Jamestown football coach Tom Langworthy knows what former Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy was talking about when he used to asked his players before a game, ''Where else would you rather be than right here, right now?"
Langworthy feels that way about tonight's Class AA game against the Lancaster Redskins (3-0, 3-0) at 7 at Strider Field.
''As far as motivation this week, my job's pretty easy,'' he said. ''We've got an undefeated team coming to town, it's homecoming, the weather is going to be beautiful and there's a zero percent chance of rain.''
Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy hopes to see more of this type of defense from his Red Raiders tonight.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
Add to that, Langworthy is coaching an undefeated team (3-0, 3-0) that is ranked third among large schools in Western York (Lancaster is ranked seventh) and 17th in the state. His Red Raiders are also the highest-scoring team in Section 6 with 160 points after three games, an average of 53 points a game.
Jamestown's point production nearly doubles Lancaster's (81).
However, the Redskins will counter with the third-best defense in Section 6. They have allowed only seven points and those points came in an opening 22-7 win over Kenmore West. Since then, the Redskins shut out West Seneca West, 42-0, and Niagara Falls, 17-0.
So can a good defense stop a good offense? We'll see tonight.
''I would say their defense is really good,'' Langworthy said. ''They're aggressive, they don't give up big plays and they're fundamentally sound.''
The Lancaster challenge will be to stop an offense that has scored 50, 54 and then 58 points last week. Those are impressive numbers, but they don't surprise Langworthy.
''I knew that we had the capability to be a high-scoring and high-powered offense because we have so many of the guys back at the skill positions,'' he said
He added, ''When we get up, it causes other teams to panic and they force themselves into mistakes. That's kind of what we had planned and it's been working so far.''
The spark of the offense has been quarterback Jake Sisson, who has completed 45-of-75 passes for 944 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is also the top runner with 255 yards on 30 carries.
Running back Da'Quon Hollingsworth has 249 on 48 rushes and the favorite targets for Sisson have been Stephen Carlson with 15 catches while Zack Panebianco has 13 and Ben Larson 10.
While Sisson is a double threat alone on offense, Lancaster features the same as a team.
''They kind of have a two-headed attack,'' Langworthy said. ''Usually when we see teams, they have one identity. They're either a spread team or they're a power team. Lancaster poses a threat because they're a spread team and a power team.''
And that will be a challenge for Jamestown, which has given up 74 points, the fifth most in Class AA. Langworthy would like to see an improvement on the defensive side of the ball.
''What I want to be is well balanced offensively and defensively,'' Langworthy said. ''It's very uncharacteristic for us to give up some of the points we've been giving up and I'm not comfortable with that at all.''
A good example was last week in a 58-32 win over South Park.
''We gave up two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter that kind of put a sour taste in our mouth on Friday,'' Langworthy said. ''Before that we gave up a touchdown when they went on a nice drive and then we gave up a touchdown on a long pass that we had a miscommunication on, so to give up (those) 16 to a team like South Park I feel like is OK. It's the last two that really irritated me and I think the kids understand that kind of stuff can't happen if we want to go to the places that we want to go.''
The Jamestown defense has been balanced with Joe Mistretta leading in tackles with 23 followed by Cameron Haberberger and Kevin Mosley with 22; Stephen Carlson with 21; Panebianco, Jacis Blake and Erik Tingue with 19; and Damien Jackson with 16. Haberberger is the sacks leader with 3.
Langworthy hopes they can keep the Lancaster touchdown total to a minimum tonight.