Barely one minute into Friday night’s game Antwerp was on the scoreboard. The Archers proceeded to score four more first-half touchdowns en route to a 39-14 Green Meadows Conference win over Paulding.

“Getting the 72-yard pass right away was great for us to set the tone,” Antwerp coach Jason Hale pointed out about the throw from Carson Altimus to Parker Moore which gave the Archers a 6-0 lead with 10:56 on the first-quarter clock. “We knew with some of the ways they would play us we could have a big-play possibility. Our guys executed that very well.”

It put the host Panthers in a hole they would never recover from in losing to the Archers for the second time in the last three meetings between the Paulding County rivals. The win also marked the first time since 2003 that Antwerp had defeated both Wayne Trace and Paulding in the same season.

“That was a big play early in the game,” Paulding coach Tyler Arend said of the Altimus to Moore quick strike. “It was disappointing to get them in a third-and-long situation and give up the long touchdown. We knew all week with their athletes that if we got out of position that big plays could happen.”

Miscues played a big role the remainder of the first half, with the Archers scoring on a pair of one-yard runs by Altimus and Reid Lichty to take a 19-0 lead after one before Altimus TD passes of 25 yards to Moore and 21 yards to Landon Brewer in the second quarter upped the Antwerp advantage to 32-0 at the half.

“We had some very costly turnovers,” noted Arend, whose squad turned the ball over three times. “They started with the football two straight possessions to start the game when we couldn’t recover an onside kick. On our first possession offensively we threw an interception. You can’t turn the ball over if you want to beat good teams. We didn’t do a good enough job with that tonight.”

Hale was more than pleased with the first-half play of his squad.

“In the first half our defense played great with getting some early turnovers,” Hale said. “Guys were reading their keys and doing their job. That gave us extra possessions and we took advantage of that being able to put points on the board. Offensively, our receivers did a great job of making plays.

“We had the two interceptions in the first half and we were able to score off of those to help set the tone early,” continued Hale, referring to picks by Kaden Recker and Lichty. “On the fumble recovery we were able to score two plays later. They helped give us great field position.”

Antwerp added to the lead with a 12-yard pass from Altimus to Kayden Winslow in the third quarter before Paulding averted a shutout with two TDs in the fourth quarter, a four-yard run by Dawson Lamb with 7:07 remaining and a three-yard rush by Carter Evans with 35 seconds to go.

“Our defense played great with guys running to the football,” Hale said. “We had 10 or 11 guys to the football most of the night. Our guys were able to be successful as a unit because everyone did their job.”

Hayden Wagner totaled 11 tackles to lead the way for the Antwerp defense, with Lichty recording six and Mason Steel and Xander Smith contributing five apiece.

Paulding finished with 216 total yards, with Jacob Fife 10-19 passing for 116 yards. Lamb rushed for 57 yards on 20 carries.

“We had some chances to make plays offensively but couldn’t connect or take advantage of those to keep it competitive,” Arend noted. “Antwerp is a solid team and they played well tonight.”

Altimus was 12-17 passing for 194 yards and four TDs with Moore hauling in three receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Lichty had 61 yards on 10 attempts to lead the ground game for the Archers, which had 217 total yards in the contest.

“I thought the defense did some good things but we couldn’t seem to get them off the field in key situations,” Arend said. “We also got out of position in coverage a few times and gave up some big plays.”

Jesse Shaffer had five tackles for Paulding while Kobe Foor added four with a sack and tackle-for-loss.

Now 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the GMC, Antwerp moves on to host Edgerton in the final home game of the regular season this coming Friday night. Paulding, which stands 0-8 on the year and 0-5 in the conference, is at Wayne Trace in week nine.

SUMMARY

Antwerp 19 13 7 9 - 39

Paulding 0 0 0 14 - 14

A - Moore 72-pass from Altimus (kick failed)

A - Altimus 1-run (kick failed)

A - Lichty 1-run (Walker kick)

A - Moore 25-pass from Altimus (Walker kick)

A - Brewer 21-pass from Altimus (Walker kick)

A - Winslow 12-pass from Altimus (Walker kick)

P - Lamb 4-run (kick failed)

P - Evans 3-run (run failed)