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Awesome Opener

Red Raiders Top Hamburg, 47-6, To Begin Season In Impressive Style

Above, Jamestown’s Jaylen Butera scores one of his three touchdowns during Friday night’s Section VI Class A1 season-opening football game. Second, teammate Demarri Jones breaks a tackle after making one of his four receptions. P-J photos by Valory S. Isaacson

Playing their first football game since November 2019, the Jamestown Red Raiders showed little rust on a chilly Friday night at Strider Field.

Coach Tom Langworthy’s team was sitting on a 14-0 lead after running just three offensive plays, eventually claiming a 47-6 Class A1 victory over visiting Hamburg to begin a five-game regular season.

“I’m just really excited for our team,” Langworthy said after the win. “Morale is high. We’ve been waiting to play for such a long time and now we get to. Get out with a win. Just to get to see the smiles on these kids faces does mean a lot.”

Waiting for weeks and months to find out if they would even have a chance to play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Red Raiders were understandably excited to finally step on the turf last night.

“Oh it feels great. I am just so proud of our players,” Langworthy said. “I don’t think they ever lost hope throughout even some of the difficult setbacks of the summer and the fall. They never lost hope, and it says a lot about their character and their belief in the program, and now they come out here and do something that no one has ever done before, which is win a game in the spring and just reestablish ourselves as a dominant football program and a program that takes this seriously.”

No one looked more excited early on than Demarri Jones, who picked up a sack on the first defensive series of the night, as the Bulldogs were forced to punt facing third and long.

On the next play, the ball would find its way over the hands of punter Brady Reinagle, who was forced to turn and dive on the ball, giving Jamestown a first down at the Hamburg 30-yard line.

Jaylen Butera would rip off a 29-yard run right up the middle on the first offensive play from scrimmage for the Red Raiders, and Jones would bang home the first score from a yard out. An extra point from freshman kicker Ella Propheter would make it 7-0.

Hamburg would fail to recover from its early miscue, giving the ball back with a fumble that was scooped up by Jamestown’s Takye Branch on the following series.

With a first down at the Bulldogs 17-yard line, Jones got the call once again, taking a forward pitch from quarterback Trey Drake for a 17-yard score to make it a two-possession game after just three plays.

“Those guys are special athletes and we were able to get it to them and get off to a hot start, capitalize, and I think that was really important for us,” Langworthy said. “That is always something that we want to do is start off quick. I’m also really proud of our line. They have not missed a workout. They come to everything. They have been repping the same plays since we have been able to get back to practice.”

Those first three plays were a sign of more dominance to come, as Hamburg once again stalled out on its third offensive series due to a false-start penalty and a booming tackle by Markell Carter.

Beginning at their own 31-yard line, the Red Raiders would get started with a pair of good runs by Butera before Trey Drake was able to hit Colin Melendez on a seam route to move the chains once more. Butera would pound home another run from eight yards out for the third score of the day, and the lead would grow to 21-0 after Propheter bounced in another kick off the bottom bar.

Propheter, whose father Steve coaches the Red Raiders jayvee team, would finish her night with five extra points. Initially planning to spend the year kicking for the jayvees, she was given the opportunity to make her mark on varsity at the start of the year.

“Ella is a very very good soccer player and her father, Steve, is our jayvee coach, so she was kicking with him, and we thought that maybe she would be able to do both,” Langworthy said. “But the rule states that in order to play in a jayvee and varsity game you need 48 hours of rest in between. So I left it up to Ella and Steve. She wanted to play on varsity, and that is what she’s doing, and she had an awesome game. You look down the roster and you see, 5-5, 115, freshman that is a kicker. That is pretty special and I’m really proud of her. She did a great job and she works really hard at it.”

Following the lead of the offense, Jamestown’s defenders would continue to step on the gas in the second quarter as Jadiel Johnson earned a tackle for a loss.

After showing his skill in the run game, Jones would make his pass-catching skills known with 7:50 remaining before halftime. Cutting inside his defender on a slant, the senior was hit in stride with a clean throw by Drake, shedding his man and sprinting 53 yards to the end zone.

Offense, defense, running and catching–Jones had it all on Friday.

“I thought he was all over the place on defense,” Langworthy said. “He was making plays on his side and also on the back side. He was chasing things down, he was defeating blocks.”

Jamestown would make it 33-0 with 3:01 remaining in the second quarter as Butera broke into the second level on a run and shed multiple tacklers on a 37-yard sprint to the end zone.

The junior would double up on that performance, hitting paydirt from 57 yards out on his next score.

Drake would get into the end zone on Jamestown’s seventh and final touchdown with a 1-yard keeper, and Ryan Gamolka would break the stalemate for Hamburg with a 29-yard scoring run in the final quarter of play.

Butera would lead the way on the ground with six carries for 135 yards and three scores, while Devin Anderson added 50 yards on three carries. Jones would end his night with four carries for 17 yards, four catches for 106 yards, six tackles and three sacks while Drake finished 8-of-13 for 189 yards and two scores.

Johnson collected six tackles, including two for a loss, for Jamestown.

The Red Raiders will travel to meet Grand Island next Saturday at 6 p.m.

Hamburg 0 0 0 6–6

Jamestown 21 12 14 0–47

Jam–Jones 1 run (Propheter kick)

Jam–Jones 17 from Drake (Propheter kick)

Jam–Butera 8 run (Propheter kick)

Jam–Jones 53 pass from Drake (Kick fail)

Jam–Butera 37 run (Pass fail)

Jam–Butera 57 run (Propheter kick)

Jam–Drake 1 run (Propheter kick)

Ham–Gamolka 29 run (Pass fail)

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