For the first time this season, the Jamestown Red Raiders were held scoreless in the first quarter. Some observers probably thought their scoring average of 54.8 per game would suffer.
Jamestown then went on to score 52 points in the middle two quarters for a 52-8 Class AA win over the Clarence Red Devils at Strider Field on Friday night.
The Jamestown Red Raiders’ defense gang-tackles a Clarence ball carrier during Friday night’s Class AA football game at Strider Field. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Jim Riggs
That ''dropped'' the Red Raiders' scoring average to 54.3.
There was no drop in quarterback Jake Sisson's totals. He completed 8-of-9 passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns and rushed four times for 71 yards and two more touchdowns. He also passed for three two-point conversions.
The senior now has 34 touchdowns - 20 passing and 14 rushing.
Jamestown, which is ranked No. 1 among large schools in Western New York and 14th in the state Class AA rankings, is now 6-0 overall and 5-0 in Class AA while Clarence falls to 1-5 and 1-4.
Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy knew the Red Devils' record was deceiving and he expected a battle, which the Red Raiders got in the first quarter.
''It's so hard to replicate Clarence's offense during the week,'' he said about the Red Devils' double-wing offense. ''It's a tough offense to stop and it's a tough offense to practice against because you can't replicate it. So early in a game it takes us a while to get going with the speed.
''They had a good game plan. They tried to keep our offense off the field and they did a good job of that in the first quarter.''
Clarence took the opening kickoff and drove to the Jamestown 8-yard line with 12 straight running plays. Most were by Devils' Emaure Williams, who had six carries for 40 yards.
Then the Red Raiders' defense came alive.
The Red Devils went from first-and-goal at the 8 to fourth-and-goal at the 40 where they turned the ball over on downs. Williams was dropped on two straight runs for minus 3 and 9 yards. Then quarterback Lex Oakes was pulled down by Jacis Blake for a 9-yard loss and the he was sacked by Joe Mistretta and Damien Jackson for a 10-yard loss.
''To keep the offense diversified we have to take some shots on the perimeter,'' Clarence coach Mark Layer said. ''When you do that, occasionally you can get a play for a loss and we got a play for a loss. Now we're in a passing situation and we get sacked (twice). It was just one thing on top of another that marched us back.''
Langworthy said, ''That was a key part of the game because if they score first that changes the complexion of the game a little bit. But I'm confident if they did we would have maintained our poise and bounced back and got a score right back.''
After taking over, Jamestown went three-and-out and punted away.
Clarence called for a fair catch and started a drive from its own 23. The running game continued to gobble up yardage, not just with Williams, but also with Joe Wesolowski and Stephen Marzano. After picking up two first downs, Williams carried for 9 yards, but injured his left knee. He left the game and didn't return, which was a major blow to the Red Devils.
''He's our biggest weapon,'' Layer said. ''He's our go-to kid in he running game and the passing game and in the kick-return game, so to lose someone like that... But we put some young kids out there and they stepped up a little bit.''
Langworthy said, ''He's been a thorn in our side for a few years. He's their best athlete and they want to get the ball to him as much as possible. I don't think it changed the game in terms of the final result, but it obviously changed what they did and how they attacked us.''
On a fourth-and-one play at the Jamestown 43, the Red Raiders held and took possession. After an 11-yard run by Sisson and a 7-yard completion to Brian Park, Sisson found Ben Larson open in the left corner of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown play and Panebianco kicked the extra point to a 7-0 lead with 9:02 left in the first half.
''We ran a dump, we knew the safety was coming down,'' Sisson said. ''It was going to be a one-on-one pop and I saw the safety come up on the dump, Larson had him beat and I just let him run underneath it.''
Langworthy said, ''We were able to convert on our second drive. That was really big for us.''
Clarence went three-and-out, punted away and Jamestown scored again.
On the first play, Sisson took off on a 37-yard keeper and then hit Panebianco for a 2-yard gain. On the next play, Sisson hit Panebianco, who dove for a catch in the right corner of the end zone for a 21-yard scoring play. Carlson caught a two-point pass from Sisson and the Jamestown lead grew to 15-0.
''We knew they were in man coverage and their safety either had to guard the post or the flag into the corner of the end zone,'' Panebianco said. ''I just faked in, got him to turn his hips and Sisson put it out there for me and I just made the catch.''
On the Red Devils' next possession, Oakes pitched the ball, but the runner went the wrong way and the ball was bouncing on the turf. Michael Parker picked it up and raced untouched 31 yards for a touchdown and Panebianco caught a two-point pass from Sisson for a 23-0 lead with 3:20 left in the half.
''I was so hyped,'' Parker said. ''I saw it in the open and I just picked it up and ran as fast as I could to score.''
Clarence bounced right back and, sparked with a 26-yard run by Brandom Ruszala, it reached the Red Raiders' 3-yard line before the hosts made a couple of stops and time expired in the half.
''I thought the stop before half was huge,'' Langworthy said. ''That could have made it 23-7 and instead it was 23-0 and we got the ball right back and scored out of the half. That was big stop for us defensively.''
The second half found the Red Raiders playing like they did in the previous five games.
They took the second-half kickoff and scored on a 19-yard keeper by Sisson and then he passed to a wide-open Park for two points and a 31-0 lead.
Clarence fumbled the ball away on its next possession and Dylan Anthony recovered it at the Jamestown 44. On the Red Raiders' first play, Sisson found Carlson wide open for a 56-yard touchdown pass and Panebianco's kick moved the lead to 38-0.
''We knew they were playing man coverage and we like our matchups in man,'' Carlson said. ''We knew we could beat them in man one-on-one and that's what happened. The corner kind of fell off real hard and I was just wide open, no even there. It was a pretty easy catch.''
Then came the highlight-reel play of the game.
The Red Devils' next possession ended with a punt that Panebianco caught on a bounce at his own 26. He moved to the right and found a group of Clarence defenders, so he circled back to the left and found his path blocked again. He circled again to the right and found an open lane down the sideline for a 74-yard touchdown, which was more like 120 yards. His extra-point kick moved the lead to 45-0 with 4:51 left in the third quarter.
''I tried to go right, nothing there, thought I had the corner in the left end, had to circle back and had to circle back to the right,'' Panebianco said. ''Joe Mistretta and a couple of other people set up a wall and I just went down the sideline.''
Jamestown wasn't through scoring in the quarter as with 38 seconds left, Sisson scored on 3-yard keeper and Park kicked the extra point for a 52-0 lead with 38 seconds left in the third.
Zacc Kinsey set up the touchdown with a 40-yard run and the Red Raiders had scored 50 points for the sixth straight game.
The shutout ended with 2:30 left in the game with the Red Raiders' second string on the field. Ethan Reger of the Red Devils recovered a fumble in the end zone and Scott Pinto ran for a two-point conversion.
Kinsey was Jamestown's rushing leader with 71 yards on five carries and Da'quon Hollingsworth had 44 yards on five attempts.
The Red Raiders were led on defense by the trio of Dylan Anthony with 11 tackles, Carlson with 10 and Jackson with nine.
The Red Raiders complete the regular season next Friday with a 7 p.m. Class AA game at Orchard Park, a place the Red Raiders haven't won in 20 years. The Quakers are ranked sixth in WNY with a 5-1 record overall and 4-1 in Class AA. They play at Niagara Falls today.
Jamestown and Orchard Park have met in the Class AA title for the past two seasons and the Quakers have won each time.
''We have a lot to play for and I'm excited about it,'' Langworthy said.
Clarence0 0 0 8 - 8
Jamestown0 23 29 0 - 52
Jam-Larson 30 pass from Sisson (Panebianco kick)
Jam-Panebianco 21 pass from Sisson (Carlson pass from Sisson)
Jam-Park 40 fumble recovery (Panebianco pass from Sisson)
Jam-Sisson 19 run (Park pass from Sisson)
Jam-Carlson 56 pass from Sisson (Panebianco kick)
Jam-Panebianco 74 punt return (Panebianco kick)
Jam-Sisson 3 run (Park kick)
Cla-Reger fumble recovery (Pinto run)