By PAUL BEITLER
PORTLAND — After the Southern Wells Raiders’ strong showing in the first quarter, the Jay County Patriots scored the next 41 points to break open Friday night’s Allen County Athletic Conference opener for each team.
The Class 4A Jay County (2-1) ended up winning the football game 51-19.
Class A Southern Wells fell to 0-3, after forfeiting its season-opening 42-0 win to Fremont.
Southern Wells took a 6-0 lead on a 4-yard run by Josh Beeks with about 15 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Then, the Patriots responded with four touchdowns in the second period to take a 27-6 lead going into halftime.
The Patriots took advantage of a Southern Wells fumble to go ahead 13-6.
Another Raider fumble was swept up by Noah Harris, who broke away for an 85-yard touchdown return with 6:12 to play in the first half.
“Offensively, those two turnovers hurt us in the first half,” Southern Wells coach Greg Mose said after the game, “but that’s growing pains. That’s growing pains with a new (quarterback Jed Perry), and that’s growing pains with a new offense.
“I think we’re going to minimize those and keep getting better,” Mose said.
Jay County was led by senior quarterback Parker Grimes, who completed 8 of 13 passes for 194 yards and one touchdown, and he scored the last touchdown on a 3-yard run.
Senior fullback Michael Schlechty scored three touchdowns, rushing five times for 52 yards and catching one pass for 26 more yards.
Perry led the Raiders — filling in for quarterback Mason Huffman who was injured last week — with 125 rushing yards.
With 5:56 to go in the third quarter, Perry dashed down the field for a 57-yard touchdown run.
He also scored the third Raider TD with nine seconds left in the third quarter on a 13-yard run. A 57-yard kickoff return by Coleman Beeks set up the score.
“I’m so happy with how hard our kids played,” Mose said. “We’re not going to use this as an excuse, but the reality is that Jay County has 1,100 kids, and we have 260.
“We’re going to use this as a positive. This game helped us get better for sectional, because in sectionals we’re not going to face a school with 1,100 kids,” he said.