Tom Langworthy was in midfield at Highmark Stadium in the early hours of Friday morning when the PA announcer picked up the microphone. The Red Raiders had just rolled past Williamsville North 34-0 in the Section VI Class A championship game, and the longtime head coach held the coveted section title plaque in his hand.
“We look forward to your continued success in your quest for the New York State… Championship,” The PA voice echoed through the Buffalo Bills’ home. “Congratulations.”
With that, Langworthy turned 90 degrees to the left and raised it over his head with both hands around the treasured hardware and was then promptly mobbed by his players.
Shortly after this celebration, Langworthy answered questions from the media, during which he never stopped smiling. It didn’t matter that it was after midnight. Now in his 15th season at the helm, he admitted he would have played the game at 3am if he had to because the game meant so much to him.
It showed in the way Jamestown played – from start to finish – as he secured his 14th title in program history and a trip to the Far West Regional a week from today at Fauver Stadium in Rochester.
The numbers told the story.
The Red Raiders accumulated 22 first downs; rallied 390 total yards in offense; were successful in 10 out of 18 third-down conversions (three out of six in fourth-down conversions); scored touchdowns on five of eight trips to the red zone; ran twice as many games (76-38) as the Spartans; and had a whopping advantage in possession (30:37-17:23).
Individually, on offense, junior Carsen Bane rushed for 143 yards with 26 carries and a touchdown. Senior quarterback Trey Drake completed 16 of 29 passes for 126 yards and two TDs and rushed for 60 yards with seven carries; Senior Radon Wright had 51 yards on the ground and once found the end zone; and senior Darius Freeney (two touchdowns) and sophomore Carson Panebianco had seven and six catches, respectively.
Defensively, Jamestown limited Williamsville North to a total of 108 yards; Sean O’Brien, who also had a 1-yard TD run, led with 11 tackles, Bane had nine and Wright added seven; Senior Colin Melendez had two losing tackles and registered a sack; and senior Sean Paige intercepted a pass.
On special teams, the Red Raiders have never jabbed, while junior Ella Propheter has booted four of five extra point kicks.
“These guys rose, these guys believed in it and wanted to continue the tradition of coming to the stadium and fighting for section titles.” said Langworthy. “We believed we could do it and we did it. I’m just so proud of her. It’s really a great lesson that if you put your mind to it and believe in something, you can make it if you don’t care who gets the credit for sticking together and working hard.
“Jamestown kids are tough kids who work hard and that wins football games but it also wins in life. I’m super proud of these guys and it’s great to be a part of it. This is a night I will not forget.”
One thing Langworthy didn’t talk about in his postgame chat was how the section title – his fourth since taking over the Jamestown program in 2008 – had added personal meaning. The win marked his 100th of his career as he joined Chautauqua Sports Hall-of-Fame Wally Huckno as the only two football coaches in school history to reach the century mark. Huckno, who has been in charge for 21 seasons (1983-2003), holds the all-time record (159), followed by Langworthy, Dent Moon (88), Walt Colburn (58) and Joe Sanfilippo (48), another CSHOF insider. Moon coached Jamestown for 18 seasons, Colburn for 12 and Sanfilippo for eight.
Langworthy is in pretty good company.
It’s a place he deserves.