BROCKWAY ROVERS (8-0)
PORT ALLEGANY GATORS (8-0)
PORT ALLEGANY, PENNSYLVANIA
1:30 PM EDT
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.)