High school football fans in Western New York are looking forward to Oct. 5. That is when defending state champion Orchard Park, currently ranked No. 1 among large schools in Western New York and No. 1 in the state, visits Jamestown, which is ranked No. 5 In WNY and No. 10 in the state.
Both are undefeated and tied for the Class AA South lead and the last time they met was in the sectional championship game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
However, that showdown is the furthest thing from the Red Raiders' (4-0, 2-0) minds as they prepare to visit Frontier in a Class AA South game tonight at 7:30. The Falcons are 2-2 overall and 1-2 in Class AA South and some might call it a trap game for Jamestown, but coach Tom Langworty doesn't agree.
Jamestown quarterback Jake Sisson, head coach Tom Langworthy and the rest of the Red Raiders try to make it five straight wins tonight when they travel to Frontier.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
''I wouldn't say it's a trap game because they're good,'' he said. ''In our league it's always tough to play on the road and they're always tough to play in general. They're two and two, but they lost their first game to West Seneca West. Then they lost to Orchard Park and they're ranked No. 1 in the state. This team is good and they're going to give us a good game. It's their homecoming, it's up there, we beat them last year and I'm sure they want to pay us back.''
In the past, the Red Raiders have had their hands full playing at Frontier and have suffered a couple of disappointing losses.
The Falcons gave Orchard Park everything it could handle last week. The Quakers had to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns to nail down a 27-10 win.
''They run the option with the dive back (Kenny Kahler) and the dive back is a good player, the quarterback (Ben Koch) is a good player and they'll pitch it to their pitch man (Cam Coon) is a good player too, so you've got be accountable for all of it,'' Langworthy said.
His defense, which has allowed only 45 points in four games, should be up to the challenge.
John Czech leads the Red Raiders in tackles with 39 while Zack Eklum has 26, Maiker Anderson 21, Mike Watson 20, Zach Panebianco 18, and Cortland Haines and Joe Mistretta 17 each.
''That's the way defense should be played,'' Langworthy said about the balance. ''It's team defense and guys are getting to the football. I don't think our guys really care who gets the credit and that's what makes a team a good team. And that's what makes a good team a great team.''
And he hopes the defense continues its trend.
''Everyone's got one-11th of the defense to do and we have to make sure we're disciplined because if someone tries to do someone else's job, that's when you get in trouble,'' Langworthy said.
The Red Raiders' defense had no trouble last week as it held West Seneca West's highly touted rushing offense to only 110 yards and most came in the fourth quarter after Jamestown cleared its bench.
The bench was cleared because the Red Raiders scored two touchdowns in the opening five minutes en route to a 35-0 halftime lead and the Red Raiders cruised to a 42-8 victory.
Leading the way was running back Da'Quan Hollingsworth with 16 carries for 148 yards and four touchdowns.
''We knew we could play better than we had the first three games,'' Langworthy said. ''We just continued to ask more of our kids because we knew they were capable of more. That offensive explosion that we saw was exactly what I thought we could do and what we needed to do.''
With the big lead, plenty of Red Raiders got to see action and lots of it in the fourth quarter.
''It was 42-0 with about three minutes left in the third quarter and we started to get some other guys in there,'' Langworthy said. ''Our group, they work hard, so they deserve to get some playing time. One of our goals every game to get everyone in. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't and when it does happen it's really rewarding to the players and the coaches as well.''
He'd like to see his starters build up another early lead tonight so the bench can be cleared again.
Then the Red Raiders can start thinking about Orchard Park.