Jacob Winters was back where he belongs this season.
Moved to offensive line as a sixth grader in 2016 due to weight limitations, Winters played quarterback as a seventh grader this year and had a spectacular season for the River Valley Middle School Raiders in Bidwell, Ohio.
To sharpen his QB skills before the season started, he finished in first place at the Duel among incoming seventh graders. Winters received his Duel invitation at an NFA camp in Indianapolis.
“After not being able to play quarterback my last year in youth football because I was too big, it reassured me that I was going to have a good year, especially since my team was made up of seventh and eighth graders and we played against all eighth grade teams this year,” he said of the Duel success.
Winters shook off the one season layoff, and he didn’t flinch while competing against older competition. While leading the Raiders to a 5-3 record this year, he completed 49 of 92 passes for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 1,086 yards on 99 carries while scoring 13 TDs.
“Heading into the season, I wanted to help my teammates be better football players and I wanted to win,” Winters said. “Team-wise, I was happy that we continued to get better throughout the season and I was happy with the growth from my teammates. Personally, I was happy because we installed the R4 system. I got to the throw the ball a lot and run the inverted veer, where it allowed me to make reads. I also was happy to earn the respect of the eighth graders.”
In his sixth year of playing quarterback, Winters was thrilled to be under center again this season. “I really like being able to lead my team and make decisions,” he said. “And of course, being able to have the ball in my hands in critical situations.”
Training with NFA, where his father Chuck is a Certified Coach, the last three years has added additional polish to Winters’ already advanced game. “I think my strengths as a quarterback are I’m mechanically sound, knowledge of the position, dealing with pressure, ability to make the correct reads in the pass and run game, and to build confidence in my teammates,” he said. “I sometimes dwell on my mistakes too long instead of moving on to the next play, so I’m working on that. I want to be perfect.”
An honor roll student, Winters is able to take what he learns in school and use it on the football field. “My favorite subjects are Math and History,” he said. “I like solving complex math problems and I think that helps me solve problems during critical situations on the field. And I’m always looking up football history, especially on QBs, and trying to find something they had done that I can take and learn from.”