The Port Allegany Gators’ football team held off a late two-point conversion attempt by the Panthers with 1:15 to play to win their first playoff game since 2012 on Friday, November 5th.
Keystone’s Bret Wingard hooked up with Xander McHenry for a nine-yard scoring pass beforehand, but the Gator defense forced an incomplete pass to preserve the victory.
The Gators made the playoffs in 2015 but fell to Kane three years after the trademark season in 2012 when Port finished 13-1 as District Champions with a 47-8 thumping of Clarion and picked up a state playoff win over Sharpsville as well, 28-21.
For the second straight week, the Gators scored all the points they needed to win the game in the first half.
Both touchdowns were scored by quarterback Drew Evens on a three-yard run halfway through the first quarter and a big one-yard run on the final play of the half that capped off a 13-play 84-yard drive that chewed up 6:36 of the clock for a 14-6 halftime lead.
Noah Archer played a large role in the drive with a 32-yard run that advanced the ball to the plus 24-yard line.
The Panthers answered the Gators’ first score with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Bret Wingard to Xander McHenry, but the two-point conversion pass was no good.
Both missed conversions were the difference for Keystone, as the Panthers would have won it if both succeeded.
Noah Archer led Port Allegany’s offense with 16 carries for 97 yards while Blaine Moses had 96 yards on 32 carries.
The Gators dominated the time of possession, 30:57-17:03 with a run-heavy offense that ran 54 times for 215 yards as a team.
Keystone struggled on offense, mustering just 34 yards on 17 total carries and finished with 164 total yards. They also ran just 33 plays compared to 60 for Port Allegany.
The win avenged a 36-30 home loss to Keystone back on September 3rd.
The Gators improve to 6-4 and will travel to top-seeded Redbank Valley (9-1) this Friday night for a tough semifinal matchup.
Keystone wraps up a successful season with a record of 7-3.