PORT ALLEGANY GATORS
(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.)