Tonawanda News —
"In Clayton's game they were right in it until the end," Langworthy said. "You create memories when you play hard and go to battle with teammates, even when you lose. You have these great memories of how you guys all stuck together and hung in there until the end. What the rivalry comes down to is that's the moment when you want to succeed — in front of all your family and friends, and everybody in the community there watching you play. That's the moment that it's hardest to shine, when you're in front of so many people."
Hess threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He was almost perfect in the first half — putting the ball on target, in the pocket and on the run. Langworthy was impressed with the way Hess shined when the pressure was at its highest, and to think he almost never got a shot behind center.
"Coach (Jason) Beckman (former Tonawanda coach) told me I was going to be way too big to play quarterback and I played running back and linebacker when I played in Ohio," Hess said. "That was a motivating force to just keep playing — that's all I ever wanted to play was quarterback. Coach Gross gave me a shot and I really appreciated that."
WILL TO WIN
Gross's decision paid off and Hess is now believed to be the all-time leader in career passing yards (1,780) at Tonawanda. Gross said that Hess had a bunch of natural tendencies that were apparent right from the start, so Gross had him plugged in as the starter on the JV team.
"Sometimes when you're a coach you get a gut feeling," Gross said. "It wasn't even so much about how he looked or how he threw the ball, but I felt he could be a great high school quarterback."