It was surely a happy bus ride for Jamestown after it came back from a 19-point deficit to beat Clarence, 35-32.
And there were some happy people waiting for them, too.
Jamestown has so much pride in its football programs and its state championships. After going 3-13 over the last two seasons, something was missing. That something seems to be back.
"People are starting to talk again, people are getting excited about what's going on," said first-year coach Tom Langworthy. "It's exciting. The players feel that. It's extra gratification to all of the efforts, and while that momentum builds, we have to remember to keep focused and channel that in the right way."
All Western New York football fans should be glad that Jamestown seems to be back on track.
When they are at the top of their game, the Red Raiders represent just about the best that Western New York football has to offer. One could argue that the Wally Hucko teams that competed for state titles were the closest thing Western New York has to the kind of big-time, town-embraced high school programs that are (perhaps not coincidentally) prevalent throughout nearby Pennsyvlania and Ohio.
To be a program like that, it's not all about having a high caliber of football. It's the way the town invests in the team, the traditions, the way everything combines to make something special -- and something to be feared when an opponent was headed to Strider Field.
"The mood is great," said Langworthy, whose team has won three straight since losing to Orchard Park and Lancaster. "We've had a lot of momentum that's been continuing to build since the win at Frontier [which was followed by wins over West Seneca West and Clarence]. It's really exciting and we're believing what we're doing.
"These wins are a reflection of our athletes and our coaching staff, about all of us as one. The players are giving their best effort and the coaching staff is giving its best effort and the resulting product is wins. [Saturday] we continued to fight. We were able to force some mistakes and took advantage of them."
In a Week Seven in which there are rivalry games and not much else of major interest, the Sweet Home at Jamestown game is very compelling. Both teams are playing very good football, the Panthers from their perch in the top half of the large school poll, Jamestown still scratching and clawing to earn respect. In Week Eight, Jamestown will play at Kenmore West in the quarterfinals.
"Sweet Home is very, very good," said Langworthy. "They've got big weapons and are well-coached so we'll prepare to play them and try to have a good game plan. Here on out, we're going to play all good teams."