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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

New Class, Same Red Raiders

In one of the biggest surprises of the high school football offseason, it was learned that Jamestown football would be dropping down into Class A based on this upcoming school year’s BEDS number. The cutoff for Class AA football is a high school enrollment of 1025…the state calculated an enrollment of 1024 for Jamestown for 2018-2019.

In a Twitter post from February 3rd, head coach Tom Langworthy wrote, “We will miss playing our usual AA schedule but look forward to competing against new opponents in Class A.” In a statement, he added, “the disappointing part about not being in AA that we had to come to grips with is that we really enjoy the traditional rivalry with Orchard Park and Lancaster.”

So, what does this mean for the 2018 Jamestown Red Raiders?

“Nothing changes,” said Langworthy, who is going into his 11th season as head coach. “Our core values stay the same. Our players are experienced in knowing what we expect.”

The Red Raiders (3-3 league, 5-4 overall) defeated Clarence in the 2017 Class AA playoffs in a wild 53-52 overtime game before falling to eventual champion Lancaster in the semifinal.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Raiders didn’t lose too many players to graduation. Last year’s leading receiver Andrew Pumford (378 rec. yards, 4 TD’s) graduated, as did starting lineman Noah Turzillo (three-year starter).

Quarterback Drew Boggs (990 pass yards, 8 TD’s) returns this fall for his senior season under center.

Last year’s top three ball carriers are back as well. Sophomore Savon Vansickle (627 yards, 9 TD’s) and seniors Fran Rodriguez (531 yds, 7 TD’s) and Gavin Bowen (280 yds, 5 TD’s) will be expected to lead a tough Raider ground attack.

Rodriguez (265 yds, 2 TD’s) and Vansickle (173 yds, 2 TD’s) were the second and third leading receivers on the team last year as well.

“[Vansickle] could be one the best players in western New York this year,” Langworthy said about his sophomore standout. “He’s going to get a lot of carries for us.”

On the offensive line, look for Josh Zielinski, Taige White, Dylan Neid, and Chase Jones, a lumbering 6’3″, 250lb player, to be the key Red Raider blockers.

Defensively, the Raiders will need to find a way to replace graduated seniors Turzillo (93 tackles, 6.5 sacks), Manhattan King (77 tackles, 7 sacks), Kanin Tanner (62 tackles, 2 sacks) and Pumford (62 tackles, 2 INT).

Langworthy will look to senior linebackers White (64 tackles, 2 sacks) and Peyton Olson (53 tackles, 1 sack) to lead the Red Raiders defensively.

“That’s the strongest point of our defense. And, they’re two out of our three co-captains,” stated Langworthy on his defensive leaders.

Grant Moore (68 tackles, 4.5 sacks), Bowen (39 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT), and Vansickle (65 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles) return a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball as well.

Jamestown’s new league is Class A1 which includes West Seneca West, Frontier, Niagara-Wheatfield, Kenmore West, and Hamburg. The Raiders open at home against West Seneca East on Friday, August 31st at 7 p.m.

“Our biggest goal right now is to win our first game,” Langworthy said. “I think it’s the toughest game to win any year. But as you look down the road, we want to be playing in November. We want to be playing at New Era Field, and I think we have the talent to do it.”

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