Things were looking good for the Jamestown Red Raiders for three quarters on Friday night at Strider Field as they held a 14-3 lead over the Orchard Park Quakers. But then the visitors exploded with 20 fourth-quarter points to pull out a 23-14 Class AA South victory.
''We came out here and executed our game plan and it worked up until the last quarter,'' Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy said. ''You've got to give credit to Orchard Park. They got momentum back in their favor and they made some things happen.''
Orchard Park coach Gene Tundo said, ''That was one of the nicest comebacks, except for state championship game we came back in. They were taking it to us, but we hung there. It says a lot about our team. It was a complete team victory and I give our guys a lot of credit.''
Joe Campion of Jamestown picks up yardage against orchard Park during Friday night’s Class AA?South game at Strider Field. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
The clock seemed to move extremely slow for the Red Raiders while the Quakers were happy to look up and see plenty of time left when they began their comeback.
''That's why you play four quarters,'' Tundo said. ''I think we outlasted them and a couple of our guys came up big and did a great job.''
Langworthy said, ''We've got to finish games to be great. Great teams finish ballgames and that's something we've got to work on, but I'm very proud of this team. We fought hard, we played with a lot of heart and passion. Sometimes you work as hard as you can and you don't come out on top.''
With the win, Orchard Park, which is ranked fourth among large schools in Western New York and 17th in the state Class AA poll, finished 5-1 in Class AA South to earn a No. 2 seed and 6-1 overall. Jamestown, ranked eighth in WNY, falls to 3-3 in Class AA South and 4-3 overall.
Win or lose, it looked like the Red Raiders would be seeded fourth in Class AA South anyway. The only thing that could change that is if Frontier (3-2) loses to Bennett (1-4) today. If that happens, Jamestown would be seeded third and still would have a road game in the quarterfinals of the Section 6 playoffs.
Still, a win over Orchard Park would have been a great way to enter the postseason and the Red Raiders got a good start toward that goal in the opening minutes.
On Orchard Park's first possession, Connor Hicks fumbled on a reverse and Joe Campion picked up the loose ball for Jamestown and rambled 25 yards for a touchdown. Eric Tyra kicked the extra point and the Red Raiders were in front, 7-0, after 3:23 of play.
See JHS, Page B-2
''The worst thing that could happen,'' Tundo said. ''We timed up the play wrong and maybe I shouldn't have called it. It was a bad call, I'll take that one.''
On the Quakers' next possession, they drove to the Jamestown 10 where they were stopped and Austin Reese kicked a 27-yard field goal to cut the Jamestown lead to 7-3 with 4:57 left in the first quarter.
Another Orchard Park turnover led to another Red Raiders' touchdown.
Jamestown went three-and-out after the field goal and was forced to punt, but the ball was fumbled by the Quakers and Cortland Haines recovered the it for the Red Raiders. They drove 65 yards in 11 plays with Campion scoring from a yard out and Tyra's kick increased the lead to 14-3 with 10:23 left in the first half.
On its next possession, Orchard Park began to move with the passing game, but eventually turned the ball over on downs at the Jamestown 31. After the Red Raiders went three-and-out, the Quakers began to move again with the running of Okoya Anderson, who finished with 204 yards yards on 39 carries. But after a Jamestown penalty on a fourth-and-two play kept the drive alive, the Quakers went to the air twice and the second pass from quarterback Kyle Witkowski was intercepted by Tyra to preserve the Red Raiders' 14-3 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was a standoff, but Jamestown had the best scoring chance.
On the Red Raiders' first possession of the second half, they drove to the Quakers' 21 where they faced a fourth-and-five. Campion picked up 2 yards and Jamestown turned the ball over.
Tyra has kicked a field more than 30 yards this season and he would have had a strong wind behind him, but Langworthy said he never considered attempting it.
''We were going to try to score (a touchdown),'' he said. ''We were little bit too far out of what we thought was our range. We wanted to punch it in and that would have made it a three-score game and we would have felt pretty good about that.''
The Quakers went three-and-out and then on their next possession they lost their third fumble of the game that Camryn Knight recovered at the Red Raiders' 26.
However, Jamestown turned the ball back over with an interception by Paul Leavell and five plays later Leavell scored from a yard out. the Quakers then attempted a two-point pass that failed to keep the Jamestown lead at 14-9 with 8:14 left to play.
The Red Raiders went three-and-out after the kickoff and Ne'Kyle Taylor had to punt into a strong wind. His punt ended up going only 7 yards to give the Quakers a drive start at the Jamestown 28. Six plays later, Witkowski scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper and then he passed to James Fitzgerald for two points and a 17-14 lead with 4:19 left.
Jamestown's next possession ended with another interception by Leavell at the Red Raiders' 36. From there, with the help of a 15-yard penalty on Jamestown, Orchard Park used four plays to score on a 4-yard run by Anderson and Reese kicked the extra point for a 23-14 lead with 43 seconds left.
Orchard Park put an exclamation mark on its comeback win when it sacked Jamestown quarterback Dennis Drew on the last play of the game.
Witkowski completed 13-of-23 passes for Orchard Park for 125 yards while Drew was 7-for-13 for 42 yards.
Jamestown's leading rusher was Campion with 88 yards on 27 carries.
Tyra led the Red Raiders' defense with 16 tackles while Ben Whitney had 15 and Haines 11.
Now the Red Raiders will await to hear their opponent in the Section 6 Class AA playoffs. It is expected to be the winner of today's Riverside at Kenmore West game in Class AA North.
|Orchard Park||3 0 0 20 — 23|
|Jamestown||7 7 0 0 — 14|
|Jam—Campion 25 fumble recovery (Tyra kick)|
|OP—Reese 27 FG|
|Jam—Campion 1 run (Tyra kick)|
|OP—Leavell 11 run (pass failed)|
|OP—Witkowski 1 run (Fitzgerald pass from Witkowski)|
|OP—Anderson 4 run (kick failed)|