PORT ALLEGANY – Scorching was a good way to describe the temperatures Saturday afternoon at Port Allegany High School.
It was also a good way to describe the offense for both Ridgway and Port Allegany football.
Both teams had over 380 yards of total offense as Port Allegany held on for a 46-35 victory over Ridgway.
Port Allegany quarterback Matt Bodamer threw for 311 yards and five touchdowns for the Gators; four of his touchdowns went to Charlie Buchanan.
Jordan Lundin had 232 passing yards and three touchdowns, two to Eric Matheson. Aaron Sorge led Ridgway with 147 receiving yards.
The Gators had a 40-14 lead with 10:11 left in the game after Buchanan caught a 24-yard touchdown pass off a tip in the end zone. Bodamer had weaved to his left to elude a Ridgway defender and threw the ball up in a crowd of three players. Buchanan was in the right place at the right time for the catch.
On the first play after the kickoff, Lundin found a wide open Aaron Sorge along the right side for a 56-yard connection to cut the lead to 40-21.
Port Allegany drove the ball into Ridgway territory on its ensuing drive but Bodamer fumbled the ball and Steve Mitchell recovered for Ridgway at the 40-yard line. The next play then saw Lundin step to his left and find Matheson running a crossing pattern deep in the Port Allegany secondary. Matheson made the catch and eluded defenders into the end zone to make the margin 40-28 with 5:47 on the clock.
Buchanan caught a 31-yard touchdown pass on the Gators' next drive to make the margin 46-28. Ridgway drove back down the field and Lundin connected with Matheson for a 10-yard strike as Ridgway again was within 11 points at 46-35. Ridgway coach Mark Heindl spoke of the team's effort exuded in the fourth-quarter rally which saw the Elkers score 21 points.
"The line was blocking the way they were supposed to," Heindl said. "The receivers were running the correct routes. It was just a complete team effort."
Ridgway then recovered a well-executed onside kick but an interception by the Gators sealed the game.
"I'm so proud of our kids right now," Heindl said. "To get down the way they did early, we were down 20-0 and then we came back and made it 20-7, just to see them regroup. We went in the locker room at 33-14, they came out and not only outscored them in the second half, they outplayed them in the second half with both sides' starters still on the field. Our kids did not quit. I think once they started to play together as one and eliminated the mistakes, we proved we can do some special things on any given day."
Port Allegany opened quickly as Buchanan caught a 30-yard touchdown from Bodamer to culminate a six-play drive which took just over two minutes. Ridgway then played a possession game as the Elkers converted a pair of third downs and took over five minutes off the clock. Ridgway was stopped on a fourth down just across midfield as the Gators took the ball on offense.
Bodamer lost a fumble just three plays later as Kyle Caggiano of Ridgway set the Elkers up in good field position. Port Allegany would return the favor with a turnover and immediate points as Trey Miller jumped a route and ran 84 yards to the end zone for a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
"We had it. We had it on that first drive," Heindl said. "That pick hurt us. The kids, they could have folded and they didn't fold, they kept fighting."
Lundin's next pass was intercepted and the Gators were again set up in Ridgway territory at the 35-yard line. Bodamer added a 1-yard quarterback sneak in the second quarter to end a six-play drive and put the Gators up 20-0.
Heindl said after early struggles, Lundin did well in the second half with adjusting to the Port Allegany defense.
"Jordan, he's a competitor. He had that bad pick there in the first half," Heindl said. "We were trying to drive and tie it up at seven. That kid had a great play from Port, he went right up underneath and ran that back. He threw another pick. But he went in the locker room and we ran the same play in the second half and it proved big for us.
"Jordan's a gamer. It doesn't matter whether it's offense, defense or special teams. He will do anything that he can do, like the other 26 kids on the team, to help our team win," Heindl said.
Ridgway answered as Matheson returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards up the middle to make the margin 20-7.
Buchanan caught a 61-yard touchdown just 1:12 later as Bodamer was able to sidestep to his left and find the open receiver for the score.
Tyce Miller caught a 20-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone with 3:57 left to put the lead at 33-7.
Ridgway was able to strike before halftime, taking advantage of good field position off a short Gator kickoff. Starting at the Elker 40-yard line, Ridgway drove 60 yards for a touchdown. Sorge had a 32-yard reception on a 4th-and-8 play to set up the Elkers with 1st-and-goal at the 6-yard line. Sam Delhunty plunged in from a yard out to make the margin 33-14 at halftime. Delhunty led the Elkers with 64 yards rushing.
"The score is not in our favor at the end of the day but if you were here to see this game, you got to see something special from these kids," Heindl said. "They're such a fun group of kids to be around. They're trying to compete constantly. They came into halftime, refocused and you saw the difference in the second half."
Ridgway (0-1) hosts Smethport (0-1) at 7 p.m. Friday night.
Ridgway 0 14 0 21 - 35
Port Allegany 13 20 0 13 - 46
P - Charlie Buchanan 30 pass from Matt Bodamer (Tyler Burr kick), 9:55
P- Trey Miller 84 interception return (conversion failed), :30
P - Bodamer 1 run (Rickie Bova pass from Bodamer), 11:16
R - Eric Matheson 90 kickoff return (Matheson kick), 11:06
P - Buchanan 61 pass from Bodamer (pass failed), 9:54
P - Tyce Miller 20 pass from Bodamer (pass failed), 3:57
R - Sam Delhunty 1 run (Matheson kick), :14
P - Buchanan 24 pass from Bodamer (Burr kick), 10:11
R - Aaron Sorge 56 pass from Jordan Lundin (Matheson kick), 9:57
R - Matheson 60 pass from Lundin (Matheson kick), 5:47
P - Buchanan 31 pass from Bodamer (kick failed), 2:36
R - Matheson 10 pass from Lundin (Matheson kick), 1:08
Ridgway Port Allegany
12 First Downs 12
42-154 Rushes-Yards 34-75
234 Passing Yards 311
388 Total Yards 386
2-0 Fumbles-lost 3-2
8-65 Penalties-Yards 5-35
Passing: Ridgway: Jordan Lundin 8-14-234-3-2, Joe Jaques 0-1-0-0-1. Port Allegany: Matt Bodamer 17-26-311-5-0, Tyce Miller 1-1-0-0-0.
Rushing: Ridgway: Sam Delhunty 14-64, Eric Matheson 14-49, Logan Wickett 9-34, Mike Cappiello 1-4, Jordan Lundin 4-3. Port Allegany: Garrett Drabert 5-22, Matt Bodamer 16-17, Trent Neal 4-16, Trey Miller 5-14, Johnny Sena 4-6.
Receiving: Ridgway: Aaron Sorge 5-147, Eric Matheson 2-70, Kyle Caggiano 1-17. Port Allegany: Charlie Buchanan 8-165, Rickie Bova 5-102, Tyce Miller 3-28, Paul Green 1-9, Trent Neal 1-7.