Coaches and reporters alike say something along the lines of a final score not being indicative of how a game transpired.

A soccer team loses by a pair of goals in which it dominated possession and scoring opportunities yet a fortuitous bounce or two caused the ball to go into their own net instead of the opponent’s.

Two basketball teams go point-for-point, neither one leading by more than a possession throughout, only to have one team pull away at the free-throw line down the stretch.

A football team, which has had trouble moving the football in each of its previous four games, finally gets the offense going but is unable to reach the end zone more than once in a 41-point loss.

More often than not, the final score tells the story of how the game went. Occasionally, such as the three previous examples, a final score may not reflect the game.

The Jay County High School football team experienced one of those nights Friday. The 48-7 final, a loss to Allen County Athletic Conference rival Bluffton, was in no way the full story of the game.

Jay County’s offense struggled mightily to move the football through the first four games of the season. It had just 488 total yards, an average of 122 per game.

In a 42-0 loss to Norwell in the season opener on Aug. 21, Jay County only crossed midfield once and managed just 57 yards of offense.

A week later, the Patriots finally reached the end zone, albeit they already trailed Huntington North 40-0. All but 10 of the 176 yards they gained against the Vikings came on the ground.

In a long trip west to West Lebanon to take on Seeger on Sept. 5, the Patriots totaled just 123 yards from scrimmage. A week later, a 48-7 setback to Adams Central, Jay County lost two fumbles, gained just 132 yards of offense and trailed 48-0 before scoring just its second touchdown of the season.

Friday night at Bluffton, the Patriots put together their most complete game of the year offensively. They had 353 yards of total offense — 72% of their yardage through the first four games combined — and rushed for 308 yards, which was almost what they had on the season until that game (375).

Unlike the previous four contests, Jay County moved the football with ease. They just struggled to finish those drives.

The first possession of the game Friday ended after a 9-play, 64-yard drive was stopped on downs at the Tiger 14-yard line.

The second lasted just four plays and the Patriots punted on the fifth.

Sheldon Eley set up the third possession with a 36-yard kick return that got the Patriots to the 46-yard line. From there, it took six plays for Jay County to reach the Bluffton 3, but on fourth-and-goal Rylee Huftel was chased down from behind and caught in the backfield for a loss of three yards.

The Patriots went three-and-out on their fourth possession and scored on their fifth — just 21.1 seconds before halftime — when Caleb Hale recorded his first career TD. By then, though, the Patriots were down 28-7.

Jay County’s first possession of the second half began at its own 31. A steady diet of Bailey Cox, who ended the day with 184 rushing yards on 26 carries, got the Patriots all the way down to the Bluffton 11. On fourth-and-7 from that spot, Cox had a would-be touchdown toss from Sam Dunlavy slip through his hands. Turnover on downs.

Then late in the third quarter, the Patriots faced first-and-goal from the Bluffton 9, but Dunlavy’s pass was deflected at the goal line and intercepted in the end zone.

Four drives reached the red zone, all four of them ended inside the Bluffton 15. And the Patriots did it without two key offensive players in wingback Quinn Faulkner and receiver Kess McBride, both of whom were injured.

Defensively, the Patriots gave up seven touchdowns to Hayden Nern. Half of Nern’s six TD tosses were for 25 or more yards — 95, 24 and 80. But that’s beside the point.

If Jay County finishes the four drives which stalled in the red zone, the final score very well could have been 48-35, which by all means is a respectable loss.

Instead, the Patriots suffered a 48-7 defeat, a final that was by no means a glimpse of the game itself.

“I thought the effort was something we can build on,” JCHS coach Tim Millspaugh said following the second consecutive 48-7 loss. “I felt (the) kids actually have some confidence to compete against good teams.”

With confidence to move the football as well as it did against the Tigers, Jay County has a shot at beating Woodlan for the first time in six tries when the Warriors visit Portland on Friday.

The Warriors (0-5, 0-2 ACAC) have allowed 48 points per game, and have given up 50 or more three times. They average 148 yards of total offense per game and allow 386 yards to their opponents.

Confidence can go a long way. And if the Patriots truly have it, the home crowd at Harold E. Schutz Stadium could be in for a treat.