WELLS — As the players and coaches made their way through the handshake line Friday night, one of Tim Roche’s assistant coaches for Wells High turned to him and said, “Man, we just beat a really good team.”

To which Roche replied, “That must mean we’re really good, too.”

Yes indeed. Wells, powered by the running of Payton MacKay and Jonah Potter, overwhelmed Winslow 18-6 in an opener between teams with Class C state championship aspirations.

MacKay, making the move from fullback to halfback, rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and Potter gained 64 rushing yards and another touchdown as the Warriors won their 29th consecutive game.

Wells, which moved up to Class C this year after winning the last two Class D state championships (and has won three straight state titles overall), rolled up 255 rushing yards and 18 first downs – 17 on the ground.

Defensively, Wells was just as stout, holding the Raiders to no first downs in the first half, which ended with Wells ahead 12-0, and just 97 rushing yards.

“We really thought we’d put on a better showing then this,” said Winslow Coach Mike Siviski. “But Wells stuck it to us. They outplayed us in every phase of the game.

“They outblocked and out-tackled us, and really played well.”

The Warriors wanted to make a statement and certainly did.

“I feel for every game we want to show how good we are,” said MacKay. “A lot of teams are doubting us and we want to prove them wrong.”

Roche told his players before the game to expect a hard-fought game. “We told them that (Winslow) was a team that could come in here and beat us,” he said. “I’m very proud of what we did tonight.”

The Warriors forced a three-and-out Winslow punt on the game’s first series. Then Wells drove 35 yards in five plays to take the lead on Potter’s 1-yard plunge.

It stayed that way until late in the second quarter, when MacKay scored on a 22-yard run.

“Obviously at Wells we run the ball a ton and that was a huge key for us,” said Potter. “I’ve got to thank the linemen; they did a fantastic job today.”

Then MacKay made the play of the game in the third quarter to set up his second touchdown, a 7-yard rush that made it 18-0 with 4:07 remaining. He dropped back to receive a punt and as the ball rolled toward him with a Winslow player close behind, MacKay made a risky move to pick the ball up.

Somehow he sidestepped the defender, then ran to the middle for a 55-yard return. Roche was surprised he picked up the ball. “We tell them to field the ball,” he said. “Just not with  guys so close.”

But MacKay made it work to set up his second score.

Winslow averted the shutout with 30 seconds left on a 3-yard by Evan Bourget.

“This feels great,” said Potter. “Getting moved up to Class C, it’s a challenge after our success in Class D. I’m glad we got to prove to everybody that we belong in the class we’re in right now.”

 

 

 

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