AML Football Week 4 pregame: Port Allegany at Coudersport

PORT ALLEGANY GATORS (3-0)

COUDERSPORT FALCONS (1-2)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2012
COUDERSPORT, PENNSYLVANIA
7:00 PM EDT
WHKS 94.9 FM – Red Zone Media

HISTORY

LAST 10 GAMES: Falcons lead, 7-3, although Gators have won the last two.

POSTSEASON RECORD: Tied, 1-1. Port knocked Coudy out of the 2003 District 9 Class A semifinals, with the Falcons returning the favor in the first round in 2007.

LAST MEETING: October 28, 2011 – Gators 49, Falcons 7

Trent Neal and Matt Bodamer each rushed for two touchdowns and more than 100 yards and Bodamer added two passing TDs as the Gators clinched their first AML North title since 2000.

(Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)

AML Football: Bodamer shatters D-9 record as Gators down Elkers

PORT ALLEGANY GATORS (3-0)

55

RIDGWAY ELKERS (1-2)

14

FAMILY PICTURE: Port Allegany quarterback Matt Bodamer and head coach Mike Bodamer pose with the game ball after Matt tossed seven touchdown passes in Port’s 55-14 win over Ridgway, breaking the District 9 career record (95) in the process. He now has 100, becoming just the third quarterback in PIAA history to hit the century mark.
(Photo credit: Pat Crants)

Lori Chase
Sept. 20, 2012

Three games into the 2012 Allegheny Mountain League football season, Port Allegany is living up to the lofty expectations placed on them this year.

Last Friday in Ridgway, neither a rainy night nor the Elkers defense had a chance to slow down the Gators’ aerial assault as Port scored on seven of eight first-half possessions to cruise to a 55-14 victory in an AML crossover game.

“We win games, but our goal is to try to play perfect. I think that first half, we were pretty darn close to doing about everything that we needed to do,” Gator coach Mike Bodamer said following his squad’s 12th consecutive win over a District 9 opponent.

This one came with an added bonus – the D-9 career passing touchdown record for Gator quarterback Matt Bodamer. Needing two to tie and three to pass 2010 Brockway grad Derek Buganza’s mark of 95, Bodamer and his corps of talented receivers took care of business before the first quarter was out, with the senior quarterback sandwiching two touchdown tosses to tight end Ricky Bova around a 60-yard catch-and-run by Tyce Miller. And they didn’t stop there, adding four more scores in the second stanza while the defense was stopping the Elkers’ Wing-T in its tracks to take a shutout into the locker room for the third week in a row.

By the time the clock ran out to end the half – with yet another touchdown pass, Bodamer’s seventh of the night and the third to Nick Conway – the Gators had piled up 344 yards of total offense and a 48-0 lead despite holding the ball for an astoundingly low 4 minutes, 47 seconds of play.

“They were blitzing seven or eight kids on every play. I don’t know what they expect, but Matt’s going to pick them apart,” Mike Bodamer said. “The line did a great job holding the kids out, and kids were wide open all over the place and made some nice runs after the catch.”

In just over a half of play before the first string gave way to the reserves, Bodamer completed 16 of 18 passes for 282 yards, with those seven touchdowns giving him an even 100, good enough for third on the all-time PIAA list. Miller finished with five catches for 102 yards – his fifth 100-yard game, and one which put him over the 2,000-yard milestone for his career – with Conway adding 86 yards and a career-high three TDs on four receptions. Bova chipped in with 46 yards on a trio of catches, while fullback Alex Gular, filling in after starter Trent Neal went out, scored his first touchdown of the season on a 25-yard screen pass.

“They needed me to step in,” Gular said. “I didn’t really think Matt was going to throw one to me, but I ran the route like the coaches told me to, and it was there.”

With the two PAHS track stars on the outside of the formation – “Fast and Faster,” assistant coach Nate Zitnik suggested – Bova and H-backs Trey Miller and Tyler Shaffer slipping into the seams, and the backs circling out of the backfield, few area teams have the manpower to cover the Gators, allowing Bodamer to pick and choose his targets at will.

“We just find openings, and Matt gets us the ball,” Tyce Miller said.

“It makes it easy for me,” Bodamer said. “I get a lot more credit than I deserve, I think. Because of our line, there was no pressure all night. And these guys are just amazing athletes for our school district – and, as you can see, for around here.”

The D-9 record-breaker came on a short toss over the left side to Bova, who hauled in the ball at the Ridgway 25 and broke into the clear, leaving several would-be tacklers in his wake on the way to the end zone for the 32-yard score.

“After the first broken tackle, I thought maybe,” Bodamer said of watching the tight end rumble to paydirt after his throw. “I didn’t know if his speed was going to kick in …”

“I was faaaaast,” Bova cracked as several teammates chuckled.

Meanwhile, with Gular all over the field on defense and Nick Budd and Brandon Raymo anchoring a five-man line to counter Ridgway’s running game, the Elkers were stuck in reverse for most of the first three quarters before finally managing to put some points on the board against the Gators’ second string.

“We knew our offense this year coming in was going to keep scoring. Our goal was to play a fast-paced defense just like our offense. The first three games we’ve been doing extremely well,” Mike Bodamer said. “Last week we gave up some passes against Kane, but our kids fly all over the place. Team speed definitely helps. They’ve been playing well on the defensive side.

“Alex is a terror. He’s basically my defensive captain. He just plays so hard – a little crazy once in a while,” he added with a grin, “but Alex is just all over the place. Defensive line, Nick and Bubba do a really good job and Rex Windsor plays a good end. Christian Moses is a little young, but he plays awful aggressive. The secondary did well tonight; they didn’t seems to give up too much passing on us.”

With the rest of the AML North struggling, the Gators (3-0) head to Coudersport on Friday night with a two-game lead already in hand. The Falcons are 1-2 after being surprised by Johnsonburg, 22-14, on their home turf last weekend.

“You’ve got to stop (Mitch) Freeman and (Caden) Whitman. That’s basically their whole offense,” Mike Bodamer said. “Mitch runs the ball hard. He’s a good runner. Caden’s been banged up, I don’t know how he’s feeling, but he’s a lethal weapon. Definitely got to stop their run game. Their new quarterback throws a lot of roll passes, but I don’t know how much he’s going to depend on his throwing.

“It’ll be a good game. I don’t know what happened (in the loss to Johnsonburg), but I don’t expect that to happen next week. Could’ve been turnovers or whatever … If it’s a nice day, those two backs are tough to bring down, so we’ll have to have our defense ready again.”

And like their coach, the Gator players sounded like they’re not about to take anyone lightly, adding their own final thoughts as they shouldered their gear and headed for the bus:

“Something to prove.”

“On to the next one.”

“Go to work, baby.”

“Celebrate it tonight, forget about it tomorrow.”

“One step at a time.”

NOTES: Port’s captains were Bodamer, Budd, Conway, and Tyce Miller, while McKnight, Logan Wickett, Joe Jaques, and Cortland Smith handled those duties for Ridgway … Although the run-heavy Elker offense didn’t provide many opportunities to rush the passer, Gular and Raymo both recorded third-and-long sacks in the first quarter to force Ridgway to punt … Both teams turned the ball over twice via fumble. Logan Warnick and Billy Downey each set up a Gator scoring drive with their takeaways, while Nate Steis and John Mitchell recovered for Ridgway.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: How dominant has Port been on both sides of the ball? Try 122-0, the combined halftime score of their first three games. In fact, all 15 of Bodamer’s touchdown passes have come before the break, with the Gators merely looking to run out the clock for the final two quarters … Port’s longest possession of the first half lasted just 1:20, with single-play scoring drives of five and seven seconds.

LOOKING AHEAD: After snapping a seven-game Falcon winning streak in the long series, Port has won the last two games against Coudy by a combined score of 88-15 … Friday night’s 7 p.m. broadcast should be available on WHKS 94.9 and at Red Zone Media.

At Ridgway, Sept. 14:

Score by quarters:
Port Allegany Gators 21 27 7 0 55
Ridgway Elkers 0 0 8 6 14

First Quarter
PA – Bova 5 pass from Bodamer (1 play, 5 yards after turnover on downs, 0:05), Brookens kick, 10:48
PA – Ty. Miller 60 pass from Bodamer (3 plays, 64 yards, 0:45), Brookens kick, 7:30
PA – Bova 32 pass from Bodamer (3 plays, 82 yards, 0:29), Brookens kick, 3:00

Second Quarter
PA – Conway 23 pass from Bodamer (5 plays, 71 yards, 1:20), Brookens kick, 10:51
PA – Gular 25 pass from Bodamer (4 plays, 42 yards, 1:02), kick failed, 7:21
PA – Conway 18 pass from Bodamer (1 play, 18 yards after Logan Warnick fumble recovery on kickoff, 0:07), Brookens kick, 7:07
PA – Conway 31 pass from Bodamer (5 plays, 66 yards, 0:59), Brookens kick, 0:00

Third Quarter (running clock)
PA – Seefeldt 13 run (8 plays, 66 yards after Billy Downey fumble recovery, 4:03), Brookens kick, 1:38
R – McKnight 71 run (1 play, 71 yards, 0:33), McKnight pass from MacDonald, 1:05

Fourth Quarter
R – McKnight 41 run (3 plays, 74 yards, 1:25), kick failed, 9:17

Team Statistics: PA R
First downs 20 12
Total Yards 454 261
Rushes-Yards 20-136 42-243
Passing Yards 318 18
Comp-Att-Int 19-21-0 3-7-0
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 3-2
Punts-Avg. 2-47.5 4-37.0
Penalties-Yards 3-35 3-15
Total Plays 41 49
Time of Possession 16:31 31:29

Individual statistics:

Rushing: Port Allegany – Bodamer 3-50, Gular 4-41, Seefeldt 4-31, Tanner 6-22, Neal 2-1, Garzel 1-(-9). Ridgway – McKnight 9-165, S. Delhunty 9-72, Gardner 6-27, Stark 1-12, Cerroni 2-10, Lineberger 3-9, Pierce 1-2, Wickett 4-0, team 1-(-11), MacDonald 6-(-41).

Passing: Port Allegany – Bodamer 16-18-0-284, Seefeldt 2-2-0-10, Garzel 1-1-0-24. Ridgway – MacDonald 2-6-0-7, Cerroni 1-1-0-11.

Receiving: Port Allegany – Ty. Miller 5-102, Conway 4-86, Bova 3-46, Gular 2-44, Gaines 1-23, Burr 2-6, Tanner 1-6. Shaffer 1-4. Ridgway – Sorge 1-11, S. Delhunty 1-10, McKnight 1-(-3).

(Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)

PAHS Roundup: Sept. 12-18

Cross Country:

Port Allegany’s Adam Koehler dodged the raindrops to win his second cross country meet of the season against visiting Otto-Eldred on Tuesday afternoon, crossing the line in 19:47 to pace the Port squad. (With only four Port runners participating, team scores weren’t kept.) Freshman Benon Smith placed third in 21:41, with sophomores Jeremy Barney (8th, 24:14) and Jeff Stehle (10th, 25:25) also completing the course for the Gators.

With a small roster full of dual-sport athletes, it’s mostly about individual progress for the Port Allegany team.

“For the kids who come out, I think they appreciate it and realize it’s something they can do for their life,” coach Fran Reilly said. “That’s what I try to tell them: ‘I never tell you to beat somebody, I always tell you to beat yourself. Always beat your time. Every time you run this course, run it your best, and run it so that you beat your last time.’ And they are, and that’s all I ask.”

For Koehler, who finished 23rd at last year’s District 9 meet in Ridgway as a freshman, Reilly thinks continued improvement might just lead to the PIAA championships before he’s done.

“I’d love to see Adam go to states, and if he wants it, I think he’s right there,” she said.

The season continues with meets against Oswayo Valley, Northern Potter and Smethport before the Oct. 16 North Tier League meet, which will be on the Port Allegany course this year.

Boys Soccer:

Last week, Port Allegany boys soccer coach Aaron Clark was hoping to come through a rough stretch of games with a 6-2 record. Mission accomplished, after the Gators rebounded from a 6-1 loss to powerful Brockway with three straight wins.

On Tuesday, Scott Brookens netted his fourth hat trick of the season as Port roared back from a 1-0 first-half deficit to drop Coudy, 5-1. Tyler Kittilson and Sam Kysor also scored for the Gators (7-2), with Ben Edgell making six saves to pick up his seventh win of the season in goal.

“We were awful on defense in the first half. We were swinging and missing on a lot of clears, giving Coudersport way too many opportunities. Way too sloppy. It was really nerve-wracking to begin with,” Clark said. “They were still rough in the second half at times, but they got a little bit better.”

On Saturday, Brookens scored his 50th career goal on the way to accounting for all of the offense in the Gators’ 3-1 win over St. Marys, with Tyler Kittilson picking up the assist on the milestone.

“It was just a nice ball from TK, on the floor at the 18 right to Scott’s foot and he just dumped it in,” Clark said. “The number of assists he’s gotten over the years from Tyler and Sam Kysor, I think he knows without those guys, he’s not going to have anywhere near 50 goals.”

It was Kittilson’s turn to do the scoring against Smethport last Thursday, with the junior netting the second hat trick of his own and Brookens adding two goals as the Gators dumped the Hubbers by a 7-2 final.

With the offense averaging more than three goals per game and Edgell standing tall in the net, allowing more than one goal in just three of Port’s nine games so far, the Gators would appear to be setting themselves up for a nice postseason run.

“You throw out the beating from Brockway we took, we’re winning pretty much everything we’re supposed to win,” Clark said. “So we’re at the point where we’re just looking at our league schedule and trying to win every game there, and kind of look at playoff seedings.”

The second half of the regular season gets underway on Thursday with a visit from Kane, followed by a welcome five-day break before the Gators head to Ridgway next Tuesday.

Girls Soccer:

As the Port Allegany girls soccer team hits the midpoint of the season, the Gators continue to get most of their goal-scoring from super sophomores Lynae Delacour and Somer Buchsenschutz. Last Saturday was no different as Port picked up its second win, with Delacour’s direct kick in overtime sending the Gators past Kane, 2-1. Freshman Laura Fox made eight saves for the Gators, now 2-6 after dropping a 9-3 decision to Ridgway on Monday.

“Somer had a breakaway goal with a beautiful feed from Lynae,” coach Travis Cowburn wrote in an email after the Kane match. “It was a tough game to watch. Offensively we are still having a tough time creating scoring opportunities. The defense was solid. Erika Helo had a tremendous game at stopper and distributed with good execution. We can’t rely on the same opportunities every game. My offense needs to create things better and see the entire field better.”

The second half of the schedule begins with a visit from St. Marys on Wednesday (too late for this edition), before the Gators host Smethport (Wednesday) and DuBois CC (Thursday) on back-to-back nights next week.

“The meat of our schedule is coming up and we need to win a few if we would like to visit the postseason in any way, shape or form,” Cowburn wrote.

Volleyball:

Like their counterparts on the football field, the Port Allegany volleyball team is picking up right where it left off after a successful 2011 season, dropping just a single game in the first five matches of the current campaign.

“The girls are communicating well. I’m very pleased with their work ethic,” coach Sharon Daniels wrote in an email after the Gators moved to 5-0 with a 25-8, 25-11, 25-11 win over Otto-Eldred on Tuesday night. “The entire team is contributing in every match. Everyone is getting plenty of playing time and we are seeing the benefits in overall improvement.”

Roughly a third of the way through the regular-season schedule following earlier wins over Northern Potter (25-9, 25-16, 25-14 last Tuesday) and Austin (25-7, 25-4, 25-3 on Thursday), Ashley Woodruff leads the team in kills with an even 50 (10 each against NoPo and Austin). Jenny Shelley continues to set up the Gator attack, averaging 23 assists and more than 15 service points per match while firing 28 aces, and Rachel Taylor (10 kills against Austin, 11 kills and 9 blocks against Otto-Eldred) leads a host of other Gators helping stake the team to its unbeaten start.

Port returns to the court on Thursday for a home match against Smethport, then visits Galeton in a non-league match next Monday before returning to North Tier League play with matches against Cameron County and Oswayo Valley.