Youth Rules as J-D suffocates West Genny 10-4

“It’s just crazy how good this class is,” someone muttered in the Jamesville-DeWitt press  box about the Red Rams’ underclassmen. 

A nine-game win streak, a roster filled with youth and talent, and yet another statement win make that assertion anything but crazy.

J-D raced out to a 6-0 lead in the first 18 minutes of play and never looked back on the way to a 10-4 trouncing of West Genesee on Saturday night. The Red Rams improved to 9-1 with their ninth straight win, while the Wildcats fell to 10-2.

“In our first game against Victor, it took us a quarter and a half for them to even know what it meant to compete,” J-D head coach Jamie Archer said of his young team. “Since then our young guys have grown so much. Tonight we were better the whole way.”

There was no shortage of competition on Saturday as the Red Rams jumped to a 2-0 lead after four minutes of play, courtesy of goals from sophomore Ryan Vespi and senior Ryan Drotar. The Red Rams were unable to build on the lead in the remaining eight minutes of the first, but a suffocating defense held the Wildcats without a shot in the final seven minutes of the frame as West Genny committed turnovers on its last five possessions.

“In our first couple games we were lacking intensity early on but we have really been trying to get it up,” Vespi said. “We’ve been a rivalry for a while and it’s their head coach’s last year, and he has had such a great career so we knew we had to come in with our heads up and ready to beat these guys.”

The lead quickly grew to four in the second quarter as freshman Johnny Keib sent two lasers into the same spot in the top-right corner of the net. Two more goals from sophomores Tyler Brang and Will Davis handed J-D a 6-0 edge with 6:34 left in the first.

“Our guys don’t fear them,” Archer said of West Genesee. “A lot of teams, that’s the hardest thing to overcome against them. But we have had a lot of success against West Genesee, our guys have seen older guys beat them, so they don’t fear them.”

The Red Rams showed their composure again after West Genny scored the final two goals of the first half and earned a penalty early in the third, looking to cut the 6-2 deficit even further. But a successful penalty kill and a strike from Pat Muradpushed the deficit back to five, and slowed the Wildcats' rising momentum.

“We’ve been working really hard in practice, knowing that we are really preparing and trying to mature ourselves for these big games,” Vespi said. “Weight room, field, every day.”

West Genesee continued its sloppy play throughout the third, piling up turnovers and shots backed up by J-D. With 55 seconds left Keib made them pay, finishing his hat trick on a feed from senior Griffin Cook. Sophomore Matt Kemmis made the deficit 9-2 just 33 seconds later, burying West Genesee in a 9-2 hole after three.

Ryan Smith and Jack Howes tallied for West Genny in the fourth, but it was not nearly enough as a goal from Cook pushed the final score to 10-4.

Keib totaled three goals and an assist while Cook finished with a goal and two helpers. Connor Durkin added a pair of assists. All told, the Red Rams got eight goals and three assists from freshmen and sophomores on the night. The future looks bright for J-D, but there’s still plenty to play for this season.

“We’re looking for it all, we’re looking for a state championship,” Vespi said. “We’re looking all the way.”

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John Keib