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JCC’s 2nd-half surge stuns Fairmont; Jaguars earn 1st win

SANDWICHED — Fairmont linebacker Tyson Kube (28) and defensive lineman Sawyer Tordsen (65) sandwich Jackson County Central quarterback Travis Rogotzke (24) after Rogotzke made a pitch during the two teams’ regular-season football finale Thursday night at Mahoney Field in Fairmont. The Huskies’ Caleb Vancura (59) looks on. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Jackson County Central head football coach Tom Schuller switched to a wishbone offense midway through the second quarter and it finally clicked after halftime Thursday night.

Levi Lindley moved from quarterback to running back and generated nearly half — 150 — of the visiting Huskies’ 303 rushing yards and one touchdown, while teammate Damian Meyer-Andre pocketed a 66-yard scoring reception and added an interception to pace JCC’s 22-7 victory over the Fairmont Cardinals during the teams’ regular-season finale at Mahoney Field.

Both Fairmont (1-3) and JCC (3-3) await the results of today’s seeding meeting for the Section 3AAA playoffs that kick off with the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at the higher seed’s home field.

“You win football games by blocking and tackling. They (the Huskies) did more of that tonight than we did, especially during the second half,” said Fairmont head coach Mat Mahoney, whose team led 7-0 at intermission before allowing 22 unanswered points to JCC in the final two quarters. “Jackson found something (the wishbone) that worked for them in the second half and we couldn’t stop it and it snowballed.

“I thought we made a big defensive stand at the end of the first half to maintain our seven-point lead going into the lockerroom, but we came out flat in the third quarter.”

Quarterback Zach Jorgensen, who threw for a game-best 167 yards, used his strong and accurate passing arm to march Fairmont to the end zone during the home team’s initial possession.

Jorgensen zipped a 22-yard spiral to Eli Anderson, a 26-yard screen pass to Hudson Artz and a 9-yarder to Tyson Kube in the right flat for a drive-capping TD. Owen Burmeister kicked the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 7:33 left in the opening quarter.

Anderson later demonstrated his defensive prowess in the secondary by recording his team-best fifth interception to slam the brakes on JCC’s first offensive series using the wishbone formation. Anderson picked off Lindley in the end zone for a touchback with 2:50 remaining in the second quarter.

Lindley and the Huskies’ defense forced a three-and-out series by the Cardinals and used Lindley’s 17-yard connection to Meyer-Andre to reach the Fairmont 6-yard line with 6 seconds remaining before intermission.

After two incompletions on first- and second-and-goal, Fairmont linebacker Gavin Rodning stopped Lindley’s run at the 2 to end the first half.

The second half, however, belonged to the Huskies.

Cardinals’ defensive end Tanner Rosch made a fumble recovery to open the third quarter only to watch as the Huskies’ Payton Handevidt scooped up a Fairmont fumble two snaps later and sprinted 42 yards to the Cardinals’ 28.

JCC’s three-pronged backfield of Lindley, Coltan Bents and lineman-turned-fullback Will Freking combined to cover the distance on four option runs. Freking pounded up the middle for a 5-yard TD before Lindley converted a blast around right end for the 2-point conversion and an 8-7 JCC lead with 7:57 left in the third.

JCC’s defense forced another three-and-out sequence by Fairmont, and needed just five plays to strike from long distance. Wishbone quarterback Travis Rogotzke threaded a perfect 66-yard seam toss to Meyer-Andre for a TD before Lindley added his second 2-point conversion run for a 16-7 lead with 3:59 left in the third.

Jorgensen then connected with Anderson along the JCC sideline, and the junior receiver broke a tackle and appeared to sprint 68 yards for a TD. Officials ruled that Anderson stepped out-of-bounds at the Huskies’ 32, erasing the six points on the scoreboard.

Two plays later, Meyer-Andre intercepted a Jorgensen pass at the JCC 2. The Huskies then assembled a 13-play, 98-yard scoring drive to put the game out of reach at 22-7 with 8:59 left in regulation.

Lindley, Freking and Bents all contributed double-figure runs during the time-consuming march, with Lindley crossing the goal line from 5 yards out for the TD.

Matt Haley then intercepted Jorgensen’s first pass of the next series off Meyer-Andre’s tip before JCC’s offense chewed up the final 8 minutes of regulation.

Bents finished with 88 yards on 13 totes for JCC, while Freking added 50 on seven carries.

Anderson made five catches for 78 yards to top Fairmont.

JCC 0-0-16-6–22

FHS 7-0- 0-0– 7

SCORING PLAYS

1st Quarter

FHS–Tyson Kube 9 pass from Zach Jorgensen (Owen Burmeister kick), 7:33.

2nd Quarter

No scoring.

3rd Quarter

JCC–Will Freking 5 run (Levi Lindley run), 7:57.

JCC–Damian Meyer-Andre 66 pass from Travis Rogotzke (Lindley run), 3:59.

4th Quarter

JCC–Lindley 5 run (conversion failed), 8:59.

TEAM STATISTICS

First downs: JCC 20; Fairmont 7. Rushing: JCC 51-303; Fairmont 17-17. Passing: Fairmont 13-21-2-167; JCC 2-12-1-83. Fumbles-lost: Fairmont 3-1; JCC 4-1. Penalties: JCC 6-38; Fairmont 3-15.

INDIVIDUAL STATS

Offense: Rushing: Lindley (JCC) 30-150, Coltan Bents (JCC) 13-88, Will Freking (JCC) 7-50; Jorgensen (FHS) 10-9, Hudson Artz (FHS) 5-6. Passing: Jorgensen (FHS) 13-21-2-167; Rogotzke (JCC) 1-2-0-66, Lindley (JCC) 1-10-1-17. Receiving: Eli Anderson (FHS) 5-78, Hudson Artz (FHS) 3-32; Meyer-Andre (JCC) 2-83.

Defense: Interceptions: Meyer-Andre (JCC), Matt Haley (JCC), Eli Anderson (FHS). Fumble recoveries: Tanner Rosch (FHS), Payton Handevidt (JCC).

GHEC/Truman 18, Madelia 6 — The Jaguars claimed their first win of the season in their final game against the Blackhawks on Thursday in Madelia.

The Jaguars totaled 194 yards on 39 plays, with 124 coming through the air on Owen Wolter’s 11-for-12 passing performance. Wolter also made an interception with 1:20 left in the game to help the Jaguar defense, which held Madelia to 129 yards total.

Wolter scored the Jaguars’ opening touchdown on a 1-yard run, then Kaiden Musser broke a 25-yard carry for a score in the second quarter.

Wolter then connected with Musser for a screen pass in the fourth, which Musser took 45 yards for a touchdown.

GHEC/Truman (1-3) awaits today’s seeding to find out its opponent in Tuesday’s first round of the Section 3, 9-Man playoffs.

GHEC/T 6 6 0 6 — 18

Madelia 0 0 6 0 — 6

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