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Lancaster Gets Best Of Red Raiders In Class AA Semifinals

Jamestown’s Elijah Rojas catches a touchdown in front of a Lancaster defender during Friday’s Section VI Class AA semifinal at Strider Field.

P-J photo by Chad Ecklof

One by one, the seniors on the Jamestown football team were greeted by their coaching staff near one end zone.

Hugs and short conversations were exchanged.

Tears were shed.

It was not the kind of postgame scenario the Red Raiders had envisioned.

Jason Mansell and his Lancaster teammates had a lot to do with that.

The junior quarterback passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more, and the Legends’ defense came up big time and time again to send No. 5 Lancaster to a 28-7 victory over No. 1 Jamestown in a Section VI Class AA semifinal at frigid Strider Field on Friday night.

“It was a tough game,” Red Raiders coach Tom Langworthy said. “I don’t think we played our best and I thought Lancaster played really well. They blocked and tackled better, they’ve got a great program. Hat’s off to them.”

Mansell passed for 161 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 39 yards and two more TDs, which was more than enough to send the Legends (7-2) to their fourth straight sectional title game. Winners of the last three crowns, they’ll be a tough out next Friday when they meet No. 2 Orchard Park, a 21-14 winner over No. 3 Bennett.

The Red Raiders (7-2) saw how tough Lancaster can be.

Mansell tossed touchdown passes of 24 and 80 yards in the first quarter to senior Shawn Davis and senior Ethan Jurkowski respectively, and then added a second-quarter TD burst from 8 yards out in the second period to give the Legends a 21-0 lead at the half.

As it turned out, that margin was more than enough.

Sophomore Jaylen Butera had another banner performance — he rushed for 152 yards on 24 carries, caught one pass for 33 yards and was credited with five tackles — but the hosts turned the ball over three times and failed to get any points on three different trips inside the Legends’ 20-yard line.

“We told (Butera) he was going to have to take an even additional role with (Savon VanSickle) out (with a knee injury), and he did,” Langworthy said. “He did everything he could have. Our guys left it on the field. We just didn’t execute.”

Jamestown’s only touchdown came in the third quarter when freshman quarterback Trey Drake connected with junior Elijah Rojas on a 6-yard touchdown pass on fourth down. Otherwise, yards through the air were hard to come by for the Red Raiders as Lancaster pressured Drake from start to finish, limiting him to 9 of 21 passing for 76 yards, two interceptions and a fumble lost.

“We made some mistakes and they also made some nice plays on the ball,” Langworthy said. “We also had some mistakes running. We had opportunities in the red zone and came away without points. It’s tough. You can’t win playoff games doing that. It all comes down to our execution. We didn’t execute when we needed to and they executed better. As painful as it is to say that, it’s the truth.”

The Legends closed out the scoring in the fourth quarter when Mansell scampered 14 yards for the score. The touchdown was set up by Davis’ 42-yard kickoff return.

While Lancaster moves on to New Era Field and the pursuit of a fourth straight sectional title, Langworthy will take time to remember the Red Raiders’ special season.

“When the disappointment settles in, we’ll realize we probably overachieved with what other people thought,” he said. “Going into this season, we knew we had some really nice athletes, but they all played on jayvees last year. We just really didn’t know what to expect, but they got better throughout the year. The kids were great to coach, they’re great in school, they work hard, they love each other. It was one of my favorite seasons to coach, it really was.”

NOTES: Rojas caught five passes for 46 yards and the touchdown, complementing Butera’s stellar effort. … Senior Josh Tonkin led the Red Raiders on defense with six tackles, and sophomore Drayce Garland and Butera added five apiece. … Cody Phillips led Lancaster’s ground attack with 85 yards on 18 carries. … Senior Clark Whiteside booted all four extra-point tries for the winners. … Senior Andrew Dix of Jamestown was successful on his only point-after attempt.

Lancaster 14 7 0 7 — 28

Jamestown 0 0 7 0 — 7

Lan–Davis 24 pass from Mansell (Whiteside kick)

Lan–Jurkowski 80 pass from Mansell (Whiteside kick)

Lan–Mansell 8 run (Whiteside kick)

Jam–Rojas 6 pass from Drake (Dix kick)

Lan–Mansell 14 run (Whiteside kick)

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