Before this year, Jacob Wolff had started just a few games at quarterback — and all at the junior varsity level.
“He didn’t have a ton of experience, and we needed him to step up and he really, really did,” Ozaukee football coach Jim Lippe said of his new starting quarterback, who had “started, like, four or five JV games” at quarterback entering this season.
But Wolff has stepped comfortably into Ozaukee’s quarterbacking duties this year, helping lead a heroic Warriors charge into the second round of the Division 6 playoffs at 8 p.m. tonight. Third-seeded Ozaukee (8-2) is set to play second-seeded Lourdes Academy (9-1) on UW-Oshkosh’s field.
The junior, who before this year was better known for his work on defense than on offense, was a key contributor in Ozaukee’s Level 1 win over Reedsville last Friday. With less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Wolff connected on a pass with Collin Stageman for a game-tying touchdown, and later ran in a TD in overtime to collect the come-from-behind win.
“He got an opportunity and he flat-out made the most of it,” Lippe said, “and has had a phenomenal year.”
But Wolff, who’s averaged nearly 11 yards per throw and has a dozen passing touchdowns through 10 games this year, has gotten loads of help from a multi-faceted offense that includes complementary running backs Nick Wojciechowski and Kevin Beckmann, and sure-handed receivers Stageman and Michael Richter.
Wojciechowski has rushed for 12 touchdowns and is averaging more than 100 yards rushing per game, while Beckmann, the team’s second-leading running back, has amassed 573 total rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Richter leads the team in reeiving yards (411 — nearly 30 per catch), while Stageman leads the team in receiving touchdowns (six).
The team’s defense, meanwhile, has been solid. Cody Stageman has registered a team-high 88 tackles and has four sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown. Richter, meanwhile, has tallied a defense-leading eight interceptions and four forced fumbles.
All facets of the Warriors’ game plan — both offense and defense — will need to be running at full pace against a tough Lourdes team that went undefeated and took first place in its Trailways Large conference before picking up a 21-9 win over Pecatonica-Argyle in a Level 1 playoff game last week.
“They’re a good football team,” Lippe said. “It’s going to be a real challenge for us.”
But the Warriors coach isn’t too intimidated by tonight’s competition, noting he’s confident in his players, especially after they “showed a lot of gutty determination” against Reedsville last week.
“All season we’ve been very focused,” he said. “… We’ve always felt we could go far in the playoffs, even early on.”