PORT ALLEGANY HIGH SCHOOL STANDOUT NAMED GATORADE® PENNSYLVANIA FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Port Allegany High School quarterback Matt Bodamer, seen here after the Gators’ District 9 championship win last Saturday afternoon, has been named the 2012-13 Gatorade Pennsylvania Football Player of the Year.
(Photo credit: Pam Fischer)

(press release)

CHICAGO (November 29, 2012) — In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Matt Bodamer of Port Allegany High School as its 2012-13 Gatorade Pennsylvania Football Player of the Year. Bodamer is the first Gatorade Pennsylvania Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Port Allegany High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Bodamer as Pennsylvania’s best high school football player.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award announced in December, Bodamer joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Wes Welker (1999-00, Heritage Hall HS, Okla.), Terrell Suggs (1999-00, Hamilton HS, Ariz.), Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Fla.) and Jerome Bettis (1989-90, Mackenzie HS, Mich.).

The 6-foot, 180-pound senior quarterback led the Gators to a 12-0 record this season entering the Class A state playoffs, scheduled to begin November 30. A returning Class A First Team All-State selection as named by Pennsylvania Football News, Bodamer has completed 194-of-267 passes (73 percent) for 3,522 yards and 49 touchdowns against just five interceptions through 12 games. He has rushed for 726 yards and 13 touchdowns on 105 carries. Also a defensive back, Bodamer recorded 22 tackles and four interceptions for a defense that surrendered an average of 10.3 points through 12 games. He will conclude his career as the state record-holder for passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offensive touchdowns.

Bodamer uncorks one of his PIAA-best 134 touchdown passes. He also holds the state record for passing yardage, and recently became the first quarterback in PIAA history to throw for 10,000 yards.
(Photo credit: Pat Crants)

Bodamer has maintained a 3.91 GPA in the classroom and served on his school’s student council and as his class secretary. A member of the French and varsity clubs as well as the National Honor Society, he has volunteered locally as a youth football instructor, on behalf of a library auction and as part of multiple peer leadership and elementary student mentorship programs.

“There are two main characteristics that distinguish Matt from other athletes,” said Port Allegany head coach Michael Bodamer. “The first is his willingness to make himself better. Over his four years of varsity football, Matt has arrived at the school at 6:30 in the morning for weightlifting and quarterback training sessions. The second characteristic is his desire to make his team better. He is willing to work with any team member at any time. Matt has received many accolades over the years, but he always gives the credit to his team.”

Bodamer remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Bodamer joins recent Gatorade Pennsylvania Football Players of the Year Noah Spence (2011-12, Bishop McDevitt High School), Brendan Nosovitch (2010-11, Allentown Central Catholic High School), Kyle Smith (2009-10, Lancaster Catholic), Zach Barket (2008-09, Schuylkill Haven Area High School) and Brendan Beal (2007-08, Liberty) among the state’s list of former award winners.

To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com.

PIAA Class A Quarterfinal: Sharpsville vs. Port Allegany

SHARPSVILLE BLUE DEVILS (11-1)

PORT ALLEGANY GATORS (12-0)

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2012
BRADFORD, PENNSYLVANIA
7:00 PM ET
WHKS 94.9 FM – Red Zone Media

HISTORY

SERIES RECORD: Blue Devils lead, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: December 2, 2011 – Blue Devils 35, Gators 33

Sharpsville roster/statistics
Port expanded team stats

(Sharpsville stats compiled from box scores at The Sharon Herald. Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)

District 9 Championship Game: Gators freeze out Bobcats

TWICE AS NICE: After repeating as District 9 Class A champs, the Gators strike a pose at snowy Parkway Field.
(Photo: Pam Fischer)

CLARION BOBCATS (12-1)

8

PORT ALLEGANY GATORS (12-0)

47

Lori Chase
Nov. 29, 2012

A fresh carpet of snow greeted visitors to Bradford’s Parkway Field on Saturday morning. A pretty backdrop for a Christmas-card picture, perhaps, but how would it affect Port Allegany’s precision passing attack in their District 9 Class A football championship game against Clarion?

It didn’t take long to answer that question. Ten seconds on the scoreboard clock, to be exact, or the amount of time it took for Matt Bodamer to loft a pass deep downfield to Nick Conway for a 68-yard touchdown on the first play of the game.

“When it happens on the first play, the way our team goes, you kind of know it’s going to be a good day. Once we get the momentum, it’s hard to get it back from us,” the Port quarterback said.

“Good day” may have been an understatement. Combining their high-powered offense with a dose of stout defense – as they’ve done all season – the Gators buried the previously unbeaten Bobcats, 47-8, to claim their second consecutive D-9 crown.

“We decided right from the get-go we were going to take a shot the very first play, and Nick just happened to get behind the kid and Matt made a nice pass,” coach Mike Bodamer said. “With Nick’s speed, no one’s going to catch him. Definitely lucky, but we were going to take that shot and it worked out for us.”

And as the Port mentor noted, the seemingly adverse conditions may have played a factor … but not the one he’d feared when he heard the weather forecast.

“Actually, I think it kind of helped, because once it gets packed down the kids could actually get some traction on the snow,” he said. “Last week on the carpet (against Elk County Catholic) they were kind of slipping and sliding, but the snow being packed down gave them a little better footing, I think.

“And our receivers know where they have to go, so it’s kind of a disadvantage to the defensive back because they’re not sure where we’re going. Nick and Tyce just took off on their routes, and we were lucky to hit a couple.”

Conway was especially unstoppable, hauling in seven passes for a championship-game record 203 yards and three touchdowns.

“Like we’ve said all year, if it’s not Tyce – Tyce had 205 last week – so this week it’s Conway’s turn,” coach Bodamer said. “We just look for the mismatch. Wherever it is, that’s where we go to and the kids know what they’re supposed to do, which makes it actually pretty easy.”

While the Gator offense was frolicking in the wintry wonderland, Clarion’s celebrated ground game was spinning its wheels with a little help from the Port defense. The Bobcats, who came into the title tilt averaging 253.7 rushing yards and 42.3 points per game, managed just 98 total yards – 13 on the ground – and three first downs before halftime as the Gators built a 33-0 lead.

ALL-WHEEL DRIVE: Trent Neal plows through the Clarion defense on a second-quarter carry.
(Photo: Pam Fischer)

“Our defense came out with a game plan, we knew what we had to do and we just went out and executed,” linebacker Alex Gular said. “The coaches did a good job scouting them, getting us ready for it, and we knew almost all their formations and what they ran out of them. We had a few slipups; we bent but we didn’t really break.

“Our defense – how do I say it? We kind of all feed off of each other. If one time I make a play, the next time, our other two linebackers are challenging each other to see who’s going to make the next one. We’re 11 guys out there playing as one.”

Victor Bandish led the charge into the Bobcats’ backfield, registering a game-high 11 stops, including two of the Gators’ five tackles for loss.

“We made a great statement, showing them that we actually can play defense and that we’re underrated. We showed them that we play pass pretty well, we play run pretty well,” Bandish said.

They were at their best when they had to be. Late in the first quarter, after Matt Bodamer had capped off a 90-yard drive with a short touchdown run to give the Gators a 14-0 lead, Clarion receiver Cody Hearst snuck past the defense for a 27-yard catch from quarterback John Katis to set the Bobcats up at the Port 30. From there, though, the drive skidded to a stop as Rex Windsor pressured Katis into back-to-back incompletions before Conway stopped Hearst just short of the marker on fourth down.

A quick Port three-and-out and a short punt set Clarion up right back inside the 25-yard line, but once again the Gators held firm, with Bandish stuffing Camron Kirkland in the backfield on fourth-and-5 for a second straight turnover on downs.

“I think it was huge,” Clarion coach Larry Wiser said of Port’s defensive stand. “They get up 14-0 there, and I thought we got kind of out of our game plan, or at least thinking we were out of it. We came back out and settled down a little bit in the second half, but they still made some great plays on us.”

The stop fired up the Gator offense, which put together another long scoring drive to go up 21-0 early in the second quarter.

“We knew they got a big play, but we’ve been in that situation a couple of times, like last week,” Windsor said. “After we stopped them, you get really pumped and you feel really good about it, and then you go down and score again. It feels nice.”

The avalanche continued, with Brandon Raymo and Nick Budd dumping Division 1 recruit T.J. Armstrong for a loss on first down and Gular leaping to bat away an attempted screen pass on Clarion’s next series, and Bodamer followed by hitting a wide-open Conway in stride for a 48-yard touchdown.

OPEN ROAD TO THE END ZONE: Leaving a bevy of Bobcats in his wake, Tyler Shaffer sprints down the shoveled-out sideline for a Gator touchdown.
(Photo: Pam Fischer)


Then, if the weather and the snowballing score weren’t enough to make the Bobcats miserable, there was a lightning strike. After a 28-yard Tyler Shaffer punt return put the Gators back in Clarion territory, the junior running back took a pitch from Bodamer, headed for the sideline, picked up some blocks downfield, and sprinted down the shoveled-out sideline for a 48-yard touchdown run.

“That’s just the way he is – get to the outside and just go,” Mike Bodamer said.

Clarion would connect on one more big play before the half, with Katis hitting Ian Corbett for a 53-yard pass, but Conway stopped the threat with an interception to send the Gators inside to thaw out with a 33-0 lead.

If there were still any questions left about the Port defense, they were emphatically answered early in the third quarter, when Gular and Bandish teamed up to separate Armstrong from the ball and Bodamer scooped up the fumble for a 30-yard score to invoke the mercy rule at 40-0.

“We definitely wanted that mercy rule to get that time off in the second half,” Mike Bodamer said, smiling. “Matt doesn’t make a lot of tackles, but he definitely makes some big plays. I think that’s his fourth or fifth defensive touchdown this year. He steps up to the plate when he needs to.”

DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW: No sleigh necessary for Nick Conway, as the Gator receiver sprints to the end zone for his third long touchdown catch of the afternoon.
(Photo: Pam Fischer)

The Gators would tack on one more Bodamer-to-Conway touchdown early in the fourth quarter before starting to send in the reserves, and Clarion avoided the shutout with a 33-yard touchdown run by Kirkland midway through the final period.

So while the Bobcats finish the season at 12-1, the Gators (12-0) move on to face District 10 champ Sharpsville in a rematch of last year’s PIAA quarterfinal, where the Blue Devils came back from a 26-6 halftime deficit to claim a 35-33 victory. Sharpsville (11-1) still has playmakers Ross Llewellyn (134 carries-914 yards, 9 TDs), Derrick Odem (137-806, 11 TDs), and Joey Pagliaroli (77-547, 13 TDs) lining up in their Wing-T backfield behind quarterback Bryan Stafford (71-119, 1105 yards, 9 TDs, 5 INTs), and Big 22 All-Star Tyler Luchey (44 catches-758 yards, 8 TDs) split out wide.

“Sharpsville’s a good team,” Mike Bodamer said. “It’s a rematch from last year; we played well the first half down there, then kind of fell apart in the third quarter. It’ll be a good game.”

The game is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday night, again at Parkway Field in Bradford.

RECORDKEEPING: Port is now the highest-scoring team in District 9 history, amassing 629 points to move past the previous standard of 621 set by Brockway in a 13-game season in 2010. Only Aliquippa, which has played one more game, has tallied more points (658) than the Gators, whose 52.4 average leads the state … Conway’s first touchdown catch was his 20th of the season, breaking a tie with Wes Dahlem (Clearfield, 1994) and Brad Beggs (Clarion-Limestone, 2003) for the D-9 record. He finished the game with 22 … With three more touchdown passes, Bodamer equaled the 49 he threw last year to tie Clearfield’s Chad Kroell (1994) for the district mark. Christian Brumbaugh (South Fayette, 2010) holds the state record with 52.

At Bradford, Nov. 24:

Score by quarters:
Clarion Bobcats 0 0 0 8 8
Port Allegany Gators 14 19 7 7 47

First Quarter
PA – Nick Conway 68 pass from Matt Bodamer (1 play, 68 yards, 0:14), Scott Brookens kick, 11:46
PA – Bodamer 5 run (12 plays, 90 yards, 2:51), Brookens kick, 5:26

Second Quarter
PA – Bodamer 1 run (9 plays, 79 yards, 3:16), Brookens kick, 9:33
PA – Conway 49 pass from Bodamer (1 play, 49 yards, 0:08), kick blocked, 8:21
PA – Tyler Shaffer 48 run (3 plays, 38 yards, 1:40), pass failed, 4:38

Third Quarter
PA – Bodamer 30 fumble return, Brookens kick, 7:53
(running clock)

Fourth Quarter
PA – Conway 54 pass from Bodamer (5 plays, 75 yards, 2:26), Brookens kick, 9:45
C – Camron Kirkland 33 run (6 plays, 65 yards, 3:22), Damien Slike run, 6:23

Team Statistics: C PA
First downs 8 18
Total Yards 216 413
Rushes-Yards 35-106 29-151
Passing Yards 110 262
Comp-Att-Int 5-18-2 12-19-2
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-0
Punts-Avg. 5-32.4 3-25.0
Penalties-Yards 6-50 2-15
Total Plays 53 48
Time of Possession 28:10 19:50

Individual statistics:

Rushing: Clarion – Kirkland 6-46, Armstrong 8-18, Allen 2-16, Slike 9-14, I. Corbett 8-11, Strauser 1-5, team 1-(-4). Port Allegany – Shaffer 8-106, Bodamer 10-53, Neal 6-9, Gaines 1-4, Seefeldt 2-(-10), team 2-(-11).

Passing: Clarion – Katis 5-17-2-110, Troese 0-1-0-0. Port Allegany – Bodamer 12-18-2-262, Seefeldt 0-1-0-0.

Receiving: Clarion – I. Corbett 2-55, Hearst 2-32, Kirkland 1-23. Port Allegany – Conway 7-203, Ty. Miller 2-34, Bova 2-29, Shaffer 1-(-4).

(Statistics by D9Sports.com. Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)

SHOVEL-READY: With the clock ticking toward the Gators’ second straight D9 championship, is Alex Gular planning a snowy substitute for the traditional Gatorade shower?
(Photo: Pam Fischer)

D-9 semifinals: Gators run past ECC

ELK CO. CATHOLIC CRUSADERS (8-3)

7

PORT ALLEGANY GATORS (11-0)

48

Lori Chase
Nov. 21, 2012

The game was shaping up just the way Elk County Catholic wanted it to: Run the ball right at the Port Allegany defense, mix in a few passes, eat away at the clock, follow the same recipe the Crusaders used during the 2011 regular season when they were the last team from District 9 to beat the Gators.

This time, though, the defending district champs wrote a different ending to the script. Despite what Port head coach Mike Bodamer called “probably the worst half we’ve played,” his squad came up big when it had to, then pulled away in the second half to roll to a 48-7 win in Friday night’s D-9 Class A semifinal game at Bradford.

“I thought in the first half we did a good job on them,” ECC coach Travis Skrzypek said. “Tried to bring some pressure, make (Matt) Bodamer scramble. But they’re a very good football team and they made the plays. He was able to bring it down and really extend their drives on us when we had him pressured there.”

Bodamer completed 15 of 23 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns – becoming the first quarterback in Pennsylvania prep history to throw for 10,000 career yards – and added another 134 on 15 carries, although his coach still noticed some room for improvement.

“Probably not his best game. He was a little antsy,” Mike Bodamer said. “A lot of times we were trying to run their pressure upfield, and he’d actually escape the pocket right into it. But he’s got enough speed and athletic ability, he can get away from most of those things. Cold night, he had a little trouble throwing the ball, but he still made plays with his feet …

“He made some passes, that one he threw short to (Nick) Conway, he never does that stuff. I think his head just wasn’t quite as much into it as it usually is, but I’ll take him at 90 percent any day.”

Port caught an early break when a low snap forced punter Hank Cappiello to try to run for the first down, with Trey Miller stopping him behind the line of scrimmage to set the Gators up at midfield. From there, it didn’t take long for the highest-scoring offense in the state to find the end zone, as Tyler Shaffer capped off the short drive with a sweep around the right side from 17 yards out.

Undeterred, the Crusaders went back to work, moving steadily down the field and burning up most of the first quarter to push inside the Port 10. But on fourth-and-1 from the 6, Victor Bandish broke through to hit 1,000-yard rusher Brock McCullough in the backfield, and Alex Gular and Nick Budd combined to wrap him up for a loss.

Taking over deep in its own territory, the Gator offense flashed its quick-strike capability, with Tyce Miller ripping the ball away from an ECC defensive back, then breaking a tackle and sprinting to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown catch. The Bodamer-to-Miller connection dialed long distance again after an ECC three-and-out, as District 9’s career receiving leader hauled in a pass near the first-down marker at midfield, cut back to his left, and picked up a block from running mate Conway on a 59-yard scoring jaunt. Miller finished the game with 206 yards on eight receptions, completing his collection of D-9 career records by passing Brockway’s Mike Vervoort (161 catches) with 163.

“Tyce is just an athlete. That first one, he just outjumped the kid and took it. The second one, he made some really nice runs across the field. Tyce has been doing it for three years, so it doesn’t amaze me now. It’s just like, ‘When’s it going to happen,’” coach Bodamer said. “Nick is very similar to Trevor Neal last year; he blocks very well downfield. Mr. Zitnik practices that every day – once someone catches it, the other guys gotta find somebody and block them. And they do it.”

Trailing 21-0, the Crusaders hit the scoreboard on quarterback Mitchell Vallone’s 37-yard touchdown scamper midway through the second quarter, and seemed poised to climb right back into the game when a big hit separated Tyce Miller from the ball on the ensuing kickoff with ECC’s Dan Singer recovering at the 35-yard line.

But Port’s defense stood tall when it had to, with Johnny Sena tackling Vallone just short of the sticks on fourth down, and a Tyce Miller interception stopped another Crusader foray inside the Gator 30 just before halftime.

“We knew coming in points would be at a premium for us, that they’d played defense well all year,” Skrzypek said. “That’s big when they get the stop there (inside the 10), and then we got the fumble and couldn’t punch it in. We had to make those plays to win this football game, and we didn’t tonight.”

Even though the Gators piled up 329 total yards and a 21-7 lead going into halftime despite owning the ball for just 7:18, Mike Bodamer wasn’t pleased.

“I still think they were handling us,” he said. “That first half, I thought their offense was beating our defense pretty good. Those couple of stops, we stepped up to the plate, but I still think they were pushing us around wherever they wanted to … We changed some things, a little bit more pressure, and the kids stopped them a little bit better in the second half. But definitely not our best defensive performance.”

One of those changes was to give ECC a dose of its own medicine, as the Gators turned to their own ground game. Following a long catch-and-run by Trey Miller – the only pass completion of the drive – Trent Neal burst into the end zone from the 7. The “Thunder and Lightning” tandem stormed through the Crusader defense again at the end of the third quarter, with Neal rumbling for 33 more yards before Shaffer flashed the final 14 for his second touchdown of the night just after the teams switched ends.

“The second half, Trent Neal really gave us a spark with his running. That really brought the team alive,” coach Bodamer said.

Meanwhile, the defense was cranking up the heat on the Crusaders. After moving the ball well in the first half, ECC managed just three first downs and 57 yards after the break, never making it past the Port 44-yard line.

And if anyone on the Elk County side of the field still envisioned a miraculous comeback, those hopes were dashed when defensive end Rex Windsor drilled Vallone on a fourth-and-14 prayer, with Shaffer taking the ensuing interception 66 yards to the house and Sam Kysor adding his sixth extra point in as many tries to invoke the mercy rule for the 10th time in 11 games.

“Speed kills,” coach Bodamer said of the junior running back/cornerback, who finished off his four-score night with a late rushing touchdown. “He just hits that edge, and … We limited him to one move, so you get one move and then you gotta go, and he’s responded to that pretty well. He made some nice cuts, and that interception was probably the backbreaker. He caught it, no one’s going to catch him.”

Shaffer (10 carries-93 yards) and Neal (8-58) combined with Bodamer for the majority of Port’s season-high 274 rushing yards, while McCullough paced ECC’s ground attack – which came into the game averaging more than 212 yards per game, but managed just 127 against the Gators – with 14 carries for 44 yards.

So while the Crusaders end their season at 8-3, Port (11-0) will return to Bradford on Saturday (1 p.m., WHKS-FM, redzonemedia.com) to face fellow unbeaten Clarion in a rematch of last year’s D-9 final, won by the Gators in a 35-34 thriller. The Bobcats (12-0) rallied from a 14-7 second-quarter deficit to pull away from Brockway, 35-14, in their semifinal at DuBois on Saturday evening.

The Clarion offense relies heavily on its ground game, with Damien Slike (100 carries-833 yards, 10 TDs), T.J. Armstrong (143-820, 14 TDs), Camron Kirkland (77-733, 7 TDs), and Ian Corbett (57-402, 6 TDs) headlining the attack. Stacking the box against the run may not be the best answer, though, with junior quarterback John Katis completing 56.3 percent of his passes (80-for-142) for a Bobcat single-season record 1,528 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Cody Hearst (30 catches-690 yards, 9 TDs) and Kirkland (29-543, 5 TDs) are his main targets, with Slike (9-114, 4 TDs) and Armstrong (5-96, 3 TDs) also able to swing out of the backfield, though the latter may still be limited due to an injury which restricted him to playing defense against Brockway.

Of course, the Gators have put up a few impressive numbers of their own. After becoming just the second quarterback in Pennsy history to post two 3,000-yard seasons, Bodamer comfortably leads the state rankings with 3,257 yards and 46 touchdowns, the majority of that mileage going to Tyce Miller (65-1,276, 17 TDs), Conway (54-1,044, 19 TDs), and tight end Rick Bova (29-385, 6 TDs). Bodamer is also the team’s leading rusher with 95 carries for 673 yards and 11 TDs, with Neal (100-638, 7 TDs) getting the tough yards inside and Shaffer (27-374, 8 TDs) providing an outside burst at the end of the season.

 

At Bradford, Nov. 16:

ECC – 0 7 0 0 – 7

PA – 7 14 7 20 – 48

 

First Quarter

PA – Shaffer 17 run (5 plays, 50 yards, 1:21), Kysor kick, 8:33

 

Second Quarter

PA – Ty. Miller 65 pass from Bodamer (4 plays, 93 yards, 0:59), Kysor kick, 11:40

PA – Ty. Miller 59 pass from Bodamer (8 plays, 89 yards, 2:35), Kysor kick, 7:25

ECC – Vallone 37 run (6 plays, 61 yards, 1:27), Seelye kick, 5:58

 

Third Quarter

PA – Neal 7 run (7 plays, 79 yards, 1:52), Kysor kick, 10:08

 

Fourth Quarter

PA – Shaffer 14 run (8 plays, 79 yards, 3:10), Kysor kick, 11:52

PA – Shaffer 66 interception return, Kysor kick, 9:43

(running clock)

PA – Shaffer 7 run (9 plays, 44 yards, 6:20), run failed, 0:36

 

ECC PA

First downs 11 25

Total offense 201 591

Rushes-yds 35-127 36-274

Passing yds 74 317

Comp-Att-Int 7-18-2 15-23-0

Punts-avg. 4-32.5 1-16.0

Fumbles-lost 2-0 3-1

Penalties-yds 6-70 7-74

Total plays 53 59

Time of Poss. 26:54 21:06

 

Individual statistics:

Rushing: ECC – McCullough 14-44, Cappiello 14-42, Vallone 6-41, McLaughlin 1-0. Port Allegany – Bodamer 15-134, Shaffer 10-93, Neal 8-58, Seefeldt 2-(-2).

Passing: ECC – Vallone 7-18-2-74. Port Allegany – Bodamer 15-23-0-317.

Receiving: ECC – McLaughlin 3-31, McCullough 1-27, Childs 1-11, Housler 1-5, Cappiello 1-0. Port Allegany – Ty. Miller 8-206, Tr. Miller 2-69, Conway 3-15, Neal 1-14, Shaffer 1-13.

Gator football takes top honors at Olean Times Herald Big 30 Testimonial

AWARD NIGHT: Front row, from left: Mike Bodamer (Coach of the Year), Tyce Miller, Alex Gular, Matt Bodamer (Player of the Year). Back row: Nick Conway, Nick Budd (Unsung Lineman Award). All five players were named to the Olean Times Herald Big 30 All-Star Team, Bodamer, Budd, and Miller for the second consecutive year. Miller is holding the plaque awarded to the top team in the Times Herald’s large-school poll.
(Photo: Pam Fischer)

A strong Port Allegany presence gave the 65th annual Olean Times Herald Big 30 Testimonial a distinct Gator flair, with a quintet of All-Star players, family members, and coaches making the trip north to the Knights of Columbus banquet hall in Olean last Wednesday night.

Considering how much hardware they brought back with them, maybe they should’ve taken the equipment truck, too.

After the unbeaten Gators collected the plaque for topping the OTH ‘s large-school poll for the second consecutive season and Nick Budd was named the E.B. Fitzpatrick Memorial Unsung Lineman of the Year, it was time for the evening’s two biggest awards.

And to almost no one’s surprise, it was a night to remember for the father-son duo of Matt and Mike Bodamer, with the record-shattering Gator quarterback becoming just the second two-time Gary Sage Memorial Big 30 Player of the Year while the elder Bodamer accepted the plaque as the Alfred J. Bunnell/Rod Rohl Memorial Coach of the Year.

“I don’t know how much I really deserve this. There’s a lot of great coaches out there,” Mike Bodamer said after outpolling a pair of previous winners, Randolph’s Pat Slater and Ellicotville’s Tim Bergan, for the award. “To me, I’ve been preaching to my team the whole season that it is a team effort, and with our situation this year that is definitely true. If you have 17 seniors and you have 10 starting on both sides of the ball, fellow coaches out there know that makes it awful easy.

“I had extremely good senior leadership this year, and the coaching staff did an outstanding job. Jason Luther is in charge of the offense; all those numbers that we’ve been putting up, that’s because of the hard work he’s been doing. Coach (Bob) Rankin is with me here tonight; he works with the linebackers and running backs. Coach (Nate) Zitnik has done a wonderful job with our receivers over the last few years. Mr. Bienkowski’s worked with the linemen. So it’s definitely a team effort. I should take a chainsaw and cut the plaque up and hand it out, but I think I’ll just take a picture and give them a picture of it.

“I think our offense has done an outstanding job, and our defense has played a lot better this year. If we could just find a quarterback who could throw the ball, maybe we could do a little better,” he deadpanned.

As the room erupted in laughter, he held the plaque up in the direction of his players and concluded his remarks, “Guys, this is for you. Congratulations.”

In contrast to the three-man race to pick the top coach, there was no real debate for Player of the Year honors, with the younger Bodamer the consensus choice after breaking the Pennsylvania records for career passing yardage and touchdowns. He joins the late Tim Myers, the Johnsonburg quarterback who won in 1986 and 1987 before moving on to play at Clarion University, as the lone back-to-back winners of the award.

“It’s pretty cool to have my name up there,” Matt Bodamer said, “but having a team like I did last year and I have this year sure helps a lot. I would never take all the credit – I definitely don’t deserve all the credit – but it’s a pretty cool thing seeing all the other names up there.”

And while he was happy to have Budd, Nick Conway, Alex Gular, and Tyce Miller join him on the Big 30 All-Star Team, he wouldn’t have minded seeing a few other familiar faces on there, too.

“In my opinion we always deserve more, because there are more kids on our team that are just outstanding,” he said. “Alex on defense definitely deserved it, Nick and Tyce, Nick Budd … I mean, Tyce and Nick, I wish there was a wide receiver award for them, because having those two on the outside is the best threat you can have.”

Gular was one of five nominees for the Lou Foy Defensive Player of the Year Award, which went to Randolph’s Cody Oldro.

“Alex has been a tremendous defensive player for us,” Mike Bodamer said. “If you have Alex in there just tearing up everybody, you can just kind of sit back and watch him play. Alex has really been the force in that defense.”

Allegany-Limestone won the Leon Abbott Memorial Sportsmanship Award, while Randolph claimed the top spot in the final Times Herald small-school poll.

Gator spikers fall in state playoff opener

Maybe it was when Port Allegany sophomore Brooke Roys stuffed Greensburg Central Catholic star Shannon Hurley at the net, then hammered home a kill of her own on the next volley. Or maybe it was when the Gators’ own big hitter, Rachel Taylor, followed a huge spike with back-to-back tip-ins to give Port a two-point lead late in the third game.

Pick your own highlight, but the District 7 (WPIAL) champion and No. 2-ranked Class A team in the state found itself in a battle with the District 9 runners-up.

“You know something’s happening,” Port coach Sharon Daniels said, “when the teams warming up for the next match stop to come over and watch.”

A late surge gave the Centurions (19-1) the win in that game and a 25-17, 25-18, 25-22 straight-set victory in Tuesday night’s PIAA playoff opener at North Allegheny High School, but the Gators (20-4) didn’t make it easy for them.

“This time of year, you have to think that everybody’s going to give you a match. That’s what we have to anticipate,” GCC coach Heather Meyer said.

Though Meyer’s squad is the one moving on, Daniels saw no cause for disappointment in the Gators’ performance.

“We matched up well on paper and we matched up as well on the court. Their D1-destined player has nothing on Rachel Taylor,” she said of Hurley, who’s already accepted a scholarship to play at Winthrop University next season. “Once we adjusted to the much quicker pace of play we were in all three sets. I thought for sure we had the third match. The passers were effectively getting the ball to Jenny (Shelley), who got the ball exactly where we needed it. She and Rachel combined for five or six kills in a row and we had them down 20-18.”

Shelley led the Gators with 8 service points (1 ace) and added 21 assists and 5 kills, while Taylor matched Hurley swing-for-swing – the sound of their booming spikes echoing throughout the North Allegheny gym – to finish with 16 kills, 5 service points (2 aces) and 2 blocks.

While the two four-year starters paced Port’s offense, the rest of the roster showed no sign of jitters in their first trip to the PIAA playoffs, with Daniels mentioning everyone in her post-match recap.

“Brooke Roys (4 kills, 2 blocks) stepped up big tonight,” she said. “Becca Lathrop (6 kills, 1 block) made her presence known in the third game with a hit rivaling Rachel’s. Ashley Woodruff, as she has all season, swung aggressively, causing mistakes that then set up our offense for the kill. Jena Young (6 points, 1 ace) moved to every ball and swung aggressively. Amber Naylor passed off the serve so well tonight. She played a tough backrow.

“Taylor Causer (6 points, 2 aces) and Bethy Bernardi (5 points, 1 ace) combined for 11 service points, the only errors coming with aggressive placement. They served smart and caused a number of free balls on which we capitalized. Rikki Rennels saw time on strong side and had a nice kill in the second set. Hannah Ernst stepped in three positions and passed well off the serve. Her defense improved with each set.”

Hurley led GCC with 17 kills, 8 points (1 ace) and a block, with fellow six-footers Leah Bisignani (7 kills, 1 block) and Ashley Scalise (6 kills) also adding to the offense and Rachel Moore (9 points, 4 aces) and Emma Dickson (9 points, 2 aces) serving well.

The Centurions move on to face another WPIAL Catholic school, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, in the second round after the Chargers dispatched D-6 champ Penns Manor 25-8, 25-18, 25-18. Clarion also won its PIAA opener, 25-18, 25-19, 25-21, over Bishop Canevin to advance to a matchup against D-10’s Maplewood in a battle of district champions.

While the Gators finish the year at 20-4, Daniels sees both plenty of reasons to be proud of their 2012 campaign and potential for more success in the seasons ahead.

“We are going to sorely miss our three seniors,” she said, “but it was exciting to see five juniors and three sophomores with substantial playing time in a state playoff match!”

***

Daniels also announced the Gators’ representatives on the North Tier League All-Star teams, with league Most Valuable Player Jenny Shelley, Rachel Taylor (last year’s MVP) and Becca Lathrop all being named to the first team and Ashley Woodruff and Brooke Roys earning second-team honors. Daniels was named Coach of the Year following Port’s second straight 14-0 run through the league.

Twice as nice: Gators repeat as AML champs

BACK-TO-BACK: A happy congregation of Gators poses with the Allegheny Mountain League championship plaque they’ll be hanging on to for another year, following Port Allegany’s 54-7 win over Brockway.
(Photo credit: Pam Fischer)

BROCKWAY ROVERS (8-2)

7

PORT ALLEGANY GATORS (10-0)

54

Lori Chase
Nov. 8, 2012

The means may have been different, but Saturday’s Allegheny Mountain League championship-game rematch at Port Allegany ended with the same result as last week’s regular-season finale:

Gators by a knockout.

Visiting the end zone multiple times via both land and air – and adding a couple more on defense – Port (10-0) rolled to a 54-7 victory over Brockway (8-2), successfully defending the AML crown for the first time since the league instituted the two-division format and championship game in 1986.

“The kids just came out to play today,” coach Mike Bodamer said. “I was extremely worried this week about the field conditions – last year we played in the mud and the cold and we didn’t do so well – but the kids came out and responded. The field definitely wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, so that was a good benefit for us, but they just did their job.”

The game began as all 10 have this season, with the Gators hitting paydirt on their opening drive. The Rovers gambled and failed on the opening kickoff, as lineman Nate Lowery recovered the onsides attempt at the Port 47. A long touchdown run by Matt Bodamer was called back on offsetting penalties, but two plays later, the Gator quarterback spotted Nick Conway a step behind the defense for a 42-yard score, the first of three six-point connections between the two on the afternoon.

A STEP AHEAD: Nick Conway stretches the ball across the goal line for the first of his three touchdown catches in Saturday’s AML Championship Game win.
(Photo credit: Pam Fischer)

The teams traded possessions, with Brockway reaching the 50 before being forced to punt and Port turning it over on downs. The Rovers were on the move again on their next drive, nearing midfield, when Bodamer flipped the momentum by ripping the ball away from Kyle Titler and racing 45 yards for a touchdown to give the Gators a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

“They were driving right down the field. I don’t know how Matt did it – he just kind of came up and took it, and I saw him running,” coach Bodamer said. “That was just a good heads-up play by Matt to do that.”

Brockway responded, forcing a rare punt the next time the Gators had the ball and putting together an 83-yard march to get on the scoreboard. Rover quarterback Alec Shaffer-Doane was 3-for-3 on the drive, hitting Titler for the diving touchdown to bring the visitors back within seven, and perhaps creating a little doubt in the air along with a few flurries as the Port offense took the field.

Neither snow or doubt lasted long. It took the Gators exactly 56 seconds of gametime to reply, with Conway breaking into the clear and waving to get Bodamer’s attention before hauling in a 49-yard toss to regain a two-score lead. The catch also pushed him over 1,000 yards for the season, joining running mate Tyce Miller in that exclusive club.

“He and Tyce are both neck-and-neck with everything; Tyce has the yardage, Nick has the touchdown catches. They just both work so well together,” coach Bodamer said. “Like I’ve said all year, they just kind of look at Matt and he knows what they’re doing, and he just throws it up to them. Big-play makers.”

Seconds later, the Port defense turned in yet another big play of its own, with Victor Bandish drilling Shaffer-Doane to force a toss that linemate Rex Windsor easily intercepted, rambling down to the Brockway 18 before the Rovers managed to drag him down. The Gators couldn’t capitalize, losing the ball on downs, but a quick three-and-out set up a 41-yard punt return by Tyler Shaffer to set up his 28-yard touchdown run.

Brockway answered with another long drive, but the defense stiffened and Shaffer-Doane’s fourth-down pass sailed out of the back of the end zone to turn the ball over at the Port 7.

But if the Rovers had any hopes of pinning the Gators deep, they were erased just two plays later as Shaffer headed toward the corner, turned on the jets, and sprinted 89 yards for his second score of the quarter to give the Gators a 34-7 halftime lead.

AFTERBURNER: Tyler Shaffer races down the Brockway sideline for the first of his two touchdown runs.
(Photo credit: Pam Fischer)

“Nick Conway made a great block to seal the outside and I just headed for the sideline, hoping nobody was going to catch me. Luckily I have one of the fastest guys in the state to block for me on the outside,” the junior running back said.

“Shaffer played big for us today, made a couple of nice runs for us,” coach Bodamer said. “I think that was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back, those runs by Shaffer. Definitely nice to see that.”

With starter Trent Neal grinding out the tough yards up the middle and Shaffer finding room to run around the end, the Gators’ tandem is giving opposing District 9 defensive coordinators something else to worry about in addition to their high-flying passing attack.

“The coaches have been calling it ‘Thunder and Lightning,’” said Shaffer, who led all rushers with 148 yards on just five carries. “I think I’ve been adapting pretty well, and the coaches are giving me the chance to do it. So I’m thankful for that, for sure. And it wouldn’t be possible without the line – we have the one of the best lines in our district, I think, and they do a great job of sealing their men and making it able for me to get around the outside.”

Port was off to the races again early in the third quarter, with Conway catching his third touchdown pass of the day and 19th of the season from Bodamer to invoke the PIAA mercy rule, but the standout senior had one more big play left in his arsenal. With the Rovers driving, playmaking linebacker Alex Gular forced a fumble, and there was no catching Conway once the District 9 hurdles champ scooped up the loose ball and sprinted down the Gator sideline for an 80-yard score.

“Alex tackles so well. He always seems to come in there and give that punch at the end. He’s been able to punch the ball out a couple of times the last few weeks,” coach Bodamer said of Gular, by far the team’s leading tackler.

Conway’s score was the first of three consecutive takeaways and five overall by the Gator D, with Matt Bodamer picking off a pass and Bandish snaring another fumble to end any last Brockway threat, and R.J. Veilleux tacked on a 1-yard touchdown run to complete the scoring as the Port starters doused their head coach with the contents of a Gatorade bucket.

“That was Johnny (Sena), he was the mastermind,” Bodamer said, chuckling. “He came up all teary-eyed, shaking my hand and thanking me, and they got me from behind. It’s just fun for the kids. They’re such a good group of kids, it’s been fun.”

FORECAST: SHOWERS — As Port Allegany offensive coordinator Jason Luther (left) and players Ricky Bova (7) and Nick Conway look on, head coach Mike Bodamer (right) reacts after the traditional celebratory Gatorade-bucket dousing courtesy of running back/linebacker Trent Neal.
(Photo credit: Pam Fischer)

But while the AML championship plaque will spend another 365 days resting safely in the Gators’ trophy case, they know they’re not done yet.

“It’s nice for the kids, it’s nice for the school, but we have bigger aspirations,” coach Bodamer said. “We just keep moving. Nice to celebrate, but we’ve got bigger things.”

NOTES: The AML crown is Port’s fourth in the championship-game era and 11th overall, adding to titles from 1953, 1954, 1962, 1967, 1968, 1978, 1980, 1986, 1988, and 2011 … Windsor recorded the Gators’ only sack, catching Shaffer-Doane for a 7-yard loss on the last play of the first quarter, while Morgan Murray and Tyler Kuhn each notched takedowns of Bodamer … Conway’s fumble recovery was his team-leading third of the season … The AML All-Star team was announced on Tuesday night, with the Gators’ Victor Bandish, Matt Bodamer, Nick Budd, Nick Conway, Alex Gular, Tyce Miller, Billy Raymo, and Rex Windsor all earning selection.

NUMBERS: The Gators’ quick-strike offense was on full display, with their four first-half scoring drives averaging just over a minute each and none lasting longer than 1:27 … After finishing 7-for-13 for 142 yards, Bodamer now has a state-leading 2,937 yards and 44 touchdown passes this season and 9,934 and 129 for his career, and also surpassed the 2,000-yard rushing milestone during the win … The tandem of Tyce Miller (57 catches-1,071 yards, 15 TDs) and Conway (51-1,028, 19 TDs) also continues to rank high on the state leaderboard.

LOOKING AHEAD: With Coudersport and Allegheny-Clarion Valley choosing not to participate in the District 9 playoffs after finishing with 3-6 records, top-seeded Port gets the weekend off, and will meet the winner of the Union-Elk County Catholic game at a neutral site on Nov. 16 or 17.

At Port Allegany, Nov. 3:

Score by quarters:
Brockway Rovers 0 7 0 0 7
Port Allegany Gators 14 20 14 6 54

First Quarter
PA – Conway 42 pass from Bodamer (4 plays, 53 yards, 1:27), Brookens kick, 10:33
PA – Bodamer 45 fumble return, Brookens kick, 4:40

Second Quarter
B – Titler 25 pass from Shaffer-Doane (8 plays, 83 yards, 2:45), Esposito kick, 10:14
PA – Conway 49 pass from Bodamer (5 plays, 63 yards, 0:59), Brookens kick, 9:15
PA – Shaffer 28 run (2 plays, 37 yards, 0:49), Brookens kick, 4:41
PA – Shaffer 89 run (2 plays, 93 yards, 0:46), kick failed, 1:41

Third Quarter
PA – Conway 20 pass from Bodamer (7 plays, 43 yards, 9:03), Ty. Miller from Bodamer, 9:03
(running clock)
PA – Conway 80 fumble return, kick blocked, 5:30

Fourth Quarter
PA – Veilleux 1 run (8 plays, 44 yards, 4:51), run failed, 1:54

Team Statistics: B PA
First downs 9 15
Total Yards 223 412
Rushes-Yards 33-103 36-237
Passing Yards 120 175
Comp-Att-Int 8-24-2 9-15-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-3 1-0
Punts-Avg.  4-28.8 2-38.5
Penalties-Yards 5-50 5-49
Total Plays 57 51
Time of Possession 25:30 22:30

Individual statistics:
Rushing:
Brockway – Melillo 16-61, Benson 6-35, Titler 2-7, Shaffer-Doane 8-1, Foradori 1-(-1). Port Allegany – Shaffer 5-148, Neal 11-48, Bodamer 12-31, Seefeldt 5-7, Ty. Miller 1-2, Veilleux 1-1, Tanner 1-0.

Passing: Brockway – Shaffer-Doane 8-22-2-120, Martini 0-2-0-0. Port Allegany – Bodamer 7-13-0-142, Seefeldt 2-2-0-33.

Receiving: Brockway – Benson 4-38, Perrin 2-30, Melillo 1-27, Titler 1-25. Port Allegany – Conway 4-113, Poorman 1-36, Ty. Miller 2-16, Tr. Miller 1-13, Gaines 1-(-3).

(Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)