JAMESTOWN – Jamestown’s 2012 homecoming game will be one that is remembered for a long, long time.
In an extremely eventful game that produced a very momentous result, the Red Raiders knocked off top-ranked Buffalo News large school and defending Class AA state champion Orchard Park, 35-28, delighting a crowd of about 3,000 at Strider Field.
“It’s a great night for our program and our players,” Jamestown fifth-year coach Tom Langworthy said. “We really felt good about our program these last few years, but we needed to get over that last hump, and that was Orchard Park. For tonight, we did that.
“I’m really proud of our kids, the way we did it, the way we fought, and the way we depended on each other throughout the game. It’s just fantastic. It’s a great night for the program and the community.”
The victory ends an 18-game win streak for Orchard Park, which was also ranked first in the state in Class AA. Orchard Park’s last loss came against Clarence in the 2010 Section VI final.
The Jamestown victory also ended a 12-game losing streak against the Quakers. The last time the Red Raiders beat OP was in Week Three of the 2002 season when sophomore Joel Rowe hit a late 37-yard field goal to give No. 2 Jamestown a 17-14 win over No. 1 OP.
Jamestown (5-1, 3-1 AA South), ranked eighth among large schools, jumped to a 21-7 lead, held a 21-14 halftime advantage and led by 28-20 after three quarters.
After Orchard Park (5-1, 4-1 AA South) tied the game at 28-28, Jamestown came right back for the game-winning drive.
Junior Da’Quan Hollingsworth had a video-game kickoff return, running to the left side, avoiding tacklers and zig-zagging his way back to the right, to set up Jamestown at the OP 29 with 6:32 left to play.
On fourth and 7, junior quarterback Jake Sisson hit sophomore Zach Panebianco with a pass over the middle that not only got the first down but set the Red Raiders up at the OP 7.
On second and goal from the 8, Sisson hung up a nice pass in the deep right corner of the end zone, where only the jumping, 6-foot-2 sophomore Stephen Carlson could come down with it for the touchdown.
The kick by Panebianco was good and Jamestown had its 35-28 lead with 3:55 left.
“I told these guys that we’re scoring; we’re not losing this game,” said Sisson, who threw three touchdowns and ran for another.
OP’s next possession ended when junior Josh Colwell tipped away a fourth-down pass. After Jamestown ran time off the clock, OP had a last-ditch effort as it took over with 1:14 left. The Quakers had a hook-and-lateral play go 70 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back as the lateral part appeared to be correctly called a forward pass. A fumble on OP’s next play was recovered by senior Conner Anderson for Jamestown, which ran out the clock.
“It was a great football game,” OP coach Gene Tundo said. “They beat us in the first half. They outplayed us. Their quarterback made some great throws and they made some great catches. They’re a great football team and they deserve it.”
Earlier in the fourth, Orchard Park had driven for a game-tying score with 6:50 left in the game. Jett Modkins went in from 1 yard out, and then the OP line pushed forward as he ran in for a two-point conversion to make it 28-28.
In a wild first half, Orchard Park came out strong, Jamestown responded to take a two-touchdown lead, and OP then got a huge score despite its starting quarterback going down.
Ben Holmes left the game soon after Jamestown took a 21-7 lead in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury. OP coach Tundo said only that Holmes “was just not feeling well; he didn’t feel right.”
With things looking bleak for OP at that point, the Quakers rallied in the final seconds of the half behind backup Kevin Goltz, a sophomore who was called up from junior varsity earlier this season. Goltz hit older brother Austin, a senior, on big plays to give OP one last shot at the end of the half. Kevin Goltz delivered an outstanding pass to his brother for an 11-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 21-14 with :01 left in the half.
In the third, Orchard Park cut the lead to 1 on senior Mitch Wilson’s 80-yard run down the left side. The Red Raiders came right back as Sisson hit Justin Capuano, who was named Homecoming King at halftime – on the right side of the end zone for a 10-yard score and a 28-20 Jamestown lead with 1:16 left in the third.