COUDERSPORT FALCONS (2-4)
PORT ALLEGANY GATORS (3-3)
October 15, 2015
The Coudersport Falcons rolled into last Friday night’s football game at Port Allegany on a two-week winning streak, hoping to extend it to three in a row and take control of the Allegheny Mountain League North Division race.
The Gators had other plans.
With the offensive line paving the way for Mac Tanner’s three rushing touchdowns, Tre Garzel hitting some timely second-half throws, and the defense bottling up the Falcons in their own end of the field for most of the night, Port pounded out a 26-12 victory at “The Swamp” to stay tied for the division lead with Smethport.
“It’s always good to get a North win,” coach Justin Bienkowski said. “As I told the kids, we just accomplished Step 2, we’re 2-0 in the North. I said, ‘We’ll worry about Eldred on Tuesday. Enjoy this.’”
The Gator defense keyed on shutting down Coudy receiver Navada Waterman, who tallied both touchdowns in the Falcons’ 13-7 win over Ridgway and followed up with a 47-yard scoring catch from fellow senior Darren Keglovits in their 24-0 shutout at Otto-Eldred last week, but managed just one catch against Port.
“That’s a dangerous team. We talked about it all week,” Bienkowski said. “Credit to Navada Waterman’s speed – and they tried to isolate him, do some motions and different things to get him alone – and Keglovits is a heck of an athlete at the quarterback position. All week long, we talked about not necessarily double-teaming (Waterman), but making sure we had four eyes on him instead of two, making sure we knew where he was at.
“Fear nobody, but you’ve definitely got to respect them. A couple times when we didn’t, they beat us.”
The Falcons did hit a couple of big plays, opening the scoring in the second quarter on a 20-yard jet sweep by Zach Layag following an interception by Jared Green, and adding a 40-yard fourth-and-long Keglovits-to-Aaron Wolfinger touchdown toss in the fourth.
Except for those two short drives, though, the game belonged to Port. While the defense was allowing just two first downs and 70 yards of total offense on Coudy’s other 10 possessions (not including a kneeldown to end the first half), an interception by Dylan Baumgarner set up a 21-yard run by Tanner to tie the score midway through the second quarter. The Gators stitched together two long touchdown marches to start the second half after a Coudy three-and-out, taking a 20-6 lead early in the final stanza on runs by Baumgarner and Tanner, then burned almost another six minutes off the clock to leave the Falcons little time to mount a comeback attempt after they’d drawn back within eight points with the Wolfinger score.
“Jason (Luther) and I were talking in the first half. We wanted to just wear ’em down, wear ’em down, wear ’em down,” Bienkowski said. “Regardless of the points, we knew we could get them in the third and fourth quarter if we kept going. We came out, stuffed them on D, and then went right down the field and scored.”
Running behind the line of Bryan Stahlman, Jesse Rush, Nate Lowery, Jacy Richardson, and Ethan Budd, Tanner finished with 142 yards, tacking on his third score of the night with 2:45 remaining to salt the game away, and Baumgarner added 81 yards on three catches to go with his touchdown run and interception on defense. After an uneven first half, Garzel was on the money after the break, hitting his first five passes and 7-of-9 overall to finish 10-for-17 for the game.
Lowery led the charge on defense with three tackles for loss and a pass deflection, with Budd (1.5 TFL), TyDel Green (1.5 TFL), Stahlman (1 TFL) and Josiah Ramadhan (1 TFL) also disrupting the Falcon backfield, Jordan Seefeldt defending three passes, and Garzel snaring an interception to end Coudy’s final possession.
“Every football game is won at the line of scrimmage. I give credit to Port Allegany, they really took it to us. Late in the first half and then in the second half, they really controlled the line of scrimmage, and that’s where the game was won,” first-year Falcon coach Ben Cary said. “I try and tell our guys all the time, ‘This game is going to be won up front on the offensive and defensive lines.’ Unfortunately for us tonight, we just didn’t have what it took to get the job done up front.”
While not thrilled with some “boneheaded plays” during the first half, Bienkowski was pleased with the way his squad responded.
“Made some nice plays out there. Dylan and Jordan played some good defense in the secondary, and Tre made some good throws. A good all-around win … well, a good all-around second half. We played a pretty ugly first half, but we’ll take it,” he said. “That’s what we’ve got, a bunch of kids that will let us coach them, will take a chewing-out but will do what we tell them to do. We’re preaching family, family, family, and our guys, coaches and players, are as tight a team as I’ve ever been a part of. That has to count for something.”
The Gators (3-3, 2-0 AML North) travel to Otto-Eldred on Friday night to play the winless Terrors (0-6, 0-2). O-E has been blanked in each of its last two games, losses to Coudersport and Smethport, after losing returning Big 30 All-Star running back Seth Drummond to a knee injury against the Falcons.
There will be a familiar face on the Terror sideline, as first-year head coach Nick LaBella taught and coached in the Port Allegany school system before returning to his alma mater.
“Nick LaBella is a great friend of mine, and I’m looking forward to battling against him next week over in Eldred,” Bienkowski said.
At Port Allegany, Oct. 9:
|Score by quarters:
|Port Allegany Gators
C (11:27) – Zach Layag 20 run (3 plays, 49 yards after Jared Green INT); run failed, 6-0
PA (5:18) – Mac Tanner 21 run (1 play, 21 yards after Dylan Baumgarner INT); run failed, 6-6
PA (4:45) – Baumgarner 10 run (11 plays, 70 yards); Jordan Seefeldt pass from Tre Garzel, 6-14
PA (11:19) – Tanner 3 run (7 plays, 56 yards); pass failed, 6-20
C (9:25) – Aaron Wolfinger 40 pass from Darren Keglovits (6 plays, 37 yards); pass failed, 12-20
PA (2:45) – Tanner11 run (2 plays, 12 yards after turnover on downs); pass failed, 12-26
First Downs: Coudy 6, Port 16.
Rushes-Yds: Coudy 22-79, Port 45-178.
Passing Yds: Coudy 89, Port 123.
Comp-Att-Int: Coudy 10-23-2, Port 10-17-1.
Total Yards: Coudy 168, Port 301.
Fumbles-Lost: Coudy 0-0, Port 3-1.
Punts-Avg: Coudy 5-33.8, Port 3-32.5.
Penalties-Yds: Coudy 5-37, Port 3-25.
Total Plays: Coudy 45, Port 62.
Time of Poss.: Coudy 19:42, Port 28:03.
Rushing: Coudersport – Aaron Wolfinger 10 carries-31 yards, Zach Layag 3-29 (TD), Anderson Nicka 4-17, Jared Green 3-6, Darren Keglovits 2-(-4). Port Allegany – Mac Tanner 24-142 (3 TD), Dylan Baumgarner 5-25 (TD), Josiah Ramadhan 9-13, Jordan Seefeldt 3-3, Tre Garzel 4-(-5).
Passing: Coudersport – Keglovits 10 completions-23 attempts-2 interceptions-89 yards (TD). Port Allegany – Garzel 10-17-1-123.
Receiving: Coudersport – Wolfinger 1 catch-40 yards (TD), Green 5-21, Nicka 2-10, Derek Keglovits 1-12, Waterman 1-6. Port Allegany – Baumgarner 3-81, Seefeldt 5-38, Tanner 1-4, Jake Kallenborn 1-0.
(Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)