Oct. 30—JACKSON — When Roman Voss played youth football, he wanted to be a running back.
Right. Like that was ever going to happen.
Voss, now a freshman at Jackson County Central High School, was, for all intents and purposes, born to be a quarterback. His older brother Rudy was a legendary QB for the Huskies and Roman grew up in the same mold. He's 6-4, 195 pounds and blessed with a big arm and the kind of running ability that reminds fans of his brother. Head coach Tom Schuller likes to say Roman is probably the only second-year freshman starting quarterback in Minnesota.
On Saturday afternoon, Voss passed for two touchdowns, ran for another, and scored yet another on a screen pass as JCC defeated Redwood Valley 34-7 in the Section 3AA semifinals at Swearingen Field in Jackson.
The Huskies, state-ranked and 10-0 on the season, will take on Pipestone Area for the section championship Friday night (7 p.m.) at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
After JCC took care of Redwood Valley, Voss admitted that he always knew he'd stay at quarterback. He's been a quarterback his whole life (which, admittedly, seems a little humorous to say since he's still only a ninth-grader).
"I've been throwing forever," he said, smiling.
Schuller gave him the job after one week in the 2021 season. The team started the year with three quarterbacks, and the coaching staff agreed they'd hand it over to Voss (it was only a matter of time anyway) and let him improve on the job.
The thing is, Voss is a little bit like his brother. He likes to do some "crazy" things sometimes. But he was a good soldier. He tried to do what the coaches told him to do.
"I was a little surprised. (Coach Schuller) said our main thing was just to get to the next play. Sometimes you want to do the crazy thing. I love to scramble (a Rudy trademark). But I also love to sit in the pocket and find the open wideout."
One year removed from his inaugural starting year, Roman looks every bit like the poised senior. On Saturday, he scored JCC's first points late in the first quarter on a 24-yard touchdown run, faking a handoff and running left down the sideline. Then with only eight seconds before halftime, he scored the team's second TD on a 2-yard quarterback keeper.
In the regular season, Jackson County Central defeated Redwood Valley 35-0, but the Cardinals stayed close in the opening half by employing a creative passing attack. Indeed, the Cards attempted only one running play in the first two quarters, opting for an assortment of quick throws from a variety of offensive formations.
"We had a heck of a time getting off the field in the first half. I think we only ran about 15 plays in the first half," said Schuller.
But JCC scored early in the third quarter to take control. With 9:18 to go, Voss lined up wide left and junior Brenan Runge took the snap from center. Immediately, he threw a screen pass to the freshman, who took it 18 yards to paydirt.
"I think that really changed the tone of the game," Schuller said.
Two more third quarter scores put the game out of reach. With five and a half minutes to go in the third, Voss struck again with a 15-yard scoring pass to Caleb Vancura. Then barely more than a minute later, teammate Wyatt Wenzel blocked a Redwood Valley punt deep in Cardinal territory and scooped it in himself for a TD.
Redwood Valley avoided a shutout on a 14-yard Tyson Irlbeck pass to Evan Cooper in the fourth quarter. It was set up by a JCC fumble.
Final statistics showed JCC gaining 197 yards on the ground and 160 via the pass for a total of 357. Redwood Valley gained 42 running and 164 passing for a total of 206. Individually, Voss rushed eight times for 55 yards and completed six of seven passes for 110.
Schuller gave credit to Redwood for frustrating the Huskies, for a while at least, with its creative passing strategy.
"They did a very good job of getting the ball out of the quarterback's hand in a hurry. We're not the fastest team in the universe," he said, adding, "We had a little bit more depth and we did wear 'em down in the second half."
Redwood Valley 0 0 0 7 — 7
JCC 7 7 20 0 — 34
More section results
Here are the results of other area section football semifinals games:
In Section 3AAA, Fairmont beat Luverne 35-0 and Waseca rolled over Tri-City United 33-7. The finals are Friday at 7 p.m. in New Ulm.
In Section 3A, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton broke free from a scoreless first half and downed Murray County Central 14-6, finishing with 312 total yards to the Rebels' 126. In the other semifinal, Springfield drubbed Martin County West 21-7. The finals are 4:30 p.m. Friday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
In Section 3 9-Man, Mountain Lake Area outscored Edgerton 45-36 and Red Rock Central beat Hills-Beaver Creek 14-6. The finals are 11:30 a.m. Friday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.