In their first four games, the Jamestown Red Raiders have faced an undefeated opponent and handed each their first loss of the season. And Jamestown has done it quite easily by scoring an average of 54.5 points a game as the Red Raiders lead Section 6 in scoring with 218 points.
Tonight in a Class AA football game at 7 at West Seneca West, things will be quite different. Not only are the host Indians winless (0-4, 0-4), but they have also scored the second-least points in Section 6 with a total of only 9.
It would be difficult for even Lou Holtz to make West Seneca West sound like a formidable opponent. So when looking at tonight's game, Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy admits, "It's different because our kids know that this is a team that has not been playing well and is struggling. I and our coaching staff pride ourselves with being honest with the kids, so we're not coming into the game saying that this is a great team."
So the expectations tonight are different.
"It's going to show our character how we come out and play,'' Langworthy said. ''The standard isn't necessarily to win, the standard is to play well and meet our own expectations and win. I would say this week just winning isn't good enough for us. What's good enough is making sure when we walk off the field after the fourth quarter, we feel good about it."
Even though the Red Raiders are 4-0, ranked No. 1 among large schools in Western New York and 16th in the state Class AA poll, that hasn't happened every week.
"I go back to the South Park game (a 58-32 win two weeks ago),'' he said. ''For three quarters we felt great, but we had a sour taste in our mouths walking off the field after the game because we gave up two touchdowns late. We didn't take care of the football, we made some fundamental mistakes. So the expectation in this game is not just to win, it's to win our style and feel good about what we were able to do in all three phases of the game."
He added, "We're better than them talent-wise, but that doesn't matter if we don't execute from 7 to 9:30 on Friday."
And Langworthy will have his team ready for anything.
"We're going to have to earn it, we're going to have to make plays, drive the field, stop them and we know we're going to get their best game because we have a target on our back,'' he said.''They have nothing to lose, so we're expecting trick plays, we're expecting onside kicks. Losing to us is no embarrassment. Beating us would make their entire season."
And how could the Indians possibly do that?
"West Seneca West is going to try to go on long, methodical drives,'' Langworthy said. ''Try to get 3 to 4 yards a carry, use up the entire play clock and shorten that game. We try to lengthen the game an extra quarter, they're going to try to shorten it an extra quarter, so ball control is going to be huge."
He added, "They're not going to give us anything, we've got to make sure we take it. I expect West Seneca West to be very fired up when we come in there and look to pull off an upset. If we're foolish enough to go in there and think we're just to walk in and get handed a victory, it would be one of the colossal embarrassments in Section 6."
So Langworthy is making sure his team isn't overconfident.
"My guard's always up on weeks like this and they (he players) know that," he said. "My eyes and ears are going to be keen all week on how we're behaving. I think it's a demonstration of character. Now that we have a couple of nice wins and a couple dominating performances, are we just going to be complacent and sit and rest and kind of take a week off or are we going to continue moving forward?"
The Jamestown high-power, no-huddle offense continued to move forward last week. After scoring 58 points the previous week, the Red Raiders scored 58 points in the first half against Lancaster. With all those points, it's easy to overlook some flaws, but not for Langworthy.
"Our tackling on special teams needs to improve,'' he said referring to some long kickoff returns by Lancaster. ''Our inside run game still needs to improve. We're moving the ball a lot with (quarterback) Jake (Sisson) running inside and (running back) Da'Quon (Hollingsworth) running outside and throwing the ball, but we also would also like to be more balanced in between the tackles."
He added, "Defensively we gave up the big play right before the half and those are points you can't give up. Eventually we're going to be in a tight ballgame and those little details are going to matter."
Sisson continues to pile up impressive numbers. Last week he completed 18-of-24 passes for two touchdowns and he also rushed for 21 yards and two more touchdowns.
The senior has now passed for 1,211 yards, rushed for 324 and has been responsible for 24 touchdowns.
He remains the team rushing leader, but by only 1 yard over Hollingsworth, who has 323 yards on 61 carries.
The receiving corps is led by Zack Panebianco with 20 catches for 446 yards and two touchdowns. Close behind is Stephen Carlson with 18 catches for 303 yards and three touchdowns while Brian Park with 10 receptions for 256 yards and four touchdowns and Ben Larson with 10 catches for 153 yards and three touchdowns.
Langworthy was pleased with an improvement in his defense last week. And it has been a very balanced defense.
The leader in tackles is Kevin Mosley with 35 followed by Carlson with 34, Joe Mistretta with 33, Cameron Haberberger with 30, Damien Jackson with 26, Panebianco with 23, and Eric Tingue and Jacis Blake with 22 each.