ORCHARD PARK - The Orchard Park Quakers ran to the Section 6 Class AA football title on Saturday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Orchard Park rushed 42 times for 476 yards while the Jamestown Red Raiders ran 28 times for only 103 yards and that was a major difference in the Quakers' 35-20 victory.
''They definitely made a commitment to stop the inside run game,'' Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy said after his team fell in the title game to Orchard Park for the second straight year.
Jamestown quarterback Jake Sisson goes to the air during the first half of Saturday’s Section 6 Class AA championship football game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J?photos by Jim Riggs
Cortland Haines finds running room during the first half.
Jamestown’s Stephen Carlson fights for yardage after making a reception in the first half of Saturday’s Section 6 Class AA championship game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
The Quakers mainly stopped Jamestown running back Da'Quan Hollingsworth, who was held to 20 yards on 11 carries.
''There were times when I thought he was one guy away (from breaking a big run),'' Langworthy said. ''I thought it was hard for us to pick up a rhythm tonight offensively and they did a good job defending.
Orchard Park coach Gene Tundo agreed.
''I thought we did a pretty good job,'' he said about his defense and mainly stopping Hollingsworth, who ran for 122 yards and a touchdown when the Red Raiders defeated the Quakers in the regular season.
''In the first game we didn't tackle him,'' Tundo said. ''We tackled much better (tonight). Obviously you want to stop him, but you've got to tackle him before you can stop him.''
The Red Raiders didn't very often stop the running attack of the Quakers, who had quite a few long gains up the middle.
''We practiced them all week and we came up with some big runs. Mitch (Wilson) had a great game (24 carries for 276 yards) and Jett (Modkins (had some good runs (7 for 104). Our line was phenomenal.''
The score was tied 7-7 at halftime when there was turning point. Jamestown opened the second half with a 65-yard touchdown pass to take the lead, but in less than a minute, Orchard Park tied the game.
''There's probably a series of three or four plays during the game that if they went our way or the other, that was going to be a deciding factor,'' Langworthy said. ''We knew that. That play (the Quakers' quick touchdown response) was a big play and some of their running plays in the second half. They were able to run the ball on us and run right at us. We had a hard time with that. But we had our opportunities and didn't convert. They had some opportunities and didn't convert. Just a few plays here and there and we just didn't get it taken care of tonight.''
Jamestown's season ends with an 8-2 record while Orchard Park's record moves to 9-1 and the Quakers will play the winner of today's Section 5 Class AA championship game between Aquinas (6-3) and Pittsford (8-1) in the Far West Regionals on Saturday at 6 p.m. at All-High Stadium.
There was no scoring in the first quarter as the Quakers had two possessions and Jamestown had one long possession of 14 plays. The Red Raiders ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Orchard 18. Jamestown could have tried for a field goal, which would have been from about 30-plus yards, well within Zach Panebianco's range. However, Langworthy decided against it.
''I thought we needed to score a touchdown and I didn't think the percentage of a field goal (through narrower NFL goalposts) was real good,'' he said. ''You've got to score touchdowns against Orchard Park.''
The Quakers got on the scoreboard first on its first possession of the second quarter when they drove 67 yards in seven plays. Quarterback Ben Holmes picked up 15 yards on a third-and-14 play to keep the drive alive and later Wilson gained 22, thanks to missed tackles, on a third-and-one. After an Orchard Park penalty, Holmes hit Austin Goltz with a 28-yard touchdown pass and Tim Wagner kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 5:23 left in the first half.
Jamestown came back and tied the game with the help of its ''bulldozer,'' which is Tundo's description of 6-foot-2, 265-pound Cortland Haines. Lately the center and linebacker has been lining up in the backfield taking direct snaps and he did twice for gains of 13 and 34 yards. But the next time Haines took the snap he fired a perfect pass to Stephen Carlson for a 33-yard gain to Quakers' 10.
'''It was a good ball,'' Langworthy said about Haines' pass. ''We knew he could throw for the whole year. Cortland's talents are definitely plentiful.''
The Red Raiders eventually reached the 5 where quarterback Jake Sisson gained 4 yards on a keeper before fumbling into the end zone. That's where Mike Watson recovered the ball for a touchdown and Panebianco kicked the extra point with 1:17 left in the half to tie the game at 7-7 and it remained that way into halftime.
After the lack of scoring in the first half, there was plenty in the third quarter.
The Red Raiders took the second-half kickoff and on their first play, Sisson found a wide open Panebianco behind the Quakers' defense for a 65-yard touchdown and Panebianco's kick gave Jamestown a 14-7 lead 30 seconds into the second half.
''We had it set up in the locker room,'' Panebianco said. ''We knew the coverage on that play and we knew it would be open. I ran a good route, Jake made a good throw and that was it.''
And there was another factor.
''Quan made them come down on him hard (faking a run around the left end) and I popped out wide open,'' Panebianco said.
''I think we caught them flat-footed,'' Sisson said. ''They expected Quan to run the jet sweep to the left.''
The quick score to open the second half was important.
''We knew we needed to and it would help us a lot,'' Panebianco said. ''And it did, for a moment.''
That's because it took Orchard Park only 56 seconds to tie the game. On the Quakers' first play after the kickoff, Jett Modkins lived up to his name as he broke loose up the middle to a 50-yard gain. He would have scored, but Josh Colwell chased him down with a tackle at the Red Raiders' 15. Two plays later, Wilson scored from 13 yards and Wagner's kick tied the game at 14-14 with 10:24 left in the third quarter.
Jamestown's next possession ended when Modkins intercepted a Sisson pass at the Quakers' 30. A 36-yard scramble by Holmes, sparked by a big block by Goltz, put the ball at the Jamestown 13. Two players later, Holmes hit Goltz with an 11-yard touchdown pass, but Wagner missed the extra point to keep the Quakers' lead at 20-14 with 5:43 left in the third quarter.
Jamestown answered back with a long drive kept alive with a Panebianco-to-Ben Larson pass completion on a fake punt and 4-yard run by Sisson, who finished with 65 yards on 11 carries, on a fourth-and-one. But it all came to an end on a fourth-and-14 play when Goltz intercepted a Sisson pass at his team's 17. Two plays later, Wilson ripped up the middle for an 80-yard touchdown run and Modkins ran in a two-point conversion for a 28-14 with 10:01 left to play.
As fourth quarter wound down, Jamestown suddenly found itself back in the game.
The Red Raiders were forced to punt and Wilson picked up gains of 4 and 2 yards for the Quakers. But on a third straight run, he fumbled and Watson picked up the ball at the Orchard Park 43 and ran untouched to the end zone for a Jamestown touchdown. Panebianco's extra point kick failed, but the Red Raiders were back in the game, trailing to 28-20 with 5:43 left to play.
The Quakers job after taking the kickoff was to literally run out the clock and they were off to a good start when Wilson rushed four straight times and picked up two first downs. However, after the fourth run he left the game with an injury and Modkins took over the chores. He had three straight runs for gains and the last was 29 yards for a touchdown and Wagner kicked the extra point for a final score of 35-20.
Haines led the Red Raiders' defense with 14 tackles while Justin Capuano had 12 and Watson nine.
Jamestown is losing quite a few seniors, but it also has numerous underclassmen returning, including Hollingsworth, Sisson and Panebianco.
''We have a young team coming back and we'll be ready for next year when next year comes,'' Langworthy said. ''We've got talent, no doubt about it, and I think we have a culture of winning and I think that's important, too. There's a time and place to focus on next year, but I don't think it's tonight.''
Jamestown0 7 7 6 - 20
Orchard Park0 7 13 14 - 35
OP-Goltz 28 pass from Holmes (Wagner kick)
Jam-Watson fumble recovered in end zone (Panebianco kick)
Jam-Panebianco 65 pass from Sisson (Panebianco kick)
OP-Wilson 13 run (Wagner kick)
OP-Goltz 11 pass from Holmes (kick failed)
OP-Wilson 80 run (Modkins run)
Jam-Watson 43 fumble recovery (Panebianco kick)
OP - Modkins 29 run (Wagner kick)