Players in Saturday night’s Class AA final should keep their head on a swivel. The fans should, too.
When Jamestown and Orchard Park meet for the championship for the second straight year at 7 p.m. Saturday, there are certainly two outstanding teams going at it. Jamestown is ranked third among large schools in The Buffalo News poll while Orchard Park is right behind at No. 4.
But both teams have diversified their already outstanding attacks in recent weeks, particularly on offense.
In Jamestown’s semifinal victory over Frontier, top lineman Cameron Haines – all 6-foot-2, 265 pounds of him – was used at tailback in short yardage situations and ran for two touchdowns, of 4 and 2 yards.
For Orchard Park, this year’s quarterback, senior Ben Holmes, has the ability to line up at wide receiver – a position he played all last season as the Quakers won a state championship. In those cases, sophomore Kevin Goltz could come in to play quarterback, just as he did in relief of an injured Holmes in the teams’ regular season Class AA South meeting in Jamestown.
The Red Raiders won that Week Six matchup, 35-28, which enabled them to earn the top seed from AA South and edge ahead of OP in the large school poll.
“That game they played great,” Orchard Park coach Gene Tundo said. “They beat us in every aspect of the game. We have to play better this game. We have to not turn the ball over and just play a lot better.”
Tundo likes the way his team is playing, particularly after a 27-0 second half that drove the Quakers to a 33-16 semifinal victory at Lockport.
“I think we played very well,” he said. “In the second half our kids stepped up and did a great job.”
The teams are meeting for the second straight year at Ralph Wilson Stadium. OP swept Jamestown last year, winning the final, 30-10.
“Last December we set three season goals for this season,” said Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy. “We wanted to go undefeated at home, to get back to Ralph Wilson Stadium and the third was to win a Section VI championship. With last week’s win we were able to achieve our first two, and Saturday night we’re hoping to achieve our third goal. We’re just really excited for the opportunity for these kids. They’ve worked really hard and I’m really proud of them and I feel that they deserve to be in this position.”