Dec. 7, 2012
PIAA Class A Semifinals at Deer Lakes High School
Port Allegany's Matt Bodamer sets single-season Pennsylvania yards passing mark; ties single-season passing TD mark 
Port Allegany senior QB Matt Bodamer became PA's single-season passing yards leader while tying the state record for single-season TDs in the Gators loss to Clairton in the PIAA semifinals Friday

Photo by Paul Burdick -  

Nick Conway extended his District 9 single-season touchdown record to 24 with a late TD in the game

Photo by Paul Burdick -  

By Chris Rossetti

CHESWICK – For a half Friday night, Port Allegany looked poised to possibly shock the world, but in the end arguably the best season in Gators history ran into too many Clairton athletes in a 44-12 loss to the Bears in the PIAA Class A semifinals at Deer Lakes’ Lancer Stadium.

Port Allegany (13-1) trailed unbeaten Clairton (15-0), owners of the nation’s longest current winning steak – now at 62 in a row, - 16-6 at halftime but were outscored 28-0 over the first 17:43 of the second half.

“They are three-time state champions for a reason,” Port Allegany head coach Mike Bodamer said. “They have a whole different type of athlete. They deserve it. They are a good team.

“I’m proud of the kids. They came down and played with all they had.”

Clairton, which didn’t reach the scoreboard until midway through the second quarter despite averaging 48.3 points per game, the fourth-best mark in the state, broke the game open on the first drive of the second half going 66 yards in just four plays with Boyd, who has scholarship offers from many NCAA Division I schools including both Pitt and Penn State, accounting for 50 of the yards including a Barry Sanders-like 33-yard touchdown run 1:05 into the half.

Boyd, who ran 15 times for 104 yards, started right, broke back to the inside and then bounced to his left before diving at the pylon, touching it for a touchdown that put Clairton up 24-6.

“That’s just the type of kid he is,” Mike Bodamer said. “He just breaks games wide open. That kid has moves. That’s why he is a Division I prospect. He definitely looks the part.

“At halftime, we were pretty happy. We told the guys we were in the game. But we told them the big thing was the opening kickoff of the second half. If we could stop them … but they came out and ran the ball right down our throats.”

Boyd’s highlight-reel score was just the start of the second-half onslaught for Clairton.

On the Bears next possession, Armani Ford found a wide open Terrish Webb, a Kent State recruit, over the middle with Webb taking the pass the distance for a 61-yard touchdown and a 31-6 lead with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter, Webb had five grabs for 131 yards and two scores with Foster going 8 of 13 190 yards and one touchdown.

Clairton made it three-for-three on second-half possessions to touchdown the next time it had the ball scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter when Brandon Murphy ran through Port tacklers like a hot knife through butter for a 15-yard score and a 37-6 lead.

“We tackled poorly in the second half,” Mike Bodamer said. “We had way too many hand tackles.”

By the time Vinny Moody scored from a yard out with 6:17 left in the game to put the Mercy Rule into effect at 44-6, the only question that remained was whether Port Allegany start quarterback Matt Bodamer, who broke Brockway’s Derek Buganza’s state record for yards in a season in the first half, would tie South Fayette’s Christian Brumbaugh for the single-season touchdown thrown mark.

It turned out that Matt Bodamer, who finished the season with 3,951 unofficial yards (bettering Buganza’s 3,824) and his career with an unofficial total of 10,948 yards, also the state record, was able to get the single-season touchdown tying mark on a 10-yard toss to Nick Conway with 47 .9 seconds left against the Clairton reserves. It was the 52nd touchdown toss of the season for Bodamer extending his state career record to 137.

“It was an impressive career,” Mike Bodamer said about his son’s four years for the Gators. “He’s done everything we asked him to do. He worked his rear end off. He’s a very good football player. We devised the offensive around him, so the numbers are what they are because of the offense we run. But we ran it because he can do the job.

“It’s a great accomplishment for Matt and for the team, but I think they would much rather have the game or have it be much closer. Matt is over the idea of any state records. He just wanted to keep playing. We did our best. We met Goliath and David didn’t beat him this time.”  

Matt Bodamer didn’t have the type of game against Clairton he probably hoped for going 12 of 24 for 193 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. It was the first time he has been held under 200 yards passing when attempting at least 20 passes since the final game of his sophomore season.

“Matt threw the ball, and when the kids caught it (Clairton’s) kids closed on them so fast,” Mike Bodamer said.

The one Port Allegany receiver who had a great game was senior Conway, who caught seven passes for 140 yards and the touchdown and had a chance to show off his state-championship hurdle speed on a 59-yard screen pass that set up the Gators first touchdown in the first half. Conway finished the season with officially 77 catches for a District 9-best 1,482 yards and a District 9-record 24 touchdowns.

“He’s a track star in himself,” Mike Bodamer said. “Nick has done a great job. Tyce (Miller; 79 catches, 1,426 yards, 18 TDs) has done a great job. I just feel bad it had to end this way. But it had to end sometime.”

The game was scoreless until midway through the second quarter when Boyd, who finished with 102 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, broke free for a 15-yard touchdown run giving Clairton an 8-0 lead after he ran in the two-point conversion out of the muddle huddle.

But Port Allegany answered right back needing just two plays and 26 seconds to return the favor.

Trent Neal got the touchdown on a 6-yard run, but a beautifully executed 59-yard screen pass from Matt Bodamer to Conway set up the score.

The Gators missed the two-point conversion but trailed by just two, 8-6.

Clairton was able to get the lead to 16-6 at the half when Boyd, who played a good portion of the first half in the Wildcat, tossed a three-yard scoring pass to Webb, who finished with five catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

“We knew this game was going to be close, but I didn’t think it would be that close at halftime,” Webb said.  “I’ve got to give them credit.”

NOTES – Port Allegany was trying to become the first District 9 team in any division to reach a state championship game since Smethport in 1992 in Class A and only the third D9 team to make a state title game (Keystone did so in Class A in 1989 beating Clairton 15-14 in the semifinals) … District 9 teams have now lost seven consecutive PIAA semifinals games with six of the losses coming in Class A and one in Class AAA with all seven losses coming to WPIAL teams. Kane in Class A in 2007 was the last District 9 team to reach a PIAA semifinal losing to Serra Catholic … Clairton will face Dunmore in the PIAA title game 1 p.m. Friday in Hershey … It was the 1,000th game in Clairton history with the school improving to 612-347-41 all time … Boyd’s touchdown gives him 116 in his career, the WPIAL record and seven shy of the state record.   


Score by Quarters

Port Allegany 0 6 0 6 – 12

Clairton 0 16 15 13 – 44

Scoring Summary

Second Quarter

C – Tyler Boyd 15 run (Boyd run), 5:50

PA – Trent Neal 6 run (Pass failed) 5:24

C – Terrish Webb 3 pass from Boyd (Boyd run), 1:28

Third Quarter

C – Boyd 33 run (Brandon Murphy pass from Armani Ford), 10:55

C – Terrish Webb 61 pass from Ford (Bryon Clifford kick), 4:49

Fourth Quarter

C – Murphy 15 run (Kick failed), 11:53

C – Vinny Moody 1 run (Clifford kick), 6:17

PA – Nick Conway 10 pass from Matt Bodamer (Pass failed), 47.9


                                                PA                   CL

First Downs                            8                      19

Rushes-Yards                          22-50               43-282

Passing Yards                         193                  193

Passing: Comp-Att-Int            12-24-2            9-15-0

Total Yardage                         243                  475

Punts-Avg.                              4-34.8              1-49.0

Fumbles-Lost                          1-0                   2-0

Penalties-Yards                       2-28                 11-65


Rushing – Port Allegany: Trent Neal 10-41, Matt Bodamer 9-9, Tyler Shaffer 3-0. Clairton: Tyler Boyd 15-104, Bryon Clifford 10-64, Brandon Murphy 3-57, Vinny Moody 3-34, Tyus Booker 5-30, Armani Ford 3-7, Robert Boatright 1-1, Team 3-minus 15.

Passing – Port Allegany: Matt Bodamer 12-for-24, 193 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions. Clairton: Armani Ford 8-for-13, 190 yards, 1 touchdown; Tyler Boyd 1-for-1, 3 yards, 1 touchdown; Bryon Clifford 0-for-1.

Receiving – Port Allegany: Nick Conway 7-140, Tyce Miller 3-15, Trey Miller 2-38. Clairton: Terrish Webb 5-131, Sateaun Sims 2-34, Robert Boatright 2-28.

Interceptions: Clairton 2 (Boyd, Webb).