Moten celebrating prep career with All-Ohio honors

J. Patrick Eaken

Before the 2020 prep football season began, a photograph of Northwood senior quarterback Jay Moten was draped all over the cover of The Press 12-page football preview section.

With all due respect to Sports Illustrated’s SI Jinx or the so-called Madden Curse, Moten’s season was not ruined because of it — quite the contrary.

An Associated Press Division VI honorable mention All-Ohioan, Moten can add Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Offensive Player of the Year to his accolades.

Moten ran for 1,140 yards, averaging 11.8 yards per carry, and scored 19 touchdowns as Northwood won a Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship, finishing the season 7-1. In his passing game, Moten was 34 of 64 for 981 yards, averaging 28.8 yards per completion, and 14 TDs with just two interceptions.

“I think the big thing for him was his demeanor. There are things that a lot of people don’t notice, just from the outside,” Northwood coach Ken James said. 

“He made a lot of big plays obviously, but when he was a freshman the first game he started he threw four TD passes by the half, and you would have thought that he just woke up from a nap. It didn’t look like anything and that’s his demeanor. At one point we told him, ‘Hey, you just threw your fourth TD pass so you’re allowed to celebrate a little bit.’ 

“He just knows who he is and he is just a real calm kid, so that translated into him not getting upset by much. You know, if things didn’t go well he would not freak out and that is always something you like in a quarterback,” James continued.

Because of Moten and his half-brother, first team All-Press senior running back Demond Marks, coach James, in his 35th year at the helm, had to incorporate an aerial attack into his offensive strategy the last few years.  

“The strange thing, Bob Snider played quarterback here in the 70s and holds most of the school passing records. We had the undefeated ’77 team back at a banquet one fall and I was talking to him and he said, ‘Hey, you need to start throwing the ball,’ and I said, ‘Hey, you’re records are safe while I’m here,’ and he didn’t complain,” James said.

“Jay ended up breaking quite a few of those. Career touchdown passes, he blew past that one a while back, total yards, career passing yards and stuff like that. He never threw it enough in a game to get the career records for yards in a game or anything like that,” James continued.

“He had a real good career and fortunately he stayed healthy and got better every year. He had a 30-3 record as a starter, so I’m pretty impressed with him.”

Northwood’s only loss was to Green Meadows Conference champion Fairview (9-1), 38-36, losing on a field goal as time ran out in a Division VI regional quarterfinal. However, it was that loss that made Moten’s season, even more than the seven wins.

In a game moved to Defiance High School’s Fred Brown Stadium, it was an 87-yard TD pass from Moten to first team All-Press senior receiver Brayden Fulkert that brought the Rangers to within a point against Fairview late in the fourth quarter. Fulkert caught a perfectly thrown ball in stride and outran an Apache defensive back. 

Marks  added the two-point conversion run on a jet sweep and Northwood led 36-35 with two minutes remaining. The Rangers had come back from a 35-20 deficit.

“I would say that playoff game against Fairview was the most fun. I saw during the game they started off strong and we weren’t prepared. We hadn’t played a team that was that good in a while,” Moten said.

“We started slow and throughout the game, when they went up after half and then it was the fourth quarter we were still down, I’m sure a lot of people thought it was over, including a lot of our teammates. 

“Toward the end of the game it was like, ‘OK, it’s our senior year so let’s finish it hard and let’s work together and try to come back and whatever happens; happens.’ We played like a team and we almost got the win, coming back from the lead that they had on us. Especially that touchdown to Brayden was great.


‘Icing on the cake’

Marks is an honorable mention all-state wide receiver and 5-11, 229 senior A.J. Rable is a second team all-state offensive lineman, opening up the big holes for the two siblings. 

Getting to play four years of high school football with Marks was icing on the cake for Moten. 

“It was pretty sweet that we’ve been able to stick together since we were younger and play in high school and stuff like that before there comes a time when we have to split up and we can’t play together,” Moten said. “It was very fun. I watched him progress a lot throughout the years and I’m sure he’d say the same thing about me.”

James, too, will miss having those two on his team.

“We typically deal with our seniors when they are gone, and we’ll miss them, and not from just a production standpoint. He and Demond are kind of opposites — Demond is real boisterous and talkative and Jay is pretty quiet. Both are real fun kids to be around, good people, so we’ll miss them just from the standpoint of getting to spend time with them and enjoying being around them,” James said.

James says getting Moten set up to play collegiately is still a work in progress.

“We had Division II visits set up, but basketball and COVID got in the way, so we’re kind of in a holding pattern right now,” James said. 

“We’re doing stuff online and have colleges watching film on him, so hopefully we’ll know in the next few weeks.”

Meanwhile, James, who has led Northwood to 13 league titles and 10 playoff appearances, is the All-Press Coach of the Year. Moten says it was James’ mentorship that shaped him into a standout football player.

“It was very fun, and difficult, but more fun,” Moten said. “The reason I think it was difficult is a lot of work — a lot of lifting and stuff like that. I had to adapt to the lifting because I wasn’t really a big lifter or anything. When I started off, I was 130 (pounds) but every year I played for him I progressed 10 pounds. It was worth it.

“I’m going to miss the brotherhood and being around the community, and the environment of Northwood. It’s been a big help and a change over the years and it’s made me a better person. I’m going to miss Northwood, especially playing football for coach James and all the rest of the coaches.”



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