Raabe Classic: Rick Bova

A trio of Knights try to drag down Gator tight end Rickie Bova. (Pam Fischer / Reporter Argus)

A trio of Union Knights try to drag down Gator tight end Rickie Bova in a 2011 playoff game. (Photo: Pam Fischer)

June 6, 2013

Rickie Bova was a critical part of the prolific Port Allegany passing offense in 2011 and 2012, a big, dependable target over the middle of the field for quarterback Matt Bodamer.

Just ask any of the defensive backs who tried – and usually failed – to tackle the 6-0, 220-pound tight end one-on-one.

Bova finished his Gator career with 75 catches for 1,108 yards (14.8 average) and 10 touchdowns, most of those coming with at least one defender either going along for an unexpected ride or left on the ground in his wake. Port coach Mike Bodamer recalled one instance following Bova’s seven-catch, 100-yard night against Coudersport:

“That one time, he caught a ball over the middle and their safety hit him, I think that safety was looking for a big hit. He hit Rick and just stopped right there, and Rick just kind of looked at him,” he said with a chuckle. “Rick’s come alive. He’s a big strong kid to bring down and he’s got great hands.”

Twice named honorable mention for the Pennsylvania Football News Class A All-State team, Bova is one of eight Gators invited to play in the 40th annual Don Raabe Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic. The game is a family tradition for the Bovas, with older brothers Jarvis (1997) and Willie (2006) and sister Cora (2011) all participating in Pennsy wins. (Uncle Barry, the 1978 Olean Times Herald Big 30 Player of the Year, was unable to play in the 1979 game.)

“It will also be a chance to play with and against the best athletes in the area for a worthy cause,” Bova wrote on his Raabe Classic information sheet.

Per the Raabe release, “Rickie says his biggest thrill came beating Sharpsville in the final seconds of their playoff game and advancing to the state semi-final against the eventual state champion. Fishing and weight training are his hobbies and he is a fan of the Buffalo Bills and Russell Wilson.”

An honor roll student who also started for the Gators’ basketball and baseball teams, earning Northern Allegheny League All-Star mention in the latter this spring after leading the team with a .517 batting average and 30 RBIs, Bova plans to attend St. Bonaventure University and play rugby for the Bonnies.

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