Fairmont starts fast to oust JCC
NEW ULM — Fairmont scored on its first four drives and held off a Jackson County Central rally to clinch a spot in the Class AAA state football quarterfinals with a 35-18 victory in Section 3 Friday night.
"We tackled very, very poorly," JCC head coach Tom Schuller said. "We got in a bind with their empty. At halftime, we were able to make some adjustments, but they hurt us with it early. We were unable to tackle the quarterback when he was running around; that really hurt us."
It was the fourth consecutive year the two teams had met in the section final, with JCC winning the first two and the Cardinals the victors last year.
On Friday, Fairmont started quick as the first play from scrimmage was a 72-yard touchdown run by Jordan Wolter.
After a JCC punt, FHS was back in business. Garrett Myren threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Dustin Schultz as the Cardinals led 14-0.
That lead went to three scores after Myren ran in a 7-yard touchdown.
"You have to come back from it," Schuller said. "Getting down that much really throws your running game. We were able to run the ball, but once you're behind the 8-ball by 21, you can't do it as much as you'd like to,"
Behind a big pass from Myren to Tony Nuss, the Cardinals went down the field on their next possession. Myren threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Wolter as Fairmont led 28-0.
However, JCC wasn't going quietly as the Huskies outscored the Cardinals 18-7 from that point on.
After an interception by Jack Brinkman gave the Huskies the ball, the JCC offense went to work. Quarterback Rudy Voss had back-to-back passes to Keaton Storm and Voss gained 33 on a keeper to put the Huskies inside the 5-yard line. From there, Bradley Buhl Jr capped the drive with a four-yard score.
"We kept battling," Schuller said. "These kids have done that all year. We just didn't have enough tonight."
Out of halftime, the Huskies put more points on the board. Behind a 34-yard run from Zachary Neal, JCC moved quickly down the field. Voss finished the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run. However, like the first score, the 2-point conversion failed.
The Huskies had another opportunity for points with the ball inside the FHS 10-yard line late in the third quarter, but a turnover ended the threat.
Right after the fourth quarter started, JCC took over on its own 48. Voss threw a 21-yard pass to Brinkman and scrambled for six yards. Neal then found the end zone from 25 yards out as JCC was within 10, 28-18. Again, the conversion was no good.
On the ensuing Fairmont possession, the Huskies forced a fumble, which Logan Bannister recovered on the Fairmont 28. But the JCC offense wasn't able to capitalize as it turned the ball over on downs.
"We did get a couple turnovers that put us back in the game," Schuller said. "We just didn't have enough time tonight."
From there, FHS methodically moved down the field. Myren threw a nine-yard touchdown to Schultz to cap the victory.
Fairmont (9-1) will face the Section 4 winner, Cannon Falls, in the state quarterfinals, which begin Saturday. The Huskies finish with a record of 9-2.Jackson County Central 0 6 6 6 -- 18Fairmont 21 7 0 7 -- 35