PORT ALLEGANY GATORS (8-0)
CAMERON COUNTY RED RAIDERS (1-7)
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 MaxPreps.com, 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 redzonemedia.com, 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|
PA – Bodamer 15 run (7 plays, 57 yards, 1:46), Brookens kick, 7:29
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
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
|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).