Elk County Catholic closed out the 2010 football season on Friday night as they lost a 47-40, four overtime thriller to the Port Allegany Gators in the opening round of the District 9-A playoffs at Dutch Country Stadium.
Both teams turned in outstanding performances last night in a game that was exciting from start to finish.
This was the second meeting of these two squads this season as the Crusaders took the opening meeting back in September by a 27-20 score, but this time around the Gators came out on top and will advance to the second round of the District playoffs as they will do battle with the Redbank Valley squad, which defeated Kane on Friday.
“This has been a very good season and it was a pleasure coaching this group of kids,” said Travis Skrzypek, head coach of the Crusaders. “I felt both teams played very well tonight as neither team gave up. They battled hard right down to the bitter end.”
“Port Allegany did a good job against us tonight and I wish them the best of luck for the rest of the playoffs,” added Skrzypek. “We made a few mistakes in the game which the Gators turned into points, but for the most part we played very well.”
“I am extremely proud of these kids, especially the seniors who played in their final game tonight. These kids worked hard all season long and were a pleasure to be around,” noted the ECCHS coach.
Ricky Pearsall was once again the leading rusher for the Crusaders with 212 yards in 31 carries. He also rushed for five touchdowns, three in regulation and two in the overtime. Cole Gerber accounted for the other ECCHS score on a 36 yard run.
Seth Lowery led the Port Allegany squad with 144 yards on 33 carries and four touchdowns.
Defensively the Crusaders were led by Zac Brody, Scott Stubber, Jake Geer, Brock McCullough, Jake Cortina, Joe McLaughlin, Pearsall, and Sam Schneider, as they came up with key tackles, an interception (Geer).
Port Allegany opened the scoring in Friday’s playoff game when Kenny Kysor booted a 32 yard field goal early in the opening period.
The Crusaders rebounded from the field goal by taking the kickoff and moving 77 yards in eight plays to hit paydirt. The touchdown came on an eight yard run by Pearsall to make it 7-3 following David Bojalad’s PAT.
Port Allegany took over on their own 25 following Elk’s kickoff. They moved the ball to the EC 46 as the quarter ended then drove the ball the remaining 46 yards to regain the lead by a 10-7 score. Bodamer scored from a yard out and Kysor booted the PAT.
The Port Allegany kickoff went out of bounds so Elk took over on the 35. Pearsall moved it to the 44, then Kyle Schneider picked up a first down on the 46. Gerber moved it to the 48. Pearsall broke free on a 52 yard touchdown run to give Elk a 13-10 lead as the PAT was no good.
Elk’s defense stopped the Gator offense on their next series, forcing them to punt. The Gator punt was fielded on the Elk 40 by Brock McCullough and returned to the Port 21 yard line. Gerber and Pearsall moved the ball to the four, then Pearsall took it the final four yards to make it 19-10. Bojalad added the PAT to make it 20-10.
With time running out in the first half the Gator moved the ball to the Elk Catholic seven yard line where Kysor kicked a 17 yard field goal as time ran out in the half to make it 20-13.
The second half opened with the Gators being forced to punt on the first second half possession. Elk turned the ball over on an interception as the Gators took over on their own 33. Port needed just five plays to hit paydirt to tie the game at 20-all. The touchdown came on a seven yard run by Lowery, but was set up on a 28 yards pass play from Bodamer to Miller. Kysor made the PAT.
There was no more scoring in the third period but early in the final period Elk Catholic’s Cole Gerber broke loose for a 36 yard touchdown run to give Elk County a 26-20 lead with 11:03 left in the game. The PAT was wide.
Later in the fourth quarter the Gators threatened as they drove to the Elk Catholic six yard line where an interception by Jake Geer ended the threat.
Elk was unable to generate any offense so they had to punt with the Gators taking over on the ECC 32 yard line with 3:26 left to play. The Gators drove to the Elk Catholic 10 when they had a first and goal. They moved it to the one on the next two plays, but were stopped short of the goal on the third down play. Lowery bulled his way in for the tying touchdown on the fourth down play. The PAT was missed thus making the score 26-26 with 44 seconds left to play.
Elk moved the ball to the Port Allegany 34 yard line before time ran out forcing the first overtime.
In the first overtime period Elk got the ball first and on the first play Pearsall ran 10 yards for the score, 32-26. Bojalad split the upright, 33-26. Port Allegany needed just two plays to tie the score as Bodamer hit Neal in the endzone with a five yard td pass, while Kysor made the PAT, 33-33.
In the second overtime Port Allegany got the ball first and scored on their third down play on a three yard run by Lowery. Kysor split the uprights to make it 40-33. Elk Catholic needed three plays to tie the game as Pearsall scored from eight yards out and Bojalad made the PAT to make the score 40-40.
Neither team score in the third overtime period, but in the fourth OT the Gator scored what proved to be the winning touchdown on a three yard run by Lowery to make it 47-40 following the PAT. Elk’s attempt to score in the fourth OT ended with an interception in the endzone, as Port held on for a very exciting 47-40 win.
Elk Catholic finished the season at 7-3.
Seniors playing their final game for the Maroon and Gold were Ricky Pearsall, Kyle Schneider, Sam Schneider, David Bojalad, Zac Brody, Jake Cortina, Kyler Breakey, Ben Daghir, Anthony DePrator, Josh Gebauer, Scott Stubber, Jake Geer, Tyler Herzing.
For more on this story see the Nov. 13 edition of The Daily Press.