For the last 14 seasons Todd Langworthy has been the bowling coach at Forestville Central School. This year, his boys' bowling team accomplished a feat that, according to Langworthy, had not been achieved by any other team in the county - they finished a perfect 44-0.
"It was one of those years where everything was kind of in place (for us) to have a real good year," Langworthy said. "We had a really good veteran core back that won the championship last year. And we had some other younger kids that came in this year and they came in and helped a lot."
Among the returning starters were Dakota Griewisch, Corey Forbes, Mike Franklin and captain Spenser Johnson.
Pictured are the members of the Forestville boys’ bowling team, which recently finished a perfect regular season.
Forestville’s Mike Franklin bowls during a match earlier this season.
"This group has been a real good group to coach," Langworthy said. "All of them that I have, have all come up from seventh grade. Spenser actually started with me in the sixth grade as team manager when his older brother Lance was on the team."
As is the case with any successful team, Forestville caught their fair share of breaks, the biggest however, may have been down years for their competition.
"The rest of the league, to be honest, was kind of rebuilding," Langworthy said. "Our main competition mainly has been Randolph, Frewsburg and Brocton. Those have usually been the teams that we've been the most competitive with the last few years ... Randolph was very young and only had one or two players coming back from last year's team. Same thing with Frewsburg."
One team that did push the Hornets was the Brocton Bulldogs, who they saw three times this season.
"Brocton actually had a very good team this year," Langworthy said. "They had a veteran group too. They had a lot of kids coming back. In other years Brocton probably would have had a great shot at winning the whole league, which is something they've never really done. So if it wasn't for us having the kids coming back that we did, Brocton probably would have had a great shot at winning the league, because they had a great team. It just worked out that when we bowled them, we ended up 12-0, but those matches were all close matches for the most part. We just seemed to be able to turn in on at the right point and pull away.
"And I think that just ended up being the difference I think of having a shot at a perfect season or having a good year and having a few losses here and there," Langworthy continued.
With enough talent coming back to make his job easier, one area where Langworthy struggled was comparing this season's team to his team's form seasons past.
"I've been at it so long and have had some great teams," Langworthy said. "We've turned out a lot of bowlers over the years. The teams that I had with Brad and Derek Bixby and Erica Bixby, Andy Montague, Lance Johnson and Daren Lilley ... We had player after player that were great players and I had a core of players that graduated about five years ago that I thought was as good as any I'd ever seen, but these guys this year are pretty close to that. But it's hard to say. It's hard to compare from one era to another."
With the good also comes the bad and it came this year in a fire that destroyed the home of Johnson.
"Our captain Spenser went through a lot personally," Langworthy said. "It was a little bit of a distraction for him, considering his family's house burned in December. He lost everything and that kind of hurt both our boys' and girls' teams for a couple of weeks. They were kind of down because Spenser is so well liked by all the kids and it was right before the holidays. But Spense came through it great. He's a strong kid and a real level-headed kid and I think that when the kids saw it was OK and it didn't bother him and he was fine, I think it kind of helped the kids get over it and focus on bowling.
"It was kind of a nice year for it to happen this way," Langworthy continued. "It was Spense's last year and for everything that he's gone through, and to finish it off with a perfect season, was really great for him."
With the position round over with, the Hornets can set their sights on the county roll-offs, but more importantly the sectionals.
"I think our focus is always sectionals," Langworthy said. "We've had tremendous luck there over the years and we're looking to continue that. The boys feel that going into sectionals that there is no one that can beat them in our class that can beat them and I tend to agree with that. Going into sectionals you are competing against schools that are pretty much your size where most of the year we are competing against schools that, in many case, are a little or a fair amount bigger than ours. But when we go to sectionals, it's all kind of evened out and we pride ourselves on being the best small school program around and sectionals is our time to go up and prove that.
"We feel like we have as good a chance as anybody in either league," Langworthy continued of the county roll-offs. "We stack up good against any team in the other league. It's a fun tournament, but it's for bragging rights. It is handicapped, but typically the better teams usually end up toward the top, so we like our chances going into that as well."
After all is said and done and the last pin has fallen, Langworthy will have nothing but good memories of this group of boys.
"They've been a lot of fun to coach," Langworthy said. "It's nice in the sense that you start with them when they are young and there is a lot of stuff that they have to learn and now I'm at the point where I can sit back with them a little bit and I don't have to push them every single shot of every frame because they've learned the system and they know what they're doing. I'm there for moral support and advice here and there. With a younger team, you have to be hands on all the time because they don't know the system well and they're learning."