FOOTBALL: Sheffield suffers first AML North defeat
PORT ALLEGANY – Sheffield was coming off a huge victory over Coudersport last week, and looking forward to an even bigger matchup with Smethport next week on Wolverine Mountain.
They had Port Allegany standing in their way.
“We weren’t prepared,” said Sheffield head coach Dave Fitch, whose Wolverines were shocked by an 18-13 AML North road loss on Saturday.
“I blame this one on me and my coaches,” said Fitch. “I just told the kids that. As a coaching staff, sometimes you believe you are at a certain point, and it’s a trap for the staff. I’m not saying this was a trap game, but as a coaching staff maybe we should’ve worked a little bit harder, and prepared a little bit longer this week.”
It was almost four minutes into the second quarter before either team could put points on the board. On the third play of a drive from the Port Allegany 37-yard line, running back Tyler Shaffer powered through several tackles and got into open field for a 63-yard touchdown run and 6-0 lead.
After three incomplete passes, the trailing Wolverines were looking at a fourth and 10 from the Gator 46 with under two minutes to go in the half. Sheffield quarterback Adam Higby sailed a ball deep down the Wolverines’ sideline to connect with Noah Heeter for the 54-yard tying score. Port Allegany was able to block the extra point, so the two teams went into the locker room tied at 6-6.
Halfway into the third quarter, Shaffer struck again. This time on a 31-yard carry that took him from one side of the field to the other until he finally made it into the end zone. The Gators were not successful on the two-point try, leaving them with only a six point lead.
For the second time Saturday, Sheffield found itself trailing, but it was just a matter of time before running back Jereek “The Streak” Jackson, who already had 90 yards on the day, busted free for a big one. After a crucial defensive stand, forcing Port Allegany to punt from its own 19, Sheffield had the ball in great field position around midfield. On fourth down and two, Jackson showed his speed, bursting past Gator defenders for the 48-yard game-tying touchdown. Following the Jimmy Vile kick, the Wolverines held a 13-12 advantage with under three minutes to go.
The Wolverines, who were two-of-two with onside kicks Saturday, decided to kick it deep to Shaffer. Shaffer caught the high kickoff at his own 19 and took it 81 yards to take back the lead, 18-13.
The loss drops Sheffield to 3-1 in the AML North (4-3 overall). The Wolverines are hoping to regain top spot in the North, as they host the unbeaten in league Smethport Hubbers (4-0 in AML North) on Saturday.
“Nothing is lost in the grand scheme of next Saturday’s game,” said Fitch whose Wolverines won the time of possession and yardage battle.
They had 67 offensive plays to Port’s 36, and 351 total yards to Port’s 158. Sheffield just wasn’t able to finish. Each team turned the ball over twice.
“Our focus is regrouping the team, getting their spirits back up, and being prepared for the big home game next Saturday,” said Fitch.
Sheffield-Port Allegany Stats
P-Tyler Shaffer 63 run, 8:50 (Conversion failed)
S-Noah Heeter 54 pass from Adam Higby, 1:49 (Kick blocked)
P-Shaffer 31 run, 5:58 (Conversion failed)
S-Jereek Jackson 48 run, 2:50 (Jimmy Vile kick)
P-Shaffer 61 kick return, 2:36 (Conversion failed)
RUSHING-Sheffield, Jackson 20-138 TD, Dustin Holden 10-36, Brandon Kipp 1-(-2), Higby 9-(-34); Port Allegany, Shaffer 14-128 2TD, Mac Tanner 4-9, R.J. Veilleux 2-6, Chad Gaines 1-4, Jordan Seefeldt 7-(-10).
PASSING-Sheffield, Higby 14-25, 213 yards TD, 2 INT, Tommy Reeves 0-2-0; Port Allegany Seefeldt 3-8, 21 yards.
RECEIVING-Sheffield, Heeter 6-123 TD, Vile 2-18, Kipp 3-15, Reeves 2-6, Jackson 1-1; Port Allegany, Veilleux 3-21.