Port A soccer continues stellar start

Port Allegany 4, Smethport 0
Port Allegany 4, ECC 2
Port Allegany 2, Kane 0

Chalk up three more in the win column for the Port Allegany girls soccer team.
The Lady Gators (7-1, 3-0 UAVSL North) continued to explore uncharted territory last week, running their program-best winning streak to seven games with victories over Smethport, Elk County Catholic, and Kane.

On Monday, Port downed their rivals from Hubberville by the same 4-0 count as earlier in the season, with Autumn Buchsenschutz finding the net twice, freshmen Cailey Barnett and Tara Briggs also scoring. Goalkeeper Brianna Roys made four saves to pick up her second career shutout.

Wednesday’s game was a close call, with the visiting Lady Crusaders holding the edge on the scoreboard for most of the cloudy afternoon. But as the sun came out late in the second half, so did the Gator offense.

After Barnett leveled the score with a left-footed strike at 11:29, Evie Russell made her first career goal a huge one, knocking in the rebound from a corner kick with 4:44 remaining to give Port its first lead of the game. The Gator girls continued to apply pressure, adding an insurance goal at the 1:20 mark as Autumn Freer sent home a cross from Buchsenschutz.

“This was a great win. They’re in the upper echelon,” Port coach Travis Cowburn said.

Roys stopped eight shots, while Catherine Cerroni and McKayla Wilson scored and Mackenzie Cashmer made four saves for ECC.

Saturday was Senior Day at the Moose Park field, with Sydney Fitzsimmons, Lorilei Smith, and co-captains Buchsenschutz, Russell, and Kennedy Dates honored. The Gators celebrated with a 2-0 clean sheet over Kane, with Buchsenschutz notching her 15th goal of the season and junior Leah Garzel her first while Roys kept the Wolves at bay with three saves.

“Different people have been stepping up. I think that shows a lot of character for our team,” Cowburn said. “Looking for that spark, there’s not a one of them that isn’t able to give it. I think that’s what I’m most proud of, so far, anyway.”

This week’s schedule includes games at St. Marys on Wednesday and Genesee Valley (N.Y.) at 7 p.m Friday, with the rematch against Smethport (Sept. 28) the only contest on next week’s slate. Beyond that, a pair of matchups against unbeaten division co-leader Ridgway await in October.

While mentioning the Lady Elkers as the “top of the heap” in the UAVSL North, Cowburn said, “I think it’s wide open. If we can hold it together, we can make a good run. If we get Katie Ernst back full-speed, we can make some noise. We’re hoping to, anyway.”

Port Allegany 4, ECC 1
Port Allegany 4, Smethport 1
Port Allegany 4, St. Marys 1

The Port Allegany boys prepared for Tuesday’s showdown against Coudersport with a trio of 4-1 victories last week, downing Elk County Catholic in a physical non-league contest on Tuesday before earning UAVSL North wins against Smethport and St. Marys.

On Tuesday, Brandon McCaslin scored the only goal of the first half against ECC, with Mackenzie Elliott heading home a direct kick by Bryce Baker 12 minutes into the second session to give the Gators a 2-0 lead.

With the game turning increasingly chippy, Elliott converted the second of two Port penalty kicks at the 16:42 mark before the Crusaders tallied late to avoid the shutout.

“I don’t think either team played particularly well. It was an ugly game. Luckily we scored four goals in a bad game,” Port coach Aaron Clark said. “I was proud we kept our composure.”

Josh Mealy stopped four shots to earn the win in net, while Payton Caden notched his second goal in as many games with 0:23 left to cap off the scoring.

“Payton was great. He has flashes where he reminds me of Scotty Brookens at times,” Clark said. “He works hard out there. It’s nice to see him rewarded for his effort.”

McCaslin scored twice, Elliott and David Talkington each added a goal, and Caden had three assists in Thursday’s win over Smethport, with Mealy making three saves. On Saturday, Elliott scored his seventh goal of the season to match McCaslin for the team lead, with Caden, Adam Doan and Leo McDowell also adding goals as the Gators earned the road win against the Dutch.

Following the Coudy game, a matchup between the last two UAVSL North champions, Port heads to Eisenhower on Thursday for a non-league contest against the Knights.

AML Week 4: Tide rolls





Lori Chase
Sept. 22, 2016

Even in Port Allegany’s better football seasons, a matchup against Curwensville usually ended up as a loss on the Gators’ schedule. Port has only beaten the Golden Tide once since the Clearfield County team joined the Allegheny Mountain League in 1999, and never at Riverside Stadium, the site of this year’s contest.

That streak continued on Friday night, with the Tide rolling to five second-quarter touchdowns on the way to a 63-6 victory, remaining unbeaten at 4-0, while Port dropped to 0-4 in its run through the gauntlet of the AML South.

With team rushing leader Trey Stiles added to the injury report, the already-overmatched Gators were forced to send out as many as five freshmen at a time against the deep, physical Tide.

“I told them at halftime, it’s not fair you guys have to play,” coach Justin Bienkowski said of his first-year varsity players. “I didn’t mean that in a derogatory manner at all; I told them that it’s unfair that you’re asked to have to play against maybe not the best team in the league, but certainly as physical as the best team in the league. But they didn’t back down. They tried.”

Jake Kallenborn scored the first Gator touchdown touchdown of the season on a 15-yard run early in the fourth quarter, stopping an 18-quarter scoreless streak that dated back to the first quarter of last year’s District 9 playoff game against Kane.

“The kids were excited,” Bienkowski said, “and they should have been. I was proud of them, happy that they were able to see some kind of success.”

For the game, the junior quarterback was 8-of-18 for 117 yards and an interception, with Devin Gustin (five catches, 60 yards) and Jared Mahon (2-53) his favorite targets. Curwensville’s Bryce Timko went 5-for-6 with three touchdowns, while standout running back Nick Stewart added 161 yards and three scores on the ground.

With the crossover part of the schedule finally in the rear view mirror, the Gators enter AML North play with the same 0-0 division record as the other five teams, which collectively managed just one win in 24 games against the South. Bienkowski reminded his team of that fact after the game, telling them, “We have just as much right to win the North as any of the other five teams do, because that’s the only record that counts.”

The defending division champs begin defending their title with a trip to Otto-Eldred on Friday night. The Terrors are also 0-4, but threw a scare into Bradford last week before the Class AAAA school managed to escape with a 14-6 win.

“They couldn’t hit any big plays, but they drove the ball,” Bienkowski said after watching the game film.

O-E running back Seth Drummond is a definite threat despite continuing to battle the lingering effects of a knee injury which ended his junior season, and the Gators will also have to be wary of the pass-catch combination of Drummond’s younger brother, Sawyer, and ends Grant West and Garret Babcock.

“They’re struggling up front, so that will minimize some of the sheer overpower-up-the-middle type of glitches we’ve seen. It’ll be a fun night. We’ll look to play, look to compete for four quarters. Some type of productive football, unlike the first four weeks,” Bienkowski said.

“The message that I told the kids at the end of the game on Friday night was, not that we didn’t want to try to win these first four games, but we always want to be realistic. Now our goals is to put crooked numbers in the win column. We need to figure out a way to compete. We have to start trying to put together drives, change field position in our favor, not just bandage up our wounds and get through four quarters. We want to win.”

Score by quarters:
Port Allegany Gators 0 0 0 6 6
Curwensville Golden Tide 15 35 7 6 63

Scoring Summary
First Quarter
C (6:23) – Nick Stewart 2 run; Stewart run, 0-8
C (0:49) – Alec Opaliski 24 fumble return; Madison Weber kick, 0-15
Second Quarter
C (11:50) – Zach Marshall 29 pass from Bryce Timko; Weber kick, 0-22
C (10:06) – Avery Francisco 17 pass from Timko; Weber kick, 0-29
C (8:34) – Stewart 46 run; Weber kick, 0-36
C (6:37) – Caleb Withering 19 run; Weber kick, 0-43
C (5:29) – Eli Jacobs 20 pass from Timko; Weber kick, 0-50
Third Quarter
C (10:55) – Stewart 70 run; Weber kick, 0-57
Fourth Quarter
PA (10:01) – Jake Kallenborn 15 run; kick blocked, 6-57
C (1:20) – Blake Mozzarella 26 run; pass failed, 6-63

Team Statistics:
First downs: Port 12, Curwensville 15. Rushes-Yds: Port 25-14, Curwensville 23-246. C-A-I: Port 8-18-1, Curwensville 5-6-0. Passing yards: Port 117, Curwensville 90. Total offense: Port 131, Curwensville 336. Fumbles-Lost: Port 1-1, Curwensville 0-0. Punts-Avg: Port 3-28.3, Curwensville 0. Penalties-Yds: Port 10-70, Curwensville 5-35. Plays: Port 43, Curwensville 29.

PAHS sports briefs: Sept. 15

The Port Allegany soccer teams continued their successful start last week, with each team opening UAVSL play with a win and the Gator girls adding a pair of non-conference victories.
The volleyball team began its season with a split in North Tier League action, dropping its opener to Coudersport before rebounding to sweep Austin.

Port Allegany 6, St. Marys 1
Port Allegany 3, Eisenhower 1
Port Allegany 4, Wellsboro 1

Autumn Buchsenschutz,  who scored a team-best nine goals last season, has already surpassed that total just five games into the 2016 campaign. The senior midfielder netted a hat trick in all three games to move her total to 11 and maybe could’ve had more, but chose to pass to an open teammate on several occasions.

“Autumn Buchsenschutz can do anything in any sport. It takes a special person to be as unselfish as her. The sky’s the limit for her,” said Port coach Travis Cowburn, praising Buchsenschutz and fellow co-captains Kennedy Dates, Evie Russell, and Julia Young for their leadership.

Dates (1 goal, 1 assist), Shaylee Caulkins  (1 goal, 2 assists), and Tara Briggs (goal) each found the net in Port’s home opener on Tuesday, with Caulkins also opening the scoring at Wellsboro on Saturday morning.

Junior goalkeeper Brianna Roys has stepped seamlessly into the lineup, replacing graduated four-year starter Laura Fox. She hasn’t allowed more than one goal in any game, stopping 11 shots against the Dutch, seven at Eisenhower, and 16 against Wellsboro.

“I’ve always said you have to be half-crazy to want to play goalie, and she says, ‘I fit the bill,'” Cowburn said, chuckling. “She’s coming out at all the right times, she’s doing real well. Her throws are even better than her kicks, which you don’t see very often in high school soccer. She’s making good decisions.”

Port was slated to travel to Smethport on Monday, then host Elk County Catholic on Wednesday.

Looking forward to the rest of the UAVSL slate, Cowburn said, “We knew the division would be weak with the exception of Ridgway. They’re going to be outstanding. But right now, it looks like the division is wide open. We’ll know in a couple of weeks.”

Are the Gators in that mix?

“We’re a lot better than I thought we would be after our first couple of scrimmages,” Cowburn said. “Maybe we’ll make some noise. Who knows?”

Port Allegany 10, Kane 0

After two tough tourney tilts to open the season, the Gator boys used Thursday’s UAVSL contest to give their reserves significant playing time.

Brandon McCaslin led the Port offense with a hat trick, Mackenzie Elliott and Howie Stuckey each scored twice, and Payton Caden, Calvin Burleson and Tyler Lashway also found the net against the overmatched Wolves. Josh Mealy and Adam Doan combined for the one-save shutout.

Port was scheduled to host Elk County Catholic on Tuesday and Smethport on Thursday  before traveling to St. Marys for an 11 a.m. start on Saturday, leading into a much-anticipated showdown with Coudersport on Sept. 20.


Coudersport,  which dethroned the Gators atop the NTL last season, looks poised to repeat. The powerful Falcons swept Port in last Tuesday’s opener, 25-14, 25-10, 25-13.

On Friday, Port returned the favor against visiting Austin, with Kierra Keck pounding out 11 kills, five aces and two blocks while Mira Terrette dealt out 24 assists in the Gators’ 25-23, 25-19, 25-18 sweep. Hannah Lathrop (nine kills) and Erin Stauffer (five kills) also contributed to the Gator offense.

Port visited Northern Potter on Tuesday before hosting league co-leader Otto-Eldred on Thursday evening.

Rovers run past Gators





Lori Chase
Sept. 15, 2016

Injuries left an already-thin Port Allegany football roster scrambling against one of the best teams in District 9 on Friday night, with the results showing on the Gator Field scoreboard in Brockway’s 72-0 Allegheny Mountain League crossover win.

The deep, talented Rovers (3-0) entered the week tied for third in the D9Sports.com Top 10, behind only Kane and Class AAAA DuBois, and they’ll likely move up following their third dominating victory in a row and the Beavers’ loss to Meadville.

“Mad respect for their program. They’re just a better team than us right now,” said Port coach Justin Bienkowski. “We were at the top of the mountain. Now we’re at the bottom and we have to work our way back up. But I’m super proud of my guys, of the way they continue to battle. That scoreboard is not a sign of the character we have. I firmly believe that.”

Mark Latuska, a 1,000-yard rusher last year, led the Brockway attack with three touchdown runs. The 6-2, 220-pound senior punched in two short scores in the first quarter, then showed breakaway speed on a 90-yard sprint down the visitors’ sideline on his final carry of the game.

The Rovers took advantage of five first-half Gator turnovers to build a commanding 50-0 lead at the break, and began substituting freely during the second quarter.

“I told them at halftime, you’re going to have rough times, but this sport will teach you that you’ve got to keep coming back. I firmly believe that, and I’m proud of our guys for trying to become better,” Bienkowski said.

“We’re 0-3. It shouldn’t taste good. We shouldn’t be okay with it. But at the end of the day, it’s a game. It’s a high school sport where you’re making some friendships and gaining some respect for each other. That’s what we’re taking from it. We’ll come back and try to get better.”

The Gator coaching staff already knew they’d struggle to replace the seven AML all-stars lost to graduation this spring, but the task got even more difficult when both starting quarterback Daniel Jordan and two-way lineman Jesse Rush, one of just three returning starters, were sidelined.

Jake Kallenborn, seeing his first action at quarterback since early in his freshman season, completed 8-of-16 passes for 65 yards with three interceptions. Hunter Kisko, a 5-9, 160-pound freshman, took over for the injured Rush at center, often giving up close to 100 pounds to the Brockway defensive linemen.

“Hunter Kisko fumbled the first snap, could’ve very well checked out, but he played his tail off for us,” Bienkowski said. “As a freshman, playing against one of the best teams in Class AA.”

It doesn’t get any easier this week, when the Gators wrap up their crossover schedule by making the long drive to Curwensville to play the always-tough Golden Tide.

“It’s a challenge. We’ve got to be able to travel and play on the road. It’s always been a tough place to play. We’ve never beaten Curwensville down there since they entered the AML; we were fortunate enough to play them up here during our glory years.

“They’re a good team. Physical. We know what they’re going to do, we know they’ve got Nick Stewart and we know he’s going to run the ball. We just have to figure out a way to stop him.”

At Port Allegany, Sept. 9:

Score by quarters:
Brockway Rovers 29 21 15 7 72
Port Allegany Gators 0 0 0 0 0

Scoring Summary
First Quarter
B (11:42) – LeCates 24 pass from Miller (1 play, 24 yds); Esposito kick, 7-0
B (5:01) – LeCates 10 run (9 plays, 79 yds); LeCates pass from Esposito, 15-0
B (4:03) – Latuska 4 run (2 plays, 4 yds); Esposito kick, 22-0
B (0:05) – Latuska 1 run (3 plays, 57 yds); Esposito kick, 29-0
Second Quarter
B (9:27) – Latuska 90 run (1 play, 90 yds); Esposito kick, 36-0
B (5:44) – Miller 2 run (5 plays, 55 yds); Esposito kick, 43-0
B (0:35) – Serafini 10 run (4 plays, 50 yds); Esposito kick, 50-0
Third Quarter
B (9:23) – Jo. Wood 31 pass from Downer (5 plays, 54 yds); B. Smith pass from Inzana, 58-0
B (1:03) – Inzana 1 run (9 plays, 68 yds); Puhala kick, 65-0
Fourth Quarter
B (1:10) – Glasl 4 run (10 plays, 81 yds); Puhala kick, 72-0

Team Statistics:
First downs: Brockway 25, Port 10. Rushes-Yds: Brockway 28-331, Port 31-27. C-A-I: Brockway 15-22-1, Port 8-16-3. Passing yards: Brockway 243, Port 65. Total offense: Brockway 574, Port 92. Fumbles-Lost: Brockway 0-0, Port 4-3. Punts-Avg: Brockway 0, Port 4-27.3. Penalties-Yds: Brockway 6-70, Port 3-30. Plays: Brockway 50, Port 47.

Other AML Results:
Bradford 76, Cameron County 12
Kane 43, Coudersport 8
Ridgway 38, Smethport 0
Curwensville 43, Sheffield 0
Elk County Catholic 31, Otto-Eldred 0
(game called at half due to weather)

Gator soccer nets 100th win


100 wins and counting for the Port Allegany boys soccer program. Front row (L-R): Matt Lawton, Josh Mealy, Simon Burleson, Javin Stiles, Seth Bowers, Jordan Card, Bladen Yeager, Robbie Arnet, Chris Baily, Brandon McCaslin, McKenzie Elliot, Eli Petruzzi, Tyler Lashway, Briar Caulkins, Payton Caden, Howie Stuckey, Aaron Clark, Aiden Clark, Justin Osani. Back Row (L-R): Benjamin Lawton, Shawn McNeil, Josh Conklin, Jordan Bell, Gavin Minich, Adam Doan, Leo McDowell, Daniel Harris, Bryce Baker, Calvin Burleson, David Talkington      (Photo provided)

Lori Chase
Sept. 8, 2016

Port Allegany opened its boys soccer season on the right foot last weekend, picking up a 1-0 win over Olean in the first round of Allegany-Limestone’s “Gator Cup” tournament before falling to the home team, 2-1, in the championship game the following night.

Not only was it the first time Port had ever beaten the Huskies, a Class B school, but it marked an even bigger milestone: The school’s 100th victory in the sport, something coaches Aaron Clark and Matt Lawton probably never even thought about when they began the program in 2006. The Gators won a single game in that inaugural campaign, but quickly established themselves as a team to reckon with in District 9, appearing in the 2013 Class A championship game during a still-running string of eight consecutive postseason berths.

“I guess it just means that we’ve had a lot of good athletes,” said Clark, who willingly endured a celebratory postgame Gatorade shower. “We’ve been lucky to get a lot of good soccer players. Some of those years were easy to coach; we’d set the starting lineup and then sit down.”

Brandon McCaslin netted the only goal of the contest against Olean on a penalty kick 20 minutes into the first half, and Josh Mealy and Adam Doan combined for 12 saves to secure the shutout despite being outshot 19-9.

“We played different tactically than what we typically try to play,” Clark explained. “Our players are used to being the team that sort of dictates the style; they’re used to playing a faster game where they control the ball. Olean is just so talented, they’re such a physical team, we focused on playing defense. We were trying to make sure every player was covering who they were supposed to. We were lucky enough that on one of our counterattacks, Brandon got tackled in the box and got a penalty kick, and he converted it.

“Honestly, the rest of the game was all about slowing it down. Olean was trying to play a faster game, trying to run up and down the field quickly. I thought the players did a really good job of frustrating Olean, doing what they could to aggravate and basically take them out of their game plan.”

Port struck first in Saturday’s Gator-versus-Gator final, with Mackenzie Elliott converting a direct kick just 1:14 into the game, but Allegany-Limestone’s Mike Wolfgang leveled the score with 14 minutes left in the first half and Dylan Talbot netted the game-winner midway through the second session to give the New York squad the win on its home turf. Conner Golley made four saves to earn the win in goal, with Mealy corralling five shots for Port.

“We had the same number of shots and more corner kicks, but it was still the same type of game where they possessed the ball more and we relied on our counterattack,” Clark said. “I don’t think we had quite enough in the tank to be able to stay with them.”

While he would’ve loved to bring the championship trophy home on the team bus, Clark was still pleased with his squad’s performance.

“I feel great about where the team is at right now,” he said. “I think I’d be hard-pressed to say that anybody we’re going to play in District 9 has the same combination of physical play, speed and skill on the ball. We’re going to play some really physical teams, but they’re not going to be as talented or as fast. We’re going to play some talented teams, but they’re not going to have the physicality. Both Olean and Allegany-Limestone had all three facets of the game.”

With Tuesday’s game at Ridgway pushed back to Oct. 3, Port opens its regular-season slate at home against Kane on Thursday before hosting ECC and Smethport next week.
Coudersport is the defending UAVSL North champion, and Clark expects them to be his team’s “biggest challenge” in the division again this year.

“I saw that they beat Bradford this weekend. Knowing what they’re bringing back, they’ve got a lot of talent on their roster, so I have to assume that we’re going to have a fight on our hands against them,” he said.

As for his postseason outlook? “Going into the league and district schedule, I think there’s really three or four teams at the top of the district. I’d like to think that we’re in that top three or four teams.”


The Port Allegany girls soccer team came home from Bradford with a split in the Owls’ season-opening tournament over the weekend, dropping a 2-1 decision to Portville on Friday afternoon before blanking rival Smethport, 4-0, on Saturday morning. The Panthers went on to beat Bradford, 4-0, for the tourney title.

Autumn Buchsenschutz, the team’s leading scorer last season with nine goals, tallied once in each game, with Autumn Freer, Rylee Lawton, and Shaylee Caulkins adding goals against the Hubbers.

After hosting St. Marys on Tuesday, the Gators (1-1) are slated to travel to Wellsboro on Saturday for an 11 a.m. start, then play at Smethport next Monday.

AML Week 2: Gators fall to Ridgway





Lori Chase
Sept. 8, 2016

Two weeks into the season, the Port Allegany varsity football team is still seeking its first win following last Friday’s 50-0 Allegheny Mountain League setback against Ridgway at Memorial Field in Johnsonburg.

And with starter Daniel Jordan sidelined for at least the next few weeks due to injury, the Gators (0-2) are also looking for a new quarterback.
“I feel bad, because he played one full game his sophomore year, none his junior year, and one full game his senior year. That’s it,” Port coach Justin Bienkowski said.

The second quarter was the key to victory for the combined Ridgway/Johnsonburg squad, as they sandwiched a pair of short scoring drives around Neil MacDonald’s 66-yard punt return to build a 35-0 halftime lead.

“Overall, we were pretty pleased with the first half, especially the first quarter. We made them earn everything they got on their offensive end. We just seemed to give the ball back to them at inopportune times with good field position,” Bienkowski said. “We couldn’t sustain a drive on offense. We’re struggling on that side of the ball, trying to establish the line of scrimmage, but it’s certainly not for a lack of effort. Then the game just kind of got away from us in the second half.”

MacDonald also scored the first touchdown for Ridgway (2-0) and led all ballcarriers with 50 yards on seven attempts, while quarterback Johnny Mitchell ran for one score and threw for another. Trey Stiles rushed for 33 yards to pace the Gators and also contributed a team-leading eight stops on defense, with Josh Rees and Deven Smoker each contributing a tackle for loss.

Mentioning Stiles and Jake Kallenborn as two players who stood out on his squad, Bienkowski added, “Trey’s trying to make every possible cut and hit every hole he can, sticking his shoulder in there against guys double and triple his size. Gotta love that. Jake’s blocking guys to the whistle. Obviously, getting beat, they’re not happy, but you can tell they just love playing football. I don’t care what the score is, it’s hard not to like that.”

Of the team as a whole, he added, “They give it their all. I love and respect the effort they give, and the appreciation they have for the opportunity to play the sport. The skill level isn’t there right now, but the things we can help, effort and intensity, they bring it. We just tip our cap to a better football team in Ridgway.”

Moving forward, Kallenborn is the likely choice as Jordan’s replacement behind center. The 6-0, 160-pound junior played the position in junior high and as a backup during his freshman year before shifting to receiver, then moving to the line this season.

“He’s tall, very intelligent, extremely coachable and a good leader,” Bienkowski said. “I think that’s probably the route we’re going to go. The only problem with that is that it leaves such a huge hole at left guard. The kid’s a player. I’d take a team full of him every week. He’ll have to learn some of the intricacies of the game again, the footwork part, but he’ll pick up on it.”

The Gators face another formidable AML South foe this week in Brockway, which rolls into “The Swamp” this Friday night at 2-0 after beating Otto-Eldred 57-6 and Sheffield 56-9. The Rovers boast a balanced offense, with quarterback Hunter Miller tossing four touchdown passes against the Wolverines a week after running back Mark Latuska found the end zone four times against the Terrors.

“They spread it out, but mainly to run it,” Bienkowski said.

Taking one last look at the Ridgway game, he concluded, “We fixed some mistakes and made some new ones, but I respect their effort. I’m proud to coach them. We’ve just got to figure out a way to max out our talent, and that’s my job. Once again, I’ve got a fantastic coaching staff that’s losing sleep trying to make things work. We’re trying.

“We’re going to do some mixing and some matching, and our goal is to be at full strength, ready to roll, when we go to Eldred in three weeks. We’re going to keep on plugging.”

At Johnsonburg, Sept. 2:
Port Allegany 0-0-0-0-0
Ridgway 14-21-7-8-50

Scoring Summary
First Quarter
Ridgway (4:45) – Neil MacDonald 1 run; Aaron Hinton kick, 0-7
Ridgway (0:34) – Johnny Mitchell 22 run; Hinton kick, 0-14
Second Quarter
Ridgway (7:49) – Jacob Myers 2 run; Hinton kick, 0-21
Ridgway (4:08) – MacDonald 66 punt return; Hinton kick, 0-28
Ridgway (1:26) – Ryan Kilhoffer 22 pass from Mitchell; Hinton kick, 0-35
Third Quarter
Ridgway (7:46) – Jacob Zimmerman 1 run; Hinton kick, 0-42
Fourth Quarter
Ridgway (3:51) – Evan Furlong 30 run; Joey Elinski pass from Hinton, 50-0

Team Statistics:
First downs: Port 4, Ridgway 14. Rushes-Yds: Port 29-41, Ridgway 37-245. C-A-I: Port 0-2-0, Ridgway 2-4-0. Passing yards: Port 0, Ridgway 22. Total offense: Port 41, Ridgway 289. Fumbles-Lost: Port 1-1, Ridgway 0-0. Punts-Avg: Port 5-34.4, Ridgway 1-50. Penalties-Yds: Port 4-35, Ridgway 4-35. Plays: Port 31, Ridgway 41.

Kane blasts Port in AML opener





Lori Chase
Sept. 1, 2016

Friday night’s Allegheny Mountain Football League season opener marked the third consecutive time that Kane showed up on Port Allegany’s schedule, following the Wolves’ back-to-back wins in last year’s AML championship game and the first round of the district playoffs.

Given the results, no one could blame the Gators if they didn’t want to see their cross-county visitors again any time soon.

While the Port program is in full rebuilding mode with just three starters returning from last year’s 6-5 squad, the two-time defending District 9 Class A champions, who moved back up to Class AA this season, brought back a solid core featuring Big 30 All-Stars Erik Delong and Toby Fox along with several other key contributors from their 2015 state playoff run.

The contrast was stark under the lights at “The Swamp.” Led by Delong’s 159 rushing yards and four touchdowns — all before halftime — Kane rolled to a 70-0 victory, the most points ever scored against the Port High varsity. It was their sixth consecutive win in the series, which now stands 21-13 in favor of the Wolves.

“Great start,” head coach Todd Silfies said. “We were sloppy at times early on, but give credit to our guys to not let little bumps in the road get us down. Great team effort.

“I give Port Allegany a lot of credit too,” he added. “They’ve got a lot of new kids out on the field today, and those kids didn’t quit fighting, in particular their quarterback (senior Daniel Jordan, who missed almost all of the last two seasons due to injury). He was still leading their team down the field at the end. Kids like that, they’re going to get better every week, and they’re going to do things.”

Citing Port’s five-game AML North winning streak which secured the division title and a D-9 playoff berth, he said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw something similar to last year from those guys.”

Despite losing twin terrors Shane (2,143 total yards, 28 touchdowns) and Tyler (1,691 yards, 19 TDs) Rolick to graduation, Kane picked up right where it left off last December. With a veteran offensive line blasting open holes for Delong and fullback Austin Labesky, the Wolves scored each time they had the ball and piled up 562 yards of offense while the defense forced four turnovers and allowed just 119 total yards and nine first downs, much of that in the second half.

“I’ve been watching AML football since I was eight years old, back in Johnsonburg and then moving here, and in my lifetime the Rolick boys were as good as anybody,” Port coach Justin Bienkowski said. “For them to come back like that after losing those guys … (coordinator) Tyler Smith on offense, Todd on defense, coach Sirianni on the line, all the role coaches they have, it’s a class program. Regardless of the score, they deserved to win and they did.”

A long kickoff return by Frank Truden set up a 19-yard burst by Labesky for Kane’s first score just 1:06 into the game, but Gator junior Trey Stiles came oh-so-close to matching it on the ensuing kickoff. Picking up the loose ball at his own 10, Stiles found a seam up the middle of the field and raced all the way to the Kane 11 before the Wolves’ Ray Maze finally managed to track him down for the touchdown-saving tackle.

Port couldn’t cash in on the opportunity, though, turning the ball over on downs at the 10, and the Wolves set off on a 90-yard march in the other direction capped by Delong’s first foray into the end zone.

“That was nice to have our backs against the wall and kind of learn from it,” Silfies said.

From there, with Kane using its size and strength to dominate the line of scrimmage, the game settled into a pattern: the overmatched Gators struggling to move past their own 40-yard line before giving the ball up via punt or turnover, followed by another Wolves scoring drive. By the time Delong closed out the first half with his fourth touchdown run of the night and kicker Joe Johnson added his seventh successful extra point, Kane led 49-0 and the third quarter began under the PIAA mercy rule.

“We told the kids at halftime to try to start finding little successes, whether it’s four-yard gains or first downs or completed passes or six points. Just trying to set realistic little goals, let the kids taste some success,” Bienkowski said, “because we have one heck of a bitter taste in our mouths right now.”

With the Wolves starters on the sideline after another short scoring drive to open the second half, the Port offense finally started finding some traction, driving deep into Kane territory on three successive possessions. Long runs by Wyatt Dean (13 carries-63 yards) and Stiles (14-87) on back-to-back plays set up first-and-goal midway through the third quarter, but once again, the Gators were turned away on a fourth-down stop.

Kane backup quarterback Jake Alcorn capped the scoring with a pair of long fourth-quarter touchdown sprints, with the speedy freshman getting to the edge and outrunning the tired Gator defenders down the sideline.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t say, absolutely 100 percent credit to Kane football. Once again they showed their year-round commitment to the sport,” Bienkowski said, mentioning his appreciation to his counterpart for “keeping it classy” as the score mounted. “That’s very important, because it teaches kids that you stay humble when you’re good, you stay classy when you’re good, and you stay humble in defeat. I told our kids, there’s a lot of lessons there.”

Crediting Jordan and fellow captains TyDel Green, Jesse Rush, and Jake Kallenborn for keeping the team together, he added, “I wouldn’t want to single any one person out; all 28 kids saw time tonight, and they all gave us what they had.

“Ultimately, I’m proud of our guys. They played a game as hard as they could. At the end of the day, it’s a game, and it taught them some lessons. They took a huge slice of humble pie tonight, and ate it in one gulp. They’re going to wake up sore tomorrow. But I told them, ‘Just guarantee me, promise me you’ll come back on Monday — that’s all we can ask from them — and try to get better.’”

NEXT UP: Port faces the combined Ridgway/Johnsonburg programs in another AML crossover game, with kickoff at Memorial Field in Johnsonburg slated for 7 p.m. Friday evening. The Gators are 11-9-1 all-time, 10-6-1 in the AML against the Elkers (including a 19-14 victory in the 1988 championship game, their only postseason meeting) and hold a current five-game winning streak in the series.

At Port Allegany, Aug. 26:

Score by quarters:
Kane Wolves 28 21 7 14 70
Port Allegany Gators 0 0 0 0 0

Scoring Summary:
First Quarter
K – Austin Labesky 19 run (3 plays, 29 yards, 1:06); Joe Johnson kick, 7-0
K – Erik DeLong 4 run (11 plays, 90 yards, 4:19); Johnson kick, 14-0
K – Frank Truden 70 run (1 play, 70 yards, 0:12); Johnson kick, 21-0
K – DeLong 5 run (4 plays, 24 yards, 0:12); Johnson kick, 28-0
Second Quarter
K – DeLong 20 run (4 plays, 46 yards, 0:59); Johnson kick, 35-0
K – Truden 65 pass from Reed Williams (4 plays, 78 yards, 1:43); Johnson kick, 42-0
K – DeLong 39 run (2 plays, 32 yards, 0:46); Johnson kick, 49-0
Third Quarter
K – Labesky 18 run (2 plays, 18 yards, 0:57); Johnson kick, 56-0
Fourth Quarter
K – Jake Alcorn 73 run (8 plays, 95 yards, 6:06); Johnson kick, 63-0
K – Alcorn 43 run (2 plays, 70 yards, 1:05); Johnson kick, 70-0

Team Statistics: Kane Port A
First downs 22 9
Rushes-Yards 33-442 41-108
Comp-Att-Int 5-8-0 3-9-2
Passing Yards 120 11
Total Yards 562 119
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 4-2
Punts-Avg. 0 2-30.0
Penalties-Yards 12-75 3-15
Total Plays 41 50
Time of poss. 17:13 30:47

Individual statistics:
 Kane – Erik Delong 14-159 (4 TD), Jake Alcorn 5-144 (2 TD), Frank Truden 2-70 (TD), Austin Labesky 4-49 (2 TD), Aiden Hulings 3-39, Ange Costanzo 1-6, Devin Young 1-3, Reed Williams 2-(-12). Port Allegany – Trey Stiles 13-86, Wyatt Dean 13-63, Devin Gustin 5-(-9), Daniel Jordan 9-(-20), team 1-(-11).
Passing: Kane – Williams 5-8-0-120 (1 TD). Port Allegany – Jordan 3-9-2-11.
Receiving: Kane – Truden 1-65, Davis Gardner 3-41, Ray Maze 1-14. Port Allegany – Isaac Smoker 1-6, Dean 1-3, Jared Mahon 1-2.

(Helmets courtesy of the Pennsylvania Helmet Project.)