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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Red Raiders Tame Wolverines, Move To 5-1

A matchup of Class AA titans saw the Jamestown Red Raiders take down the Niagara Falls Wolverines 39-24 on Saturday at Art Callandrelli Field in Niagara Falls.

After a back-and-forth first quarter, the Red Raiders’ offense took over in the second and was the catalyst behind the team’s win, as evidenced by Savon VanSickle’s three rushing touchdowns.

“It was a great team win,” quarterback Trey Drake said. “We’ve got the athletes who can compete with everybody and we showed that today.”

Jamestown got on the board first when VanSickle scored on a short touchdown run, but the Wolverines responded a few plays later when Kalem Chappell took a pass from Justin Goldsmith 60 yards to the end zone. Shortly thereafter, VanSickle fumbled and turned the ball over to Niagara Falls – who promptly made the Red Raiders pay on the very next play.

A 42-yard strike from Goldsmith to Zion Paige gave the Wolverines the lead and it could have turned the tide towards Niagara Falls’ favor. Not so, according to Drake.

“This league has a lot of good competition and it seems like every single game you play is a race to win,” Drake said. “We’ve shown that if we come on to the field that we’ll step up and make big plays, and we’ll come out with the ‘W.'”

From that point on Jamestown was in control. Drake and Elijah Rojas connected on a 34-yard touchdown pass, VanSickle tacked on his second rushing tally of the day, and Andrew Dix nailed a 34-yard field goal to give the Red Raiders a 24-12 lead.

Even though the Wolverines got another score from Paige midway through the third quarter, the Red Raiders didn’t blink. VanSickle found paydirt again a few minutes later from four yards out to steal his team’s momentum back for good.

A scary scene also occurred on that scoring play, however, as Wolverines linebacker Matt Kaminska suffered a neck injury and had to be taken away in an ambulance. At press time, according to reports, Kaminska was able to feel his extremities.

Kaminska was down on the ground for nearly 20 minutes before he was loaded onto a stretcher, and the Red Raiders’ roster gave both Kaminska and his shaken-up teammates their well wishes before play resumed.

“We saw a lot of their players with their heads down, and we just went over there to comfort them and tell them to pick their head up,” VanSickle said. “We told them that our wishes were with them and with Kaminska.”

Jaylen Butera and Faybion Prather each notched the game’s final points for Jamestown and Niagara Falls on 18 and 12-yard touchdowns, respectively.

With a win next week against Orchard Park, the Red Raiders can clinch the top seed in Class AA heading into the Section VI playoffs. Based on preseason prognostications, they weren’t expected by many to be in this position but according to VanSickle, Jamestown has proven that they’re just as good as the rest of their competition.

“I think we’ve shown that we fit in (with everyone else),” VanSickle said. “A lot of people thought we were underdogs coming into some of our games. But I think we’ve shown that we’re not and that we’re competitive.”

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