AML Football Week 6: Gators blank Hubs to repeat as North champs





Lori Chase
Oct. 11, 2012

Not much has slowed down the Port Allegany football team during this record-setting season. Even with several starters missing the beginning of last Saturday’s game against Smethport to take their SAT’s, the outcome proved no different, with the Gators rolling to a 48-0 victory over the Hubbers to repeat as Allegheny Mountain League North division champions.

Matt Bodamer ran for one touchdown and passed for three more, edging within two of tying the PIAA state record. The defense pitched its second shutout of the season, stifling Smethport’s two-headed rushing attack of Karl Lightner and Clay Schuler – the AML’s leading ground-gainer coming into the game – to the tune of 28 carries for -4 yards, and still hasn’t allowed a single point in the first half.

And if opposing defenses didn’t already have enough to worry about between Bodamer and his talented receivers and the hard-nosed running of Trent Neal, the Gators unveiled yet another weapon in their loaded arsenal, with Tyler Shaffer beating the pursuit to the corner and breaking off touchdown runs of 30 and 22 yards.

“A little thunder up the middle, a little speed around the outside. It was nice to see him,” coach Mike Bodamer said. “A couple of runs, he didn’t read the holes well enough – but he was fast enough to get outside, so he made up for it. He’s been trying to work in there, and we decided the last couple of weeks to give him a shot. Another new dimension they have to look for.”

Shaffer’s first score gave the Gators the early lead on the game-opening drive, with Sam Kysor adding the extra point. Following a Smethport three-and-out – the sixth consecutive week the Port defense hasn’t allowed a first down in their initial action of the game – it took just two plays and 22 seconds to make it 14-0, with Trey Miller breaking loose for a 35-yard reception and Bodamer finding Nick Conway for the 15-yard score.

The Hubbers didn’t go down without a battle, thwarting one red-zone foray on downs and forcing a punt on the following drive – the first time all year Port’s starting offense has gone without scoring on back-to-back possessions. But with the defense continuing to stop Smethport in its tracks, it was merely a matter of time before the Gators turned their field-position edge into more points.

“Our line has been playing really well this year, and I put a lot of pressure on them this week to come out and perform. That was our downfall today – our line play wasn’t what we thought it was going to be. We couldn’t run the ball, and it started snowballing from there,” said first-year Smethport coach Jim Berlin. “The ground-control kind of style of game that we play, pound the ball, you’re putting yourself in a situation with the clock where instead of working against them it’s starting to work against you.”

“We worked on that,” coach Bodamer said of bottling up the Hubs’ run-heavy gameplan. “We went to the five, six-man front every once in a while, tried to change things up. Alex (Gular) had a nice game, made some nice tackles. That’s definitely what we worked on, their option. We didn’t tackle too well the first half – we had a lot of hand-tackles – but we came out in the second half and played a lot better.”

Taking over at midfield with eight minutes left in the second quarter, another long pass to Miller preceded Matt Bodamer’s 12-yard bootleg to paydirt. Smethport responded with its longest drive of the half, pushing inside the Port 40 for the first time, but their stay there was short as back-to-back sacks set up Victor Bandish’s fumble recovery at midfield with 0:48 left before halftime.

As the Gators have shown all too often this season, that’s plenty of time to score. Following Tyce Miller’s 20-yard catch-and-run down to the Hubber 2, Bodamer found Ricky Bova alone under the goalpost with 0:00 on the clock, and Kysor’s fourth extra point made it 28-0 at the break.

“I think it’s only the second time we’ve gotten our two-minute offense,” coach Bodamer said. “I thought Tyce maybe should’ve went out of bounds, he cut back in and tried to score, but luckily we still had a couple of seconds left. As soon as we lined up in that I saw Rick out there and it’s like, this is going to be so easy. Just a nice throw and catch there.”

While the Gator defense kept Smethport from crossing the 25-yard line for the rest of the afternoon, the offense added three more touchdowns in the second half as Bodamer and Conway hooked up for a 1-yard score early in the third quarter, Shaffer added his second sideline jaunt, and backup quarterback Jordan Seefeldt tossed a 10-yarder to senior Josh Poorman.

With the division title secured, the Gators (6-0) head west to Warren County this Saturday to face Sheffield (2-4), which still has an outside shot at a D-9 playoff spot. It’s been an up-and-down season on Wolverine Mountain under first-year head coach Dave Fitch, with last week’s surprising 52-38 loss at Otto-Eldred offsetting back-to-back wins over Cameron County and Coudersport. Senior Shequan Wright and sophomore Adam Higby split time at quarterback in the Wolverines’ pass-heavy offense.

“Discipline is their big concern, but they definitely have athletes,” Bodamer said. “Actually, I saw them last night (in last Friday’s loss to the Terrors), and their young 10th-grade quarterback doesn’t throw the ball badly. He made some nice throws, and 17 (Wright) is definitely someone you’ve got to keep your eye on. It’ll be fun going down there.”


NOTES: Bodamer’s 14-of-22, 255-yard performance added to his state-leading totals (1,897 yards and 31 TDs), moving him within 355 yards of second place on the career yardage list and two TD passes away from tying Kyle Smith for the PIAA record … Conway (32-663, 12 TDs) and Tyce Miller (34-646, 11 TDs) both rank high on the state leaderboard for yardage and touchdowns, with Tyce one touchdown catch from matching the District 9 career mark of 30, held by Clarion-Limestone’s Brad Beggs … Port won the turnover battle 3-0, as Bandish, Conway, and Jacob Safford each recovered a fumble … The Gator pass rush put heavy pressure on Schuler whenever he tried to throw and sacked him three times, with Nick Budd combining with Bandish for one takedown and notching another one solo, and linebackers Neal and Johnny Sena sharing the third.

NUMBERS: The win was the 11th in a row for the Gators over Smethport, matching the longest streak by either team in the longstanding series … The 48 points by Port matched last year’s output for the fourth-most in the series, with the Gators owning the top five spots. The 62-8 final in 1978 heads the list, with RB Barry Bova – the uncle of current Port TE Ricky Bova – playing a starring role.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Gators have a 10-game winning streak against Sheffield, which last won in the series in 2001 … Veteran announcer Al Lacher returns to the booth again this week for the WHKS broadcast (94.9 FM,

At Port Allegany, Oct. 6:

Score by quarters:
Smethport Hubbers 0 0 0 0 0
Port Allegany Gators 14 14 7 13 48

First Quarter
PA – Shaffer 30 run (7 plays, 62 yards, 2:30), Kysor kick, 9:30
PA – Conway 15 pass from Bodamer (2 plays, 50 yards, 0:22), Kysor kick, 7:28

Second Quarter
PA – Bodamer 12 run (4 plays, 50 yards, 1:10), Kysor kick, 6:59
PA – Bova 5 pass from Bodamer (7 plays, 52 yards after Bandish fumble recovery, 0:48), Kysor kick, 0:00

Third Quarter
PA – Conway 1 pass from Bodamer (2 plays, 40 yards after Conway fumble recovery, 0:23), Brookens kick, 9:27
(running clock)

Fourth Quarter
PA – Shaffer 22 run (5 plays, 68 yards, 2:25), Brookens kick, 11:27
PA – Poorman 10 pass from Seefeldt (5 plays, 37 yards, 2:06), kick failed, 6:38

Team Statistics: S PA
First downs 7 18
Total Yards 45 417
Rushes-Yards 41-37 23-127
Passing Yards 8 290
Comp-Att-Int 1-10-0 16-26-0
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 2-0
Punts-Avg. 5-28.6 1-25.0
Penalties-Yards 4-40 4-40
Total Plays 51 49
Time of Possession 31:13 16:47

Individual statistics:

Rushing: Smethport – Abrams 4-31, Stratton 4-13, Lightner 13-5, Confair 2-4, Corbett 1-(-3), Shunk 2-(-4), Schuler 15-(-9). Port Allegany – Shaffer 3-51, Bodamer 4-32, Neal 8-30, Tanner 5-9, Seefeldt 2-9, Gaines 1-(-4).

Passing: Smethport – Schuler 1-9-0-8, Corbett 0-1-0-0. Port Allegany – Bodamer 14-22-0-255, Seefeldt 2-4-0-35.

Receiving: Smethport – Lightner 1-8. Port Allegany – Ty. Miller 4-93, Tr. Miller 2-69, Conway 5-66, Poorman 2-35, Bova 2-20, Neal 1-7.

(Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)

Boys soccer: Port clinches UAVSL North

Oct. 4: Port Allegany 3, St. Marys 1

Tyler Kittilson scored two unassisted goals, once in each half, and Scotty Brookens added another tally to his record-setting career total as the Gators shrugged off an early St. Marys goal to sweep the season series from the Dutchmen in Upper Allegheny Valley Soccer League action last Thursday night.

“We’ve never beat them more than once in a year before. It’s great,” Port coach Aaron Clark said afterward. “Last year we had a chance to win the league title – all we had to do is tie them in the last game of the year and we would’ve won the league outright, and we choked it away at the very end. If we would’ve lost to them that would have complicated the league quite a bit, because Coudersport still only has one loss. This basically sets up a very big game on Tuesday with Coudersport.

“They scored quick, maybe five minutes in. They basically dribbled through our defense and we stabbed and overran the ball. It was not a good goal for us. Probably eight minutes after that, Scott was able to put one in from Sam Kysor and Ben Edgell – Ben punted it, Sam sent a beautiful through ball on the ground and it was Scott and the goalie. The goalie didn’t have a chance there.”

The goal was Brookens’ Big 30-leading 29th of the season and 65th overall, both Port High records that the senior forward continues to put out of reach.

With the score level and Port beginning to dominate possession after an early defensive lull, Kittilson corralled a loose ball deep in the St. Marys box and sent it past the keeper to give the Gators the lead at 11:16 of the first half.

The action stayed in front of the Dutchmen net in the second half, as Port barely missed on several scoring attempts before Kittilson snuck behind the defense for a breakaway on a St. Marys goal kick with 12:13 remaining.

“Most of the time those don’t really work,” Clark said. “He was sitting on the 18 – a lot of times, the younger forwards don’t see the point in standing on the 18 on a goal kick, but we tell them ‘Every once in a while, you may get a flubbed goal kick that’s going to go right to you and it’s just you and the goalie.’ So it seems like a pointless practice so many times, but right there it worked out. You could see St. Marys kind of – I don’t want to say quit, but they started conceding right there.”

Edgell had a quiet night in net, needing just five stops to pick up his 12th win of the season as the Gators ran their winning streak to eight games in advance of Tuesday’s UAVSL-deciding match at second-place Coudersport.

UPDATE: Four more goals by Brookens and one from Adam Koehler, plus Edgell’s sixth shutout of the season, earned the Gators their first solo UAVSL North crown with a 5-0 win over the Falcons on Tuesday night. Port, now 13-2 overall, travels to Kane on Thursday with a chance to complete a perfect 10-0 season in the league with a victory against the Wolves. Port won the first meeting, 7-0, with a hat trick from Brookens and an Edgell shutout.

Volleyball: Gators still unbeaten in NTL, claim Sheffield Tourney crown

As the North Tier League volleyball season hit its midpoint last week, Port Allegany continued its quest for a second straight undefeated run through the league. The Gators held serve on Thursday night, following last Tuesday’s thrilling five-set win at Coudersport with a 25-16, 25-13, 25-14 victory over Northern Potter as Jena Young (22 service points, 4 kills), Rachel Taylor (15 service points, 12 kills, 7 blocks), Ashley Woodruff (6 service points, 11 kills, 7 digs) and Jenny Shelley (22 assists) led the charge.

“The girls kept their intensity throughout the match. They were focused, passing well to set up the swing,” coach Sharon Daniels wrote in an email to the Reporter Argus.

Stepping out of the NTL for am 11-team tournament at Sheffield on Saturday morning, the Gators got off to a slow start without two of their top players, but rebounded to claim the tourney title with a championship-match win over Cranberry.

Coach Daniels’ post-match report:

“We started the day short starters Rachel Taylor, Ashley Woodruff (SATs). The line-up for the first round of pool play saw one senior, four juniors, two sophomores and a freshman.

“We dropped two to Sheffield early 6-11, 9-11, then changed the line-up starting Brianna Bell (freshman JV, middle hitter) in the right side blocking position. Becca Lathrop had to fill the middle hitter position left vacant by Taylor. Jena Young, Amber Naylor and Rikki Rennells played their regular strong side positions and filled in for Woodruff. Bethy Bernardi played the back row opposite Brianna while our lone senior, Jenny Shelley, directed from the court. They gelled much better and we went on to defeat Rocky Grove, 11-5 and 11-4, then faced Oil City for the last match up of Round 1 and defeated them 11-2 and 12-10 (after trailing 10-6). Becca Lathrop was offensively and defensively sound. Roys, Bell, Young and Shelley added to the front row defense, blocking very well.

“The second round of pool play seeded the top four teams against one another. We had edged Youngsville on points for the fourth position in the top seeded pool. At this point we were playing with more confidence but were anxiously awaiting the arrival of Taylor and Woodruff. We came right out and split with Sheffield after having lost two to them earlier. ECC defeated us pretty easily 11-4, 11-8. Just as we finished against ECC our seniors arrived in the gym. We had nearly an hour wait before meeting Cranberry for our last match of the second round. To say the least, they were speechless as Ashley and Rachel joined the warm-up hitting drill. Their speed and strength served to pump up the entire team and everyone was swinging impressively. We dropped Cranberry 11-4 and then had a rotation of poor service receive, dug a hole and lost the second game 6-11.

“After another long break before the playoff seeds were posted, we faced Brockway, one game to 21. The team played very strong, passing well and hitting aggressively (21-8). Our next match was a rematch with ECC who had just defeated NTL rival Oswayo Valley. We won that match, 15-8, 11-15 (again service receive was our nemesis) and finished with a 15-11 score. Cranberry had defeated Eisenhower and had been waiting on the other court while we finished.

“The format now was best two out of three, first two to 25, third game to 15. We came out slow and trailed as much as 13-8 before slowly gaining momentum. We finally gained the lead when we arrived at 20. Our blockers made adjustments and our back row slid line on their outsides and hard cross court on their middles and brought up everything. Final of the first game, 25-23. We definitely had the momentum at this point. At 20-9 in the second game it was apparent that the Gators were going to earn the trophy. The final score, 25-16.

“Jenny Shelley was solid all day. She set well, making effective decisions, was aggressive on offense and was defensively sound. Becca Lathrop was a key player and our ‘go to’ hitter throughout pool play. Jena Young also stepped up her game swinging effectively and moving well on defense. Brooke Roys adjusted well to her blocking assignment. She forced the opponents to go around her helping our defense immensely. Rachel Taylor and Ashley Woodruff both immediately made their presence felt in the playoffs combining for 27 kills and even more importantly raised the level of intensity of the entire team.

“Other than one lull in service receive, the girls played consistently throughout the playoffs for 6 games straight. Service accuracy was impressive at 97/105. It was definitely our best all-around play of the season thus far.”

The Gators (11-0, 8-0 going into Tuesday’s match at Austin) return to their home court on Thursday to host Otto-Eldred, then hit the road twice next week for matches against Smethport and Cameron County.