State Class AA football: JCC's season ends in Rochester
ROCHESTER — The deeper you get in the postseason the worse turnovers hurt.
Chatfield took advantage of JCC miscues down the stretch to down the Huskies in Class AA football’s quarterfinal round 32-6, advancing to the semifinals in the Metrodome.
“Penalties and turnovers hurt us,” JCC football coach Tom Schuller said simply. “They had two defensive touchdowns. It is tough to recover from that. You may be able to weather one but, when you’re playing one of the top eight teams in the state, you just can’t make too many of those mistakes.”
Chatfield senior Alex Haffner gave his Gophers a 6-0 lead on a 63-yard scamper early in the first quarter. Jackson County Central found its counter from senior Shadrach Wacker. The quarterback scored on a six-yard keeper with 3:18 remaining in the first half to even the game.
Trailing 12-6 at halftime after a 22-yard touchdown pass from Chatfield quarterback Nate Skare, the Huskies still felt they had life.
That life wouldn’t come. JCC committed three of its four turnovers in the second half, and all three would lead to scores for the opposition.
Chatfield returned an interception and recovered a fumble in the end zone, both of which led to the win.
“We got our wheels back under us there in the second quarter and I thought that, if we could go into the locker room down only one or two scores, we’d still have an excellent chance to win the game,” Schuller said. “It just didn’t materialize for us.”
JCC sophomore Keegan Moore led the Huskies with 26 totes for 115 yards on the ground. Paden Moore attained nine carries for 42 yards and Wacker had seven keepers for 26 yards.
The Gophers — who defeated top-ranked Caledonia 13-10 in overtime to win the Section 1AA championship, will next face the winner of today’s game at Concordia College between Hawley and Holdingford.
The Huskies bid farewell to a class of 13 football seniors, many who helped JCC to the state tournament last year in a run that ended in the semifinals. More than a handful of those seniors will be difficult to replace as the program looks forward from its 9-2 season.
“All of our seniors will be missed greatly. These seniors did a great job of hanging together and making it an extremely enjoyable year for the coaching staff,” Schuller said.
“The thing we’re most disappointed about is that we don’t get to go out and practice with the kids on Monday.”
Chatfield 6 6 7 13 – 32
JCC 6 0 0 0 – 6