PORT ALLEGANY GATORS (6-4)
KANE WOLVES (9-0)
Nov. 12, 2015
Run and stop the run.
Sounds simple enough: Grind out yardage and points by running the football, keep the other team from doing the same, and you’ll win games.
It’s a formula Kane High School has used with great success lately. Averaging more than 320 rushing yards and scoring almost 40 points per game while allowing fewer than 10, the defending District 9 Class A champs haven’t lost since last year’s PIAA quarterfinals, rolling through the regular season with an unblemished record.
On Friday night, it earned them their fifth Allegheny Mountain League championship, their second in three years, with a 21-0 victory over Port Allegany at Paul R. Miller Stadium in Kane.
Shane Rolick rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns, twin brother Tyler added 123 to hit the 1,000-yard mark for the season, and Erik Delong contributed a scoring run as the Wolves (9-0) piled up 303 total yards while allowing just 65 to down the Gators (6-4) for the second time this season.
“AML champs. That’s what we set out to do every year,” coach Todd Silfies said. “We don’t talk about it early on, but that plaque right there is very special to us and we’re glad to have it back.”
Port didn’t make it easy for them, forcing four punts, a pair of turnovers on downs, and a fumble recovered by Nate Lowery to cap a second-half goal-line stand in a physical, hard-hitting contest. But with the Gator offense unable to move the ball, spending almost the entire game on its own side of midfield, Kane’s early lead proved to be insurmountable.
“First and foremost, without a doubt, congratulations to the Kane Wolves, Todd Silfies, his coaching staff, his players. Well deserved. They’re a class-act program,” Port coach Justin Bienkowski said. “But I’m really proud of the overall effort our guys gave. We had some mental breakdowns, some brain burps, whatever you want to call it. But there’s no doubt in my mind that the Rolicks and the Delong kid, some of those guys who ran the ball, are going to wake up (Saturday) knowing who they played last night. I’m proud of that.”
The Gators had an opportunity late in the first quarter, moving the ball to the Kane 31 following Delong’s 13-yard touchdown run. But the drive halted there, with a six-yard loss and a pair of incompletions leading to a fourth-and-long heave that Shane Rolick picked off at his own 20 to end the threat.
The Wolves responded with a 13-play, 70-yard march to their second score, with Shane Rolick covering the final eight yards and Tyler booting his second extra point to make it 14-0. They had one more chance to add to their lead before halftime, but the Port defense held, forcing a fourth-down incompletion from its own 17 to keep the score within reach.
Neither team was able to move the ball coming out of the locker room, with Kane seemingly facing disaster when a shotgun snap went over the punter’s head to set up the Gator offense at the Wolves’ 15. A quick 10-yard pass from Tre Garzel to Jordan Seefeldt gave Port first-and-goal at the 5, but they could go no further, turning the ball over on downs.
“They stole the momentum on that play when we made a mistake,” Silfies said, “but our motto all year has been picking each other up. The defense stepped up and stole the momentum right back from them. I thought it was huge. And then we didn’t get a first down, but Tyler Rolick’s punt from deep in our end, getting it over them, that changed field position.
“Those things matter in a close game like this. That score’s not indicative of how good of a football game this was.”
Rolick’s booming 56-yard punt flipped the field, and after another exchange of three-and-outs, the Wolves got the ball back at midfield and marched 50 yards for their final score of the night on Shane Rolick’s 27-yard read-option burst up the middle.
“You can’t win a championship of any kind, at any level, if you shoot yourself in the foot. You have to play near-perfect football to win. We didn’t do that tonight, and Kane did a better job,” Bienkowski said. “They play physical football. They take advantage of any opportunity you give them, and they make sure you pay for it.”
The win secured the No. 2 seed in the Class A playoffs for Kane, with Port grabbing the first wild-card slot at No. 7. By the luck of the draw, that means another visit to the “Wolves’ Den” this Friday night at 7 p.m. for a District 9 quarterfinal game.
(UPDATE: The game has been moved to Parkway Field in Bradford due to field conditions at Kane.)
Bienkowski knows his Gator squad will once again be the underdog, but they don’t plan on backing down.
“We told (the players), ‘You get that second chance. You can play with them. They put their pants on one leg at a time. They’re not immortals.’ We can give them a shot; again, we’ve got nothing to lose.
“I told the seniors, ‘You’re not guaranteed not much in life, but the one thing you are is one more football game. They know you really well, you know them really well. Roll the dice, and go from there.’”
AML CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
At Kane, Nov. 6:
Port A – 0 0 0 0 – 0
Kane – 7 7 7 0 – 21
Kane (5:18) – Erik Delong 13 run (5 plays, 48 yards); Tyler Rolick kick, 0-7
Kane (8:49) – Shane Rolick 7 run (13 plays, 70 yards); T. Rolick kick, 0-14
Kane (2:41) – S. Rolick 27 run (6 plays, 50 yards); T. Rolick kick, 0-21
First Downs: Port 7, Kane 18.
Rushes-Yds: Port 16-(-11), Kane 61-296.
Passing Yds: Port 76, Kane 7.
Comp-Att-Int: Port 11-33-1, Kane 1-7-0.
Total Yards: Port 65, Kane 303.
Port 1-0, Kane 3-1.
Punts-Avg: Port 8-28.0, Kane 4-36.8.
Penalties-Yds: Port 0-0, Kane 7-35.
Total Plays: Port 49, Kane 68.
Time of Poss.: Port 16:42, Kane 31:18.
Rushing: Port – Mac Tanner 6 carries-5 yards, Jordan Seefeldt 2-2, Dylan Baumgarner 3-2, Josiah Ramadhan 2-(-6), Tre Garzel 3-(-14). Kane – Shane Rolick 19-142 (2 TD), Tyler Rolick 30-123, Erik Delong 9-59 (TD), Ange Costanzo 2-3, team 1-(-31).
Passing: Port – Garzel 11-32-1-76 yards, Baumgarner 0-1-0-0. Kane: S. Rolick 1-7-0-7.
Receiving: Port – Baumgarner 5-53, Seefeldt 3-20, Tanner 2-5, Ramadhan 1-(-2). Kane – Tyler Weidenhoff 1-7.