AML Week 9: Brockway at Port Allegany, Round 1



1:30 PM EDT
WHKS 94.9 FM – Red Zone Media


SERIES HISTORY: Gators lead, 5-4.

LAST MEETING: November 19, 2011 – Gators 49, Rovers 21

Nov. 23, 2011:

Last year, Port Allegany was a late entrant into the District 9 Class A football playoffs, parlaying a Week 9 win over Coudersport into a pair of upsets before falling to Curwensville in the title game.

That was last year. The Gators entered the 2011 season with a talented roster and the lessons learned from their unexpected postseason push, making them one of the favorites to claim this year’s D-9 crown.

On Saturday afternoon in Bradford, Port High took the penultimate step toward that goal, shrugging off an early Brockway touchdown to score the next 42 points in an emphatic 49-21 semifinal victory over the defending Class AA district champs. The Gators’ third win in as many tries over the Rovers sets up a meeting with the Clarion Bobcats (8-4), who defeated Coudy (9-2) in the second half of the doubleheader, next Saturday at Frank Varischetti Field in Brockway (1 p.m., WHKS-FM 94.9).

LAST TIME IN PORT ALLEGANY: September 11, 2010 – Rovers 49, Gators 34

Sept. 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.”

(Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)

Update: Gator spikers sweep Coudy to repeat as NTL champs

Making a clean sweep of the North Tier League volleyball schedule for the second year in a row, Port Allegany (17-1, 14-0) dropped Coudersport (13-3, 12-2) in straight sets (25-22, 25-22, 25-18) to repeat as league champions.

Both teams will host NTL foes in the opening round of the District 9 Class A playoffs next Tuesday night, with the third-seeded Gators facing No. 14 Otto-Eldred while No.12 Smethport visits No. 5 Coudy.

2012 District 9 Class A Volleyball Playoff Bracket

AML Week 8: Gators blank Red Raiders to set up showdown against Brockway





Lori Chase
Oct. 25, 2012

Just how good is the Port Allegany football team?

Good enough that even on a night when the Gators’ high-flying passing attack seemed to be out of sync, the running game and stout defense provided more than enough power to pound out a workmanlike 41-0 victory over Cameron County last Friday in Emporium.

Trent Neal (11 carries-66 yards) and Matt Bodamer (10-61) each scored two rushing touchdowns in the first half, with Bodamer adding a touchdown pass for the 23rd game in a row with an 18-yard strike to Nick Conway, and the defense kept the Red Raiders bottled up on their own side of midfield on all but one first-quarter possession as the Gators improved to 8-0 on the season, setting up a showdown of unbeaten teams when Brockway visits this Saturday afternoon.

“They were physically beating us in the first quarter, but after we got over that they started playing their game,” Port coach Mike Bodamer said. “They ran a trip-set and pitched outside, and that caught us, but after about three or four of those the kids adjusted to it. Once they got used to it, they were fine. Defensively, after the first quarter I was happy with the way they played. (Cameron County) didn’t move the ball very much.

“Offensively, we were a little rattled. This is the first time this season Matt’s had a little bit of happy feet – I think he hurt his arm the one time he got sacked, which kind of threw his passing off. Definitely not his best game, but we’ve got other people to fill in. He ran the ball well and Trent ran well, and Shaffer used his speed on that one up the middle. We have other weapons we can go to.”

The Raiders’ gameplan was evident from the first play from scrimmage, when quarterback Tucker Britton walked up to the line and watched the playclock run down into single digits before readying for the snap: Play keepaway, try to disrupt Port’s passing game, and keep the game close for as long as possible.

“Maybe because I’ve been around for a long time, I don’t know, but that’s just smart football,” CCHS coach Mark Morelli said. “And it’s the only way we thought we could possibly even try to stay in the game with them. Matt’s had a heck of a career, with all the records he’s setting. I thought our kids played with a lot of heart and a lot of pride tonight. Good effort on our part, and I thought at times, defensively, we made them earn their points.”

The trouble for the Gators’ opponents this season is, three-and-out drives don’t run much time off the clock, and those points still add up in a hurry. After eight games, Sheffield’s 65-yard bomb remains the only touchdown against the defense in the first half, while Port has lit up the scoreboard for an average of 38.8 points before the break and 53.1 overall.

This week’s foe, Brockway, may change that. While Port has the top offense in Class A according to statistics provided to, the Rovers aren’t too far behind, totaling 368 points for a 46.0 average. Quarterback Alec Shaffer-Doan has thrown for 1,542 yards and 17 touchdowns and Chad Melillo paces the ground game with 900 yards and 16 rushing scores for the 8-0 South Division champs, who will make the same trip north next weekend for the AML title game.

“They’re going to come in there flying high, so we’re definitely going to have to be ready for them,” Bodamer said. “We’re going to have to bring a lot of intensity. I’ve been watching tape the last two weeks, and they’re the real deal. Everyone’s been crowning us for some reason, but Brockway is a real team. Still got Clarion, they’re extremely good, and Curwensville and Elk County – anybody can win this thing – but I think Brockway is firing on all cylinders. Their line is just gigantic. With our size, they’re definitely going to cause us some problems. We’re going to have to figure out a couple different things to deal with that.

“If we let them sustain a drive and milk the clock and run it down, we’re going to be in trouble. If we can force them to punt four or five times I think we’ll be okay. We’re not going to keep them from scoring – there’s no way, they’re just too good – but if we can force them to punt maybe four times, I think we’ll have a decent shot.”

One unbiased observer isn’t about to choose.

“We’ve seen them and we’ve seen Brockway, and I’m thankful I’m not in the prognostication business,” said Morelli, whose team fell to the Rovers 42-8 in the season opener. “They’re both strong on offense, they’ve both got good quarterbacks, both offenses are hard to gameplan for. So it should be an interesting two weeks.”

NOTES: Conway notched both Gator takeaways, picking off a pass and recovering a fumble on back-to-back Cameron County possessions … Dylan Armstrong’s interception was the lone Port turnover.

NUMBERS: The official statistics provided to MaxPreps list Bodamer as finishing the game 16-for-27 for 252 yards, moving past Brendan Nosovitch (Allentown Central Catholic) for second place on the PIAA career leaderboard with a 31-yard completion to Conway on the first play of Port’s second drive of the night. He now has 9,440 yards, 312 shy of the record Derek Buganza set at Brockway in 2010 … With 9 catches for 127 yards, Tyce Miller extended his D-9 yardage record (2,589) and now has 150 career receptions, 11 away from tying Mike Vervoort for the district mark.

LOOKING AHEAD: After beating Brockway three times last year, Port holds a 5-4 edge in the series which began when the Rovers joined the AML in 1999. The broadcast will be available on WHKS-FM 94.9 and online at, with scoring updates also available on Twitter by following @LChase_RA.

At Emporium, Oct. 19:

Score by quarters:
Port Allegany Gators 7 21 13 0 41
Cameron County Red Raiders 0 0 0 0 0

First Quarter
PA – Bodamer 15 run (7 plays, 57 yards, 1:46), Brookens kick, 7:29

Second Quarter
PA – Neal 3 run (6 plays, 30 yards, 2:09), Brookens kick, 9:31
PA – Bodamer 1 run (7 plays, 62 yards, 1:50), Brookens kick, 6:03
PA – Neal 16 run (5 plays, 50 yards, 0:44), Brookens kick, 2:25

Third Quarter
PA – Conway 18 pass from Bodamer (9 plays, 78 yards, 2:45), kick failed, 6:04
PA – Shaffer 28 run (5 plays, 71 yards, 1:29), Brookens kick, 0:00

Team Statistics: PA CC
First downs 22 5
Total Yards 407 87
Rushes-Yards 28-166 31-73
Passing Yards 241 14
Comp-Att-Int 19-32-1 4-13-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Punts-Avg. 1-39.0 7-30.9
Penalties-Yards 5-55 6-37
Total Plays 60 44
Time of Possession 20:34 27:26

Rushing: Port Allegany – Neal 11-66, Bodamer 10-61, Shaffer 3-33, Seefeldt 2-7, Tanner 1-0, Gaines 1-(-1). Cameron County – Johnson 8-34, Britton 4-28, Olivett 9-5, Cokely 1-4, Horning 7-1, Garrigan 1-8, Lathrop 1-0.

Passing: Port Allegany – Bodamer 16-29-1-240, Seefeldt 3-3-0-1. Cameron County – Britton 4-13-1-14.

Receiving: Port Allegany – Ty. Miller 9-122, Conway 5-90, Tr. Miller 2-28, Tanner 1-1, Gaines 2-0. Cameron County – Armstrong 3-12, Lathrop 1-4, Johnson 0-(-2).

District 9 soccer playoff quarterfinal: Port outlasts DCC in shootout

As mist rose from the surrounding hillsides, Port Allegany goalkeeper Ben Edgell stood on his goal line in the gathering gloom, waiting for one final DuBois Catholic shooter to approach the soccer ball sitting just 12 yards away from the net.

After 80 minutes of regulation and another 30 of scoreless overtime – much of it played during a downpour that turned portions of Port’s field into a slick, treacherous expanse – Tuesday afternoon’s District 9 Class A quarterfinal was deadlocked 2-2, sending the match to penalty kicks. Moments earlier, after saving one DCC shot and watching the second sail high while his fellow team captains Sam Kysor and Scott Brookens converted their opportunities, Edgell had drilled his own attempt off his counterpart’s hands and in to give the Gators an almost insurmountable 3-0 lead. If the Cardinals didn’t score here, Port would win.

Edgell leaped at contact, then watched the ball fly over his outstretched hand, skim the crossbar … and go over, dropping harmlessly to the ground behind the net. And as his teammates raced toward him to celebrate the Gators’ first playoff victory since 2008, he sank to his knees in the wet grass.

“I guessed wrong, but it still went over,” he said. “And when I saw it go over, it was just relief, and then the realization that we had won our first district game. I can’t really describe it more than that. It was the best moment ever. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.”

Knowing that his third-seeded Gators came one unfortunate bounce away from ending their season while No. 6 DCC moved on, Port coach Aaron Clark echoed his keeper’s relief afterward.

“There were periods of that game that were awful. We just did not do well,” he said. “During the first half, defensively, we were atrocious. Even through periods of overtime and the second half, we were lucky they didn’t put more goals in. Ben made some nice saves.

“Some of our defensive weaknesses showed, but we were kind of able to overcome it. Their team came to play – I don’t know what lit a fire under their butt after the first game (a 9-3 Port win in last week’s regular-season finale at DuBois), but they had a tremendous game.”

DCC jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Tom Boyer and dominated possession for a good part of the first half, ringing two more shots off the left post before Tyler Kittilson lasered a direct kick into the top corner of the net from 25 yards out to level the score just 1:19 before halftime.

Kittilson struck again at 36:23 on a cross from Brookens, who sped past the Cardinals’ defense to nab a misplayed ball to the right of DuBois keeper Zach Marshall, to give the Gators a 2-1 lead. But with just 5:57 remaining, Boyer netted his second score to send the match to overtime, with both teams barely missing chances to end the game with a “golden goal” in overtime.

Marshall finished with eight saves while Edgell recorded 21, perhaps none bigger than the first DCC penalty kick in the shootout.

“That’s a big goal to protect, so you pretty much try to memorize how they were playing before and then guess a side, and you stick to that side and you go. And I just guessed right today,” he said. “It was really great saving that first one, but I knew personally if I got excited I’d get out of it. So I had to just blow that off and reset. But looking back at that, that was the best save I think I’ve ever made. It just felt really, really great.”

As did his coach.

“I started feeling a little better at that point,” Clark said. “A one-goal lead in a penalty shootout is huge. It’s hard to overcome that one-goal lead so long as you have your scorers put the ball in the side of the net. This is something that’s really built for the shooters, and building that one-goal lead right at the beginning of the shootout … They put themselves in a hole, and you could see their kickers were pressing. They were trying to kill the ball, get all three goals on one shot.”

So while the Cardinals end their season at 10-8-1, the 16-3 Gators wait to find out who they’ll play in next week’s D-9 semifinals. And after achieving both of Clark’s preseason goals (winning the division title and a playoff game), it’s time to set a new one:

“Go to the district finals. That would be a really nice outcome to the season,” he said. “Win or lose, going to the district finals would be a great end to the season. Chances are we’re going to play a really good team next whether it be Karns City or Coudersport, but it’s nice to be able to get to the point in playoffs where we’re going to go to a neutral site. We’ve never played in the playoffs on a neutral field, so it would be another new experience, something we haven’t done.”

District IX Class A bracket, updated through Oct. 25

Volleyball: Port claims ECC tourney, still perfect in NTL

The Port Allegany volleyball team is one match away from repeating last year’s unbeaten run through the North Tier League, with only Thursday night’s opponent, second-place Coudersport, still in position to stop them.

The Gators (16-1, 13-0) headed south to St. Marys on Saturday, claiming the 12-team Elk County Catholic Tournament title with a win over the host Crusaders in the finals. Port began the day a perfect 10-0 in pool play, defeating Cameron County (25-10, 25-20), Redbank Valley (25-18, 25-20), St. Marys (25-16, 25-15), Smethport (25-19, 25-18), and Johnsonburg (25-15, 25-13) to earn a bye into the semifinals, where they downed Coudy (25-20, 25-17).

“This set up the second tournament playoff meeting between Port and ECC,” coach Sharon Daniels wrote in a recap to the Reporter Argus, noting their previous matchup at the Sheffield tourney, which the Gators also won. “Again our match went three games. It was a battle right down to the last kill with Port squeaking out a 30-32, 25-20, 15-13 win. The first game was about as intense as it can get. This was a game that neither team wanted to lose and was evident with the continued aggressive hitting and tight defense played by both. Passes off service receive and defense were much more controlled today. Our offense was varied and forced ECC to move. Hitters adjusted very well to where we needed to put the ball. To (ECC’s) credit they blocked well, covered the block, were quick on defense and pounded the ball at us; to our defense’s credit, our block became a factor and our passers made the adjustments necessary to win. We covered their block well also and net play was a huge factor in the speed of the match. Every player was assigned a role and each rose to the occasion. Without the contribution of every athlete we would not have won today.”

Daniels noted the play of Jenny Shelley (51 assists, 7 kills in the playoff rounds), Rachel Taylor (29 kills, 7 blocks), Becca Lathrop (17 kills), Ashley Woodruff (9 kills), Brooke Roys (8 kills, 8 blocks), and Jena Young (6 kills), adding, “Amber Naylor and Hannah Ernst gave us an entire day of excellent passes. Bethy Bernardi and Taylor Causer provided a change-up in our service line and both played an effective back row as well.”

On Tuesday night, Port stayed perfect in the NTL with a 25-13, 25-22, 25-10 win at Oswayo Valley, setting up Thursday night’s showdown with the Falcons (13-2, 12-1) in the Gator gym. If Coudy wins, the two squads will square off in a tiebreaker to determine the league champ before both teams enter the District 9 playoffs.

Weekend update: Football, volleyball win; boys soccer playoff game on Tuesday

Football: Port Allegany 41, Cameron County 0

With the Red Raiders focusing on stopping Port’s high-flying passing attack, the Gators turned to their ground game, rushing for four first-half touchdowns on the way to a 41-0 win at Emporium on Friday night. Trent Neal led Port High with 66 yards and two scores on 11 carries, while Matt Bodamer completed 16 of 29 passes for 240 yards, one touchdown and one interception and added a pair of rushing touchdowns.

The victory sets up a Week 9 battle of 8-0 unbeatens as Brockway, which defeated Johnsonburg 59-33 to clinch the Allegheny Mountain League South Division, makes the trip north to Gator Field. The Rovers will make the same drive a week later for the AML Championship game, with the No. 1 overall seed in the District 9 Class A playoffs at stake.

Boys soccer: Gators draw No. 3 seed in Class A, host DCC on Tuesday

District IX Boys Class A Soccer Playoffs

Volleyball: Port outlasts Elk County Catholic in finals to claim ECC Tourney

Surviving a marathon first set, the Gators defeated the host Crusaders 30-32, 25-20, 15-13 in the championship match of the ECC Tournament on Saturday in St. Marys. Now 15-1 (12-0 NTL), Port concludes the regular season this week with a visit to Oswayo Valley on Tuesday and a rematch with second-place Coudersport on Thursday.

AML Week 8: Port A at Cameron County pregame



7:00 PM EDT

WHKS 94.9 FM – Red Zone Media


LAST 10 GAMES: Cameron County leads, 6-4. Port’s win last season snapped a six-game CCHS streak in the series.

LAST MEETING: October 22, 2011 – Gators 54, Red Raiders 6

As a happy hometown crowd filed out of the Gator Field stands on Saturday after watching Port Allegany dismantle Cameron County, 54-6, coach Mike Bodamer delivered a simple message to Port’s postgame huddle:

“The real season starts Monday.”

That’s when, after practicing and playing since August and watching the Allegheny Mountain League scoreboard for the last two months, the Gators (7-1) can officially set their sights on unbeaten Coudersport in next Friday night’s showdown for the AML North division title. A berth in the league championship game awaits the winner, along with a chance at a high seed in the District 9 Class A playoffs.

“Everything’s on the line,” Bodamer said. “If they want to play in the AML game, they have to beat Coudy. And with the (playoff) seeding, there’s no doubt we’re going to see Curwensville or Brockway or Elk County in the first game. So that’s not going to be an easy task, either.”

But judging by Saturday’s tuneup against overmatched Cameron County (2-6), Port is running in high gear as it heads into the winner-takes-all part of the schedule. Tyce Miller caught touchdown passes of 54 and 19 yards from Matt Bodamer, five different players scored rushing touchdowns, and the defense forced the Red Raiders to punt on each of their first six possessions, allowing just 18 total yards and two first downs before halftime as the Gators cruised to their third running-clock victory in the last four weeks.

LAST TIME AT CAMERON COUNTY: October 22, 2010 – Red Raiders 27, Gators 21 (OT)

Three times in the last two seasons, Port Allegany and Cameron County have met on the football field with either a division title or a playoff berth at stake. Three times, the Red Raiders needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to eke out a close win.

On a cold, clear Friday night in Emporium, four quarters wasn’t long enough to decide the game, but the ending was all too heartbreakingly familiar. Following a fourth-and-goal fumble to stop the Gators’ first possession in overtime, Jason Blose scored the game-winning touchdown – his third of the night – to give Cameron County a 27-21 victory and its fourth consecutive AML North championship.

“We had him stopped at the 10-yard line, but we didn’t make the wrap, didn’t make the tackle when we had to. At least two or three kids bounced off him, and that was that,” Port coach Mike Bodamer said quietly as the stands emptied.

(Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)