Jamestown may be vulnerable after graduating four first team All-Western New York talents, but it’s still a champion.
On Saturday, the Red Raiders showed they still have the heart of one as they scored the game’s final 16 points to pull out a wild 34-33 nonleague win at Niagara Falls to open the 2015 season.
Carson Peters’ third field goal of the game, a 30-yarder with 26 seconds left, gave Jamestown the lead for good as the defending state Class AA champions posted their 10th straight win – but their closest shave since a seven-point Week One win at Sweet Home last season.
Senior quarterback Nikkolas Holland, a first team All-Western New York and all-state pick, accounted for two of his four touchdowns during the rally. Holland, who passed for 305 yards and rushed for 89, hooked up with Jeremy Olds (106 yards on four catches) for a 44-yard touchdown. Holland then scored on a 10-yard run to pull Jamestown within two with 7:06 left. The Raiders missed the two-point conversion but the defense held, forcing an 11-yard punt to give the offense a drive start at the Falls 25 with just over two minutes left with no timeouts.
“I’m just really proud of our guys,” Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy said. “They battled back. The last 10 minutes we put everything on the line and were able to get in position to kick that field goal.”
Zacc Kinsey caught four passes for 97 yards and rushed eight times for 46 yards for the winners, while Jeremy Bush recorded eight tackles, 1.5 sacks and had three pressures. Jack Breen (nine tackles) made a fumble recovery.
Class A North
Starpoint 46, Niagara-Wheatfield 19: Starpoint gained 334 yards on the ground en route to its season-opening win. Anthony Robinson rushed for 111 yards on six carries and scored twice. Terry Rutland rushed for 104 yards and two TDs and returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown.
North Tonawanda 23, Williamsville East 0: Joe Dotterweich rushed for 90 yards and Cody Sikora had 120 scrimmage yards for NT. Sikora had two catches for 70 yards and two TDs from quarterback Zach Woodard while he also ran for 50 yards on eight carries. Woodard finished with 74 yards on 3 for 8 passing and six tackles on defense. Marshall Esmay led the defense with seven tackles.
Class C North
Bennett 48, Akron 0: Isaiah McDuffie rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns to help pace Bennett while adding 10 tackles and one sack on defense. Marcelus Toliver ran for 80 yards and twins Tyshawn and Tysheen Mingo had eight tackles each.
JFK 29, Wilson 0: JFK rushed for 256 yards led by junior running back Lexus Pollard, who finished with 88 yards and two touchdowns. Senior defensive end Andrew Wojtulski had five tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Class C South
Gowanda 46, Southwestern 20: Lucas Brawdy had 180 yards on 12 carries and TD runs of 60, 5 and 17 yards. Cameron Alexander had 136 yards and TD runs of 70, 56 and 3 yards. As a team, Gowanda rushed for 436 yards. Gilberto Ortiz had 14 tackles.
Canisius 28, Shenendehowa 7: Playing in the Carrier Dome, Canisius won its season opener against a strong Shenendehowa team from Section II. Senior Tyler Stranahan made his first start as varsity quarterback and threw for 295 yards with three touchdowns. “He was the MVP of the game,” Canisius coach Rich Robbins said. “To play in the Carrier Dome for his first start, he answered the bell. He threw the ball well and ran when he needed. He managed the offense out there on a big stage and that’s going to help us moving forward.”
Justin Jones caught TD passes of 22 and 76 yards while on defense he had seven tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and an interception. Desmond Nicholas caught five passes for 104 yards, including a 52-yard TD pass.
Cleveland Hill 18, Maryvale 15: There wasn’t any better way for Cleveland Hill coach Glen Graham to keep his team focused for the first week of the season than to open with its traditional rival. Cleveland Hill had a strong ground game and took advantage of a few big plays to earn the 18-15 win over the Flyers.
“It’s definitely the way we want to open our season,” Graham said. “With it being a rivalry game, we know we’re going to get the best out of our opponent and that’s going to bring out the best in us.
“We got some consistency with our ground game and as the game wore on and with the heat, both defenses were exhausted at the end of the game. There were big plays both ways. We just had a few more than they did.”
Grayson Taylor had 201 yards and a TD while Matt Eldridge had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery.
St. Mary’s/Lancaster 41, Bishop Kearney 36: Takal Molson opened his senior season with authority. The quarterback had 400 yards of total offense himself – 325 through the air and 75 on the ground – as St. Mary’s/Lancaster defeated Bishop Kearney of Section V. Molson completed 16 of 24 passes, throwing for four touchdowns and rushed for a 14-yard score in the second quarter.
“He’s just a constant threat on offense,” first-year St. Mary’s coach Nick Todaro said. “He led the way not only with his play but with his leadership and ability to be efficient. He made the right read and when it wasn’t there, he moved out of the pocket and made things happen.”
For good measure, Molson shadowed Kearney’s best receiver all day. He had one interception on defense.
Senior wide receiver Cam Dunning had eight catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Derek Johnson had 110 yards and one TD while senior linebacker Jon Rowe had 12 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
Springville 32, Burgard 16: In his first start as a varsity quarterback, senior Colin Dewitt threw for 63 yards, rushed for 49 and completed a touchdown pass. “It was our first Week One win since 1996,” coach Eric Jantzi said. “We’ve been looking forward to Week One and started off on the right foot.
“We got a turnover on the first play and that gave us really good field position and we scored off the bat. Then we had a fumble recovery and took that in to score. The defense was playing really well in the first half.”
John Domes and Ian Baker both had eight tackles.
Bryce Szudzik had touchdowns on runs of 2 and 3 yards and a 29-yard pass from Dewitt. He finished with 76 yards on 13 carries with an interception.
O’Hara 50, Nichols 16: Cliff Zeigler had an all-round kind of day for Cardinal O’Hara. He rushed for two TDs, had seven tackles at linebacker, blocked three punts and had a fumble recovery. Sophomore quarterback Tony Maple passed for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
St. Joe’s 14, Lockport 0: Senior running back Darren Thompson rushed for 120 yards and scored in the first quarter. Junior linebacker Louis Surace Jr. had eight tackles and two blocked punts while senior linebacker Adam Bardak had seven tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.
St. Francis 40, Williamsville South 20: Jerry Hickson threw for 272 yards while completing 14 of 28 throws in a game that began on Friday night but was delayed due to lightning. Hickson tossed three touchdown passes to Jarryd Taylor — 38, 41 and 4 yards. Taylor finished with 92 yards on four catches. Robert Dempsey had 128 yards on seven carries and a 48-yard TD run.
Cheektowaga 28, Fredonia 6: The teams picked up with seven minutes left in the third quarter after their game was delayed due to lightning on Friday. Eric Bartnik passed for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Stephon Parker caught all three TD passes and finished with 131 yards on seven receptions.