The Jamestown Red Raiders enjoyed an extra home game on Saturday night with a 35-7 Class AA non-league victory over the Niagara Falls Wolverines.
The game was scheduled to be played at Sal Maglie Stadium in Niagara Falls at 2 p.m. But Sal Maglie Stadium was unplayable because of heavy rains on Friday and Saturday and the game was moved to Strider Field.
The change in venues and the unusual start-and-stop schedule didn't bother the Red Raiders, who were almost to Niagara Falls when they got the news.
Jamestown quarterback Jake Sisson is about to break loose for a 33-yard touchdown run during the Red Raiders’ Class AA non-league win over Niagara Falls on Saturday night at Strider Field. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
''Once we announced it to the kids, they were ecstatic,'' Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy said about playing at Strider Field. ''They were really excited, they were cheering on the buses.''
The team turned around and headed back to Jamestown.
''They went home, had a couple of hours off, they came back and I thought we played well,'' Langworthy said. ''One of the things we always talk about is being able to overcome adversity and I don't know if this is adversity. It's a situation that occurred and it was out of our control.''
And he stressed, ''We love coming back and playing at Strider.''
It was a strange day for both teams, but Langworthy said, ''At the end of the day we were just playing a football game.''
The Red Raiders jumped out to a 21-0 first-half lead and cruised to the victory to remain undefeated at 2-0.
''The thing at this point of the season is you want to get better every week and I think we were much better tonight than we were last week (in a 27-8 win over Kenmore West),'' Langworthy said. ''We still have a long way to go.''
After Niagara Falls opened the game with a three and out, Jamestown drove 72 yards in four plays to score. The big play was a 53-yard run by Da'Quan Hollingsworth, who also scored the touchdown on a 3-yard burst through the right side. Zach Panebianco kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 9:18 left in the first quarter.
When asked what set up the 53-yard burst, Hollingsworth said, ''The blocks. Without my blocks I wouldn't be able to make it.''
But that's also why he didn't make it into the end zone.
''I was going to take it up and I ran into one of my blockers,'' said Hollingsworth, who finished with 97 yards on 14 carries. ''I would have taken it home if he would have moved over a little.''
After another possession without a first down for the Wolverines, Jamestown scored again in 10 plays from 80 yards.
Quarterback Jake Sisson had two completions of 9 and 17 yards in the drive and the touchdown was a 2-yard ran around the right side by Tristan Holland on a fourth-down play. The extra-point kick was blocked and the Red Raiders led 13-0 with 11:02 left in the second quarter.
Niagara Falls' next possession ended with an interception by Josh Colwell at the Wolverines' 46. After a 7-yard run by Hollingsworth, Sisson hit Mike Watson with a pass for a 39-yard touchdown play. Jamestown lined up for an extra-point kick, but holder Colwell instead passed to a wide open Stephen Carlson for two points and a 21-0 lead.
''It was pretty much an open field,'' Watson said about his touchdown catch. ''It was a pretty good read by Sisson. He's a new quarterback and we've been trying to build a lot of chemistry and I give him all the credit for that (play).''
Sisson said, ''Quan (Hollingsworth) picked up a nice block for me and I had time to pass it. The safety ran over to the other side because it was the wide side and Watson came right there. I hit him and he ran.''
Suddenly, Niagara Falls came to life with a 33-yard run by Fred Bryant followed by a 32-yard touchdown run by Demarco Scarborough that featured numerous broken tackles. Kyle Deween kicked the extra point and the Jamestown lead was cut to 21-7 with 8:08 left in the first half.
''They had a little swing in momentum there and I felt that we had a bad series on defense and that's how they go that touchdown,'' Langworthy said. ''We had to clean that up. We had all the momentum. We were up 21-0 and they were able to get a score on the board and that changed things a little bit.''
But not for long.
The Red Raiders answered back late in the half, thanks to the throwing and running of Sisson, who finished with 88 yards rushing on eight attempts and completed 6 of 11 passes for 111 yards.
Sisson hit Conner Anderson with a 15-yard completion and after an incompletion, Sisson ran for 9 yards followed by a 33-yard touchdown run up the middle. Panebianco's extra-point kick sent Jamestown to the locker room at halftime with a 28-7 lead.
''That was great,'' Sisson said about his touchdown run. ''The line did a nice job. Quan had the block to spring it.''
After taking the second-half kickoff, Sisson had a short pass intercepted on the second play. However, Niagara Falls eventually punted and Sisson had the Red Raiders back in the end zone again on an 88-yard scoring drive in seven plays.
Sisson opened the drive with an 11-yard run and later had completions for 15 yards to Anderson and 14 yards to Watson. Then he capped the drive with a 49-yard pass to Panebianco, who was wide open behind the defense and Panebianco also kicked the extra point for a 35-7 lead.
Panebianco said he wasn't surprised to be so open.
''Mike (Watson) ran the same play and he got wide open earlier, so we knew it would be there again,'' he said. ''So we ran it and it was wide open.''
Sisson wasn't surprised, either.
''We've been running that play all week in practice,'' Sisson said. ''And the line had a nice blitz pickup because they were blitzing on almost every play.''
Late in the third quarter the Wolverines recovered a fumble at the Jamestown 19-yard line, but that scoring opportunity ended when Panebianco intercepted a pass at the Red Raiders' 10.
Late in the fourth quarter, the visitors reached the Jamestown 10, but a sack by John Czech for a 9-yard loss stalled the drive that ended with three incomplete passes and the Red Raiders took over on downs.
It was that type of defense that also had Langworthy pleased. Czech was the leader with nine tackles and one sack while Zach Eklum had eight tackles and Joe Mistretta had six. Watson also recorded a sack.
The Red Raiders open Class AA South play on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. game at Lancaster.
Niagara Falls0 7 0 0 - 7
Jamestown7 21 7 0 - 35
Jam-Hollinsworth 3 run (Panebianco kick)
Jam-Holland 2 run (kick failed)
Jam-Watson 39 pass from Sisson (Carlson pass from Colwell)
NF-Scarborough 32 run (Deween kick)
Jam-Sisson 33 run (Panebianco kick)
Jam-Panebianco 49 pass from Sisson (Panebianco kick)