13 0 48
Smethport 0 0 6 7 13

First Quarter
Port A – Matt Bodamer 2 run (6 plays, 55 yards, 2:25), Scott Brookens kick, 7-0
Port A – Rickie Bova 1 pass from Bodamer (10 plays, 87 yards, 2:44), Brookens kick, 14-0

Second Quarter
Port A – Trevor Neal 38 pass from Bodamer (4 plays, 60 yards, 1:07), Brookens kick, 21-0
Port A – Bova 11 pass from Bodamer (11 plays, 92 yards, 3:22), Brookens kick, 28-0
Port A – Bova 30 pass from Bodamer (10 plays, 62 yards, 1:39), Brookens kick, 35-0

Third Quarter (running clock)
Port A – Tyce Miller 22 pass from Bodamer (2 plays, 27 yards, 0:51), Brookens kick, 42-0
Port A – Charlie Buchanan 27 pass from Bodamer (4 plays, 28 yards, 1:43), kick failed, 48-0
Smethport – Kevin Lord 2 run (11 plays, 62 yards, 5:57), kick blocked, 48-6

Fourth Quarter
Smethport – Ryan Nielson run (10 plays, 66 yards, 6:01), Dario Caminite kick, 48-13

Team Statistics: Port A Smethport
First downs 20 15
Rushes-Yards 19-81 49-213
Comp-Att-Int 22-33-0 1-8-0
Passing Yards 317 10
Total Yards 398 223
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-2
Punts-Avg. 1-41.0 2-25.5
Penalties-Yards 5-53 6-45
Total Plays 52 57
Time of poss. 17:07 30:53

Individual stats:
Rushing: Port A – Trey Miller 6 carries-44 yards; Trent Neal 5-16; Matt Bodamer 3-12, TD; Garrett Drabert 1-5; Johnny Sena 1-4; Cory Burr 3-0. Smethport – Clay Schuler 11-68; Karl Lightner 15-63; Ryan Nielson 7-53, TD; Jordan Johnson 9-27; Kevin Lord 7-2, TD.

Passing: Port A– Bodamer 22-33-0, 317 yards, 6 TDs. Smethport – Lord 1-8-0, 10 yards.

Receiving: Port A – Charlie Buchanan 6 catches-106 yards, TD; Trevor Neal 3-91, TD; Rickie Bova 8-64, 3 TDs; Tyce Miller 2-27; Trent Neal 2-27; Trey Miller 1-2. Smethport – Schuler 1-10.

(Helmets courtesy of


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