AML Week 8: Port Allegany at Smethport


(4-3, 3-0 AML NORTH)


(3-4, 3-0 AML NORTH)

7:00 PM EDT


The century-old rivals meet with the Allegheny Mountain League North Division title on the line. Port can clinch a spot in the AML Championship Game with a win, while a Smethport victory would put the Hubbers in the driver’s seat for their first North crown since 2001.


SERIES RECORD: After Smethport went 10-for-10 in the 1990’s, Port is 13-2 since 2000, including an 11-game streak from 2002-12 … Reporter-Argus records of the Port-Smethport rivalry go back to 1906, with Port holding a 58-40-7 edge. The Gators lead the current series, which began in 1925 after a three-year gap, 53-38-7.

LAST MEETING: October 17, 2014 – Gators 26, Hubbers 19

Jumping out to a quick two-touchdown lead in the first quarter and forcing six turnovers – including an 85-yard Jordan Seefeldt interception return for a touchdown with less than a minute left to all but seal the game – Port never trailed in a 26-19 Senior Night win to deny Smethport a shot at the AML North title.

“(Heck) of a good night to be a Gator,” coach Justin Bienkowski said. “Some of those old-school guys over there will probably tell you, there’s no two better teams to beat than Coudersport and Smethport. So we’ll take it.”

Gator quarterback Tre Garzel threw for 133 yards and three touchdowns, with senior Chris Lashway hauling in one of those scores and finishing with 85 receiving yards and a fumble recovery on defense. For the Hubbers, Adam Shunk scored three touchdowns while quarterback Dustin Zetwick rushed for a game-high 109 yards and passed for another 190, including 108 to Justin Elder.

“It was a fistfight, that’s for sure. That’s what we expect from a rivalry game like that,” Smethport coach Jim Berlin said. “Throw the records out the window – both teams could be 0-for, or one team way up and the other one down, and that’s the kind of football game you’re going to get out of Smethport and Port. It was a pretty good one.”

LAST TIME IN SMETHPORT: October 4, 2013 – Hubbers 35, Gators 14

Reporter Argus, Oct. 10, 2013: There’s little secret to Smethport’s offense this year: With the Hubbers’ combination of power (fullback Ryan Stratton) and speed (halfbacks Ryan Nielsen and Adam Shunk) behind a stout offensive line, they’re lining up and running right at opposing teams.

That gameplan proved effective against Port Allegany on Friday night, with the Hubs rolling up a season-high 322 rushing yards in a 35-14 victory over the Gators to snap Port’s 11-game winning streak in the ancient rivalry between the neighboring schools.

“It’s big for the kids – it’s all about the kids,” Smethport coach Jim Berlin said. “That’s one thing we started out the year talking about, was overcoming things we haven’t done in a long time. The kids were aware that we haven’t beaten Port in a long time. That was definitely something they were prepared for and wanted to make happen.”

Nielsen led all rushers with 121 yards on just 10 carries, while stablemates Shunk (10-89) and Stratton (14-76) each scored a touchdown and quarterback Dustin Zetwick added a pair of scoring runs.

“Smethport’s a big team. They got into us, and we couldn’t get off the blocks,” Port coach Mike Bodamer said. “Stratton’s a nice back – besides the kids from Kane, he’s probably the best kid we’ve seen all year. He’s definitely tough.”

(Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)

Week 7: Gators outrun Terrors





Lori Chase
Oct. 22, 2015

The Port Allegany Gators rolled into cold, rainy Otto-Eldred last Friday on a two-game winning streak, knowing they’d most likely need another one to stay tied for the lead in the Allegheny Mountain League North Division standings.

The Terrors didn’t make it easy, stopping the Port offense on downs three times inside the O-E 20. But with the Gator defense keeping their opponent off the scoreboard for the second time in three weeks, two touchdown drives proved to be more than enough points to secure an 18-0 victory and set up a showdown for first place in the AML North at Smethport next Friday night.

“We struggled with red-zone tonight,” Port coach Justin Bienkowski said. “We knew it was going to be tough. Anytime you face Tim Burris, Nick LaBella, Boyd Fitzsimmons, good football guys, classy guys, you know you’ve got to pay attention to detail. Yeah, the score says 18-0, but that goal-line stand at the end was huge for them. They play the game and coach the game the right way, and I wish them all the best.”

With rain and gusting wind once again affecting the passing game, the Gators (4-3, 3-0 AML North) made full use of an offensive wrinkle unveiled against Coudersport, with quarterback Tre Garzel splitting out wide and Dylan Baumgarner and Jordan Seefeldt each taking ‘wildcat’ snaps from center to pile up a season-high 357 rushing yards and 454 of total offense.

“We talked about different ways that we could move the ball on offense,” Bienkowski said. “Tre’s not a running back by trade, so if we put Dylan or Jordan in the backfield … Dylan runs the ball well, Jordan reads the defensive line well. We just figured it gave us more options of running when they stack the box. Just trying to give ourselves more options offensively, and it’s always good to give defenses more things to gameplan for.”

Baumgarner (20 carries-103 yards) and Mac Tanner (14-100) each hit triple digits in yardage, the first time two Port rushers have accomplished that feat since Trent Neal and Matt Bodamer did it at Sheffield in 2012, and Josiah Ramadhan (6-82) and Seefeldt (7-64) also ran well against the Terrors.

“They controlled the clock and controlled the line of scrimmage, and their backs made us miss,” said LaBella, the former Port assistant in his first season at the O-E helm.

Late in a first quarter mostly dominated by a field-position scrum, the Gators set off on a 13-play, 70-yard march to the end zone, with Baumgarner and Seefeldt alternating long runs before Tanner punched the ball in on first-and-goal from the 5. Seefeldt added the two-point run to make the score 8-0 with two minutes and change gone in the second stanza.

After a quick O-E three-and-out, Port went back to its weatherproof ground-and-pound gameplan, chewing up more than seven minutes in a drive that pushed to the Terror 8-yard-line before stalling out as the half ended.

The start of the third quarter duplicated the one against Coudy, with the Gator D forcing a quick punt and the offense on the move again. A long, twisting run by Tanner, stiff-arming a would-be tackler at midfield and spinning away from the sideline, moved the ball to the O-E 33.

Then, they shifted into reverse. Back-to-back holding penalties, topped off with a personal foul on the Port sideline, left the Gators staring at an improbable 1st-and-45 play from their own 30.

No problem. Garzel took the snap and lofted a screen pass to his left, with Baumgarner hauling it in, sidestepping a lunging defender, and picking up a convoy down the visitors’ sideline for a back-breaking 70-yard touchdown catch-and-run. In front of a Terror Senior Night crowd stunned into silence, Tanner added the conversion for a 16-0 lead.

“We’ve been working on the rocket screen, working on coming down the line of scrimmage and getting our line downfield to the next level. We’ve been preaching that since August 10th,” Bienkowski said. “It just all went together, and Dylan got the ball in his hands and made a good play.”

Facing a two-touchdown deficit without their best player, 2014 Big 30 All-Star running back Seth Drummond (out with a knee injury sustained two weeks ago), and with top receiver Heath Stewart still limited in his return from a broken arm, the Terrors struggled to gain any traction all night before finally mounting a drive as the fourth quarter ticked away. A well-executed double pass moved the ball deep into Gator territory, but from first-and-goal, a sack by Baumgarner and a pair of good pass-defense plays by Tanner and Seefeldt ended the threat.

The Port offense took just three plays to flip the field, with Ramadhan breaking loose for 70 yards and Tanner ducking and dodging his way for 19 more to the O-E 1, but the Terrors held once again to take over at their own 9 with just over a minute left in the game. From there, Ramadhan applied the finishing touch with his third tackle-for-loss of the night, blindsiding quarterback Sawyer Drummond in the end zone for a safety to complete the scoring.

Victory safely in hand, Bienkowski and his squad could finally look ahead to Friday’s visit to ancient rival Smethport, with the winner taking control of the division.

“Our focus this week was on Otto-Eldred, because next week wouldn’t mean anything if we went in there at 2-1 in the North,” he said. “But we’ll enjoy this one over the weekend, then start getting ready for coach Berlin’s option offense. They went back more to an old-school 1990’s look. Adam Shunk’s having a heck of a season so far, and they’re big up front.”

The Hubbers (3-4, 3-0 AML North) handled Cameron County 25-8 last week, with Shunk rushing for 257 yards and four touchdowns. The 5-foot-5, 140-pound senior has already joined the 1,000-yard club after only seven games, including three straight 200-yard performances.

“It’ll be a good old-fashioned AML East battle from back in the day. We’re trying to spread out a little and still run, they’re packing the box and running it. I don’t know that there’ll be a whole lot of throwing the ball,” Bienkowski said. “They’ve got Jimmy Duffy and Shunk in the backfield, we’ve got Mac and Dylan, and Josiah gives us some speed. We’re gonna have our best, and I’m pretty sure Jim (Berlin) will have his best ready to go, and we’ll see what happens.”

– With his 100-yard rushing performance and long touchdown catch, Baumgarner made his second appearance on the Player of the Week honor roll.
– The Gators are now tied with their namesakes from Allegany-Limestone (N.Y.), also 4-3, for third place in the Olean Times Herald Big 30 large-school poll behind Kane (7-0) and St. Marys (6-1).

At Duke Center, Oct. 16:

Score by quarters:
Port Allegany Gators 0 8 8 2 18
Otto-Eldred Terrors 0 0 0 0 0

Scoring summary:
Second Quarter
PA (9:22) – Mac Tanner 5 run (13 plays, 71 yards); Jordan Seefeldt run, 8-0
Third Quarter
PA (6:40) – Dylan Baumgarner 70 pass from Tre Garzel (7 plays, 77 yards); Tanner run, 16-0
Fourth Quarter
PA (1:05) – safety, Josiah Ramadhan tackled Sawyer Drummond in end zone, 18-0

Team statisics:
First Downs: Port 18, O-E 5.
Rushes-Yds: Port 52-357, O-E 28-77.
Passing Yds: Port 77, O-E 22.
Comp-Att-Int: Port 2-6-0, O-E 2-5-0.
Total Yards: Port 434, O-E 99.
Fumbles-Lost: Port 3-0, O-E 0-0.
Punts-Avg: Port 2-39.5, O-E 5-33.2.
Penalties-Yds: Port 9-98, O-E 1-10.
Total Plays: Port 58, O-E 33.
Time of Poss.: Port 27:33, O-E 20:37.

Individual statistics:
Rushing: Port Allegany – Dylan Baumgarner 20 carries-103 yards, Mac Tanner 14-100 (TD), Josiah Ramadhan 6-82, Jordan Seefeldt 7-64, Tre Garzel 5-8. Otto-Eldred – Damen Palmer 14-41, Heath Stewart 9-27, Sawyer Drummond 5-9.
Passing: Port Allegany – Garzel 2 completions-6 attempts-0 interceptions-77 yards (TD). Otto-Eldred – Palmer 1-1-0-21, Drummond 1-4-0-1.
Receiving: Port Allegany – Baumgarner 1 catch-70 yards (TD), Seefeldt 1-7. Otto-Eldred – Grant West 1-21, Palmer 1-1.

(Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)