17-point second half comeback fuels Port Allegany victory
Written by: Josh Funk on Saturday, November 20th, 2010
BROCKWAY, Pa. – Port Allegany never really has been known for a potent aerial attack. Yet the Gators brought sophomore field general Matt Bodamer into Week 12 of 2010 with 1,770 passing yards and 20 touchdowns.
But to get itself into the District 9 Class A championship game, Port Allegany returned to its roots – a punishing, physical ground attack.
Port Allegany (7-4) used grinding second half scoring drives of 90 and 89 yards and the Gator (7-4) defense stuffed Redbank Valley (6-6) on a critical 4th-and-goal from the 1 with 4:06 left to claim a hard-fought 24-17 victory from Frank Varischetti Field in a District 9 Class A semifinal Saturday afternoon.
The Gators finished the day with 265 rushing yards on 43 carries and surprisingly, the passing game yielded a staggeringly low 36 yards.
But Port head coach Mike Bodamer wasn’t surprised.
“Seth (Lowery) and Zach (Ramadhan) have run the ball well the last three years,” Bodamer said.
The duo combined to gouge 130 of Port’s rushing yardage this day – Lowery with 48 yards on 16 totes and Ramadhan with a team-best 82 yards on 10 carries, including the winning touchdown with 45 seconds left in the game.
The Gators’ winning drive – 16 plays, 89 yards in all – drained 8:12 from the clock and capped a 17-point outburst in the second half. The orange and black entered the second half down 17-7 and with just 104 yards of offense to its credit (and just 2 yards passing). The Gators’ lone first half score came via a faked punt which senior multi-purpose athlete Camrin Stuckey ran 57 yards.
“That play was by design,” Bodamer explained. “Their guy was following our motion guy and we said to Cam, ‘If you see that guy following our guy, you keep it.’ And he did.
“We had nothing to lose at that point, so we said, ‘Hey, we’ll go for it,'” Bodamer said.
But in the first half, Redbank Valley came out with all the momentum. With junior Kyle Lee making big runs and big receptions, the Bulldogs built a 10-point first half lead. Lee ran for 78 first half yards and pulled in two catches for 66 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown with 8:40 left in the half to give RV a 14-7 lead. Lee also helped set up the Bulldogs’ initial touchdown (a Keaton Delp 6-yard run) with runs of 19 and 2 yards.
“We threw in a couple little wrinkles we hadn’t shown before,” said RV head coach Frank Fabian.
And, even though Port’s Stuckey registered a safety just 16 seconds into the second half to slice RV’s lead to 17-9, the Bulldogs still had a chance to put the game away.
Brandon Bain (8-of-18, 170 yards, TD, 2 INT) hooked up with Lee for 68 yards to the Port 28 yard line after the Bulldogs forced Port’s Bodamer (4-of-11, 36 yards, 3 INT) into his third interception. RV got to the Gator 1 yard line, facing fourth down with 4:06 left in the third.
And that fateful play saw Lee stuffed for a nine-yard loss, setting up Port’s tying touchdown drive.
“We signal in our plays from the sideline,” Fabian explained. “And we had a miscommunication on that play. The play got checked to the wrong side (and they stuffed it).
“And once we lost the momentum,” Fabian continued, “it was hard to get it back.”
Lowery’s 4-yard run with 34 seconds left in the third quarter cut RV’s lead to 17-15 before Bodamer hit Tyce Miller on the tying 2-point pass. After forcing RV to punt (Bain boomed the kick 60 yards to the Port 11 yard line), that set the stage for the Gators’ game-winning march.
Beyond Ramadhan and Lowery, Bodamer finished with 78 yards on 14 carries and Stuckey finished with 58 yards on two totes. Port finished with 302 yards of offense and 16 first downs despite four turnovers and five penalties for 51 yards.
Lee paced the Redbank Valley offense with 85 rushing yards on 16 carries and caught three passes for 134 yards. Bain was limited to minus-8 yards on seven carries and the Bulldogs finished with 266 yards of offense, 12 first downs and also committed eight penalties for 52 yards.
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