JAMESTOWN – Jamestown’s Red Raiders Varsity Football team is set to play their Section VI Class A championship game against Frontier on Friday at Highmark Stadium, home to the Buffalo Bills.
Head Coach Tom Langworthy sat down with us to discuss how the undefeated team is preparing for the matchup.
“We feel like our team’s built for these moments,” boasts Langworthy. “We’ve got a lot of experience, and a lot of games under our belt with this group, and we’ve been in some great battles over the years. So for us, we’re just following our weekly routine of preparations, making sure we pay attention to details and come out and play a good game on Friday.”
The team spent the week focusing on the fundamentals; blocking, tackling, and protecting the football.
Langworthy also dove into tape from prior games to zero in on what was done well and improvements to be made.
“I spend a lot of time, the 24 hours after the game, watching our game instead of moving on. I think that’s an important element that can’t be overlooked,” says Langworthy.
The coach gave the credit of their 10-0 season to the hardworking kids on the team, as well as the families that support them.
“Our kids work really hard, they’re great people. And you can’t win without great people. You can have all the talent in the world, but if they don’t have good character, you’re not gonna be very successful,” assures Langworthy.
Continuity has also been a key factor in the team’s success, as Langworthy explains that the entirety of the varsity team’s staff has been together the entire 14 years he has coached.
The coaching staff have fostered an environment of expecting the best out of their players, and in return, do their best to coach them.
“That’s kind of the relationship we’ve built, and the culture that we’ve built, and it’s important that players know we’re gonna give our best, and that we’re taking it seriously, and that we know the players are gonna give us their best,” explains Langworthy. “Be on time, be ready, be coachable, and have a good attitude.”
Langworthy also credits the communities’ love of football and the longstanding tradition it has become to the teams culture. He says that the team knowing that the community cares drives them even harder.
“At the end of the day, you’re trying to teach young people life lessons through athletics, but you’re also trying to teach them that winning is important, and achievement is important, success is important,” says Langworthy. “But it’s hard. It’s hard to reach your goals, but it’s great to work toward your goals. And when you can reach your goals through hard work, it’s very gratifying.”
Friday’s game will be their second matchup of the season against Frontier, the first won by 6 points. The coach says their opponent is a strong, physical team that they aren’t surprised to be seeing again.
However, Langworthy believes his team is up to the challenge.
“The thing that we preach for our kids is that their best is good enough,” says Langworthy. “They’re prepared for this moment, they’re ready for this moment. They don’t have to do anything different than what they’ve been doing, but we just want to do what we do every week a little bit better this week.”
Stars Jaylen Butera (RB, DB), Trey Drake (QB), Ben Anderson (RB, LB) hope to lead their team to victory with the help of what the coach calls the “backbone” of the team, the offensive line.
“Our tackles Joey Delgado and Julian McGaughy, our guards are Nick Miraglia and Drayce Garland, and our center is Caleb Bane. And those guys together have almost 100 starts under their belt because many, three of those guys played as sophomores for us,” explains Langworthy. “So those guys, like I’ve said, have been through some battles, they do a great job.”
This is the coach’s fifth time leading his team to Highmark Stadium, where he has a 2-2 record. He hopes to increase this to 3-2 and play their best game yet on Friday.