JAMESTOWN — The last time Jamestown faced Kenmore West, Red Raiders senior quarterback Jake Sisson set the Western New York record for passing yards in a single game while rallying his team to victory in riveting fashion at Crosby Field.
It can be argued that his encore performance against the Blue Devils on Friday night at Strider Field was even better than that Week Two show in which he threw for 508 yards.
Sisson once again completed passes all over the field against Ken West, but this time the News’ No. 1-ranked Large School raced out to such a big lead that the only thing the estimated 2,000 fans in attendance were left wondering during the second half was who the Red Raiders would face next. Jamestown will play for the Section VI Class AA championship next Saturday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Sisson and company made their third straight final by trouncing the Blue Devils, 69-14, on a beautiful autumn night in which Jamestown’s offense completed passes almost as easily as it does during seven-on-seven drills. Sisson passed for 404 yards, completing 17 of 21 passes with five touchdowns, and also rushed for two other scores.
He sat out the fourth quarter, as Jamestown scored 10 touchdowns against a Blue Devils team that brought a six-game winning streak into Friday’s showdown. It’s the same team that had a third-quarter lead and forced Jamestown to rally for a 50-28 win back in Week Two at Crosby Field.
That was so long ago, though.
“We had the matchups,” said junior receiver Zack Panebianco, who caught eight passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns and also recorded an interception that set up one of Jamestown’s six first-half TDs. “We liked our receivers matched up against them.” Sisson didn’t need to be perfect for the Red Raiders to score, “but was near perfect anyway,” he said. “You can’t complain.”
“I think this is the best game we’ve played,” Red Raiders coach Tom Langworthy said. “Kids came out on fire, really motivated to finish the Strider Field season undefeated. … We have a special group peaking at the right time. It’s exciting.”
Jamestown brings an offense averaging 55.6 points per game into the sectional final against Frontier. The Falcons ended Orchard Park’s championship reign in Friday’s other AA semifinal, 17-7.
Frontier will have to figure out how to slow down an offense that was a couple of missed conversions shy of hanging 70 points on The News’ sixth-ranked Large School. It’ll be difficult if Sisson is on top of his game like he was Friday.
After throwing an incomplete pass on his first attempt, in which Ken West’s defensive alignment fooled him, he proved to be a quick study as he figured out the Blue Devils’ schemes and completed his next eight passes in leading the Red Raiders to a 14-0 first quarter. He went 3 for 4 for 56 yards on that opening drive, capping the brisk six-play, 1 minute, 41 second possession with an 11-yard TD pass to junior Stephen Carlson (four catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns).
Ken West moved the ball with senior quarterback Adam Fron (184 yards passing) leading the charge down to the Red Raiders’ 15 on its first possession, but the drive stalled there.
Jamestown marched 85 yards in 10 plays with Sisson’s 5-yard keeper and Quinn Lee Yaw’s second straight PAT kick making it 14-0 with 3:51 left in the first.
Jamestown took a 21-0 lead on Sisson’s 1-yard run with 6:49 left in the second quarter. Ken West seemed to stem the momentum on the next play, though, as Terell Ford returned the kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-6. However, the Blue Devils’ attempt to recover the ensuing onside kick went awry when they touched the ball before it went 10 yards. On the next play, Carlson got behind the Ken West secondary and Sisson hit the wide-open senior for a 48-yard TD to make it 28-6 after the PAT kick.
To recap, the teams combined for 20 points in 37 seconds there.
“Football is all about momentum. Getting it back after one big kickoff was huge for us,” Sisson said.
“I thought that was the turning point in the ball game,” Langworthy said. “We talk about fighting through adversity and making a play immediately to get the momentum back on our side, that’s what we were able to do.”
And them some, as Jamestown scored the next 35 points, finishing with 666 yards in offense. Zacc Kinsey rushed for two touchdowns and 118 yards on 10 carries. Reserve quarterback Josh Colwell capped the winners’ scoring with a 2-yard TD run.
“It’s a huge statement,” said Panebianco of putting up 69 points in a Sectional semifinal. “Our goals in the past have been to get to The Ralph. This year we want to win at The Ralph.”
Kevin Mosley led Jamestown’s defense with 13 tackles and two sacks, while Damien Jackson had nine tackles.