The final score of 27-8 didn't indicate it, but the Jamestown Red Raiders were involved in a nail-biter with Kenmore West last week in its season-opening football game.
Jamestown led 7-0 at halftime, but found itself behind, 8-7, early in the second half. But 25 seconds later, quarterback Jake Sisson and Stephen Carlson connected on a 56-yard touchdown pass and that was the start of the Red Raiders scoring 20 points in about six minutes.
''We preach overcoming adversity every day,'' Red Raiders coach Tom Langworthy said. ''When we went down 8-7, our guys were very positive on the sideline. We knew we'd find a way to come back. That's what I'm most proud of. Instead of hanging our heads, we did something about it.''
He added, ''And once we scored, we used that momentum to get a couple more.''
So Jamestown got off to a 1-0 start with the Class AA non-league victory, but it was game that was far from perfect. The Red Raiders had five penalties for 45 yards, fumbled twice and lost one, and were intercepted twice with one setting up Kenmore West's lone touchdown. And that touchdown came on a 43-yard pass to a wide-open receiver. So to finish with a 19-point win was a major plus.
''I think with the first game, to win is really big because either way you've got to build on it,'' Langworthy said. ''It's much more enjoyable to build once you've won your first game. So I'm happy that we won, but we also made it very clear that I think we're just scratching the surface of what we can do. This week we're not looking to just to get better, but to execute better and eliminate those mistakes. Our youth showed and our inexperience showed at times.
''But no more excuses. These guys have a game under their belt. They understand the level of play that is needed and the level of intensity. Now we have to make improvements every week.''
And this week the improvement will have to be made at Niagara Falls in another Class AA non-league game at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Sal Maglie Stadium.
Going back to last week, Langworthy was pleased with the play of his team that features a lot of newcomers.
''Our kids learned,'' he said. ''For a lot of our guys it was the first time starting ever in a varsity game and I don't think you can really replicate what a varsity game is like until you're in it.''
Da'Quan Hollingsworth led the running attack with 77 yards on 17 carries. And they were tough yards.
''In the middle they (Kenmore West) played it tough, they played well,'' Langworthy said. ''They had a good game plan and really pressured us up the middle. ''
Directing the offense was junior quarterback Jake Sisson, who only a couple of weeks ago was still living in Arkansas. He completed 5 of 10 passes for 145 yards and and also ran for 63 yards on 10 carries.
Sisson was intercepted twice, but didn't let it bother him.
''When you're playing quarterback in an offense that throws the football you have to have a short memory because it's not always going to go as planned,'' Langworthy said. ''I thought Jake hung in there. I'm sure there are some plays he would like to have back, but he also made some really nice plays.''
The defense really shined despite the loss to Cortland Haines, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee five days before the opener.
''Our guys stepped up,'' Langworthy said. ''We had rotation on the offensive line and we had some fresh guys in. We've had the depth to provide a mixture of big guys that plug the holes up and some of our quick guys that penetrate, so we kind of mixed it up there.''
He added, ''I thought our linebackers played well. It was just a good, solid defense. We gave up some yards, but we didn't give up a lot of scores.''
And that's without Haines, who is supposed to be the team's top defensive player. He is scheduled to be back for the third game of the season at Lancaster on Sept. 14.
''He can be back as early as this weekend, but it's all about his comfort level and what is best for him,'' Langworthy said. ''So it's wait and see at this point.''
With or without Haines, the Red Raiders must try to hold Niagara Falls, which suffered a 16-10 loss at Lancaster last week. The Wolverines led 10 at halftime before giving up 16 second-half points.
''The Falls is fast and dangerous and can score on any play,'' Langworthy said. ''They run the football well and they're very quick and very athletic. We have to be sound in everything we do because they are really dangerous.''
They would have been more dangerous with a senior running back who was predicted to be a 1,000-yard rusher, but he is academically ineligible.
Handling the bulk of the Niagara Falls' rushing were Shaolin McCray and Jaylin Smith.
Quarterback Ricky Bailey runs the offense and last week he had an 8-yard touchdown pass to Amir Miles.
The Wolverines' other scoring last week came from Kyle Deween with a 35-yard field goal.
After two Class AA non-league games, the Red Raiders open Class AA South play next Friday at Lancaster at 7:30 p.m.