Hand in hand, they walk onto the field, ready to complete a journey that had begun months earlier in the preseason. A few hours later, the Jamestown Red Raider football team walked off the field, state champions.
“It’s amazing how good a team can be when no one cares who gets the credit,” Jamestown head coach Tom Langworthy said after being awarded the key to the city.
Many teams dream of being state champions, but for the Raiders, this was more than a dream.
“Without question, this was something that we envisioned all the way from last off-season,” Langworthy said. They did everything possible to prepare to be state champions, including having a model plaque made up so they could practice taking their championship picture.
By the time the team took the field in the real game, the nerves had all been settled. They were ready for this.
“I felt pretty confident,” Langworthy said. “I was very relaxed and just excited.”
His team put up an impressive score of 41-20 against Newburgh Free Academy on Saturday, November 29 to become the state champions of NY in the Class AA.
“I was completely overwhelmed with happiness, to the point of tears of joy,” Langworthy described his emotions at the end of the game.
Their victory comes only 34 days after the Jamestown Marching Band took first place in the Large School Division II New York State Field Band Conference Competition.
“I am the proud mayor of the best small city on the planet, Jamestown, NY,” Mayor Sam Teresi spoke to the crowds at City Hall for the ceremony Monday after the game. “And what makes us so proud, and what makes us so loud, are the young people of this community.”
As if two state championships in Chautauqua County weren’t enough, Randolph High School’s football team also brought home the title for the Class D championship for the Chautauqua/Cattaraugus region Section VI.
This is Coach Brent Brown’s third state championship title, and the team’s third in a row. This fact is impressive in itself, but even more so because Randolph is the first team in section 6 to achieve that record.
“This one here, this has to be the most fun of all,” Brown told the Buffalo news about the most recent victory. “When you’ve got to fight for it a little bit, it’s a little more satisfying.”
It did appear that the team might not take home the trophy at the start of the night. But they came back from a 27-6 deficit to win in the last minute, 48-41.
“You can’t quit,” game MVP Devyn Nelsen (jr) said afterward. “Even if you’re down 21, 28 points…You can’t quit no matter what.”
“With a minute to go, they went up by one,” Brown said. But his team got the ball back with one timeout; just enough time to score the winning touchdown.
One minute, and a couple of big plays later, the Randolph Cardinals reclaimed their title of state champs.
Brown had one word to describe the experience: “Unbelievable.”
Expect many more years of championships from the coaches, the students, and all the people who work hard to bring pride to Chautauqua/Cattaraugus region.