Nikki Fox/Nikki Fox Photography
Parkway’s Dillon Long reaches out for a first down after a pass from quarterback Bryce Bedwell during a football game against Coldwater on Friday, Oct. 2, in Rockford.
Nikki Fox/Nikki Fox Photography Parkway’s Dillon Long reaches out for a first down after a pass from quarterback Bryce Bedwell during a football game against Coldwater on Friday, Oct. 2, in Rockford.
BY DREW BITTNER

Times Bulletin Sports Editor

sports@timesbulletin.com

ROCKFORD - Coldwater entered Friday's matchup with Parkway as the top-ranked team in Division V. They won't be abandoning that post any time soon. The Cavaliers showed everyone at Panther Stadium why they own the No. 1 spot, knocking off the Panthers 48-14.

It seemed the fooball gods were smiling on the visiting Cavs from the opening play from scrimmage, as the Panthers quarterback Bryce Bedwell and back Shawn Miller had trouble connecting on the game's initial handoff, resulting in a fumble. Parkway did recover the loose ball, but the play foreshadowed the result of the drive - a punt - and ultimately, the contest.

Coldwater took that punt and returned it down near their own 30-yard line, setting up an eight-play drive that was capped off by a 14-yard pass from quarterback Keith Wenning to receiver Adam Rammel - yet another precursor of things to come. Troy Otten's extra-point kick was good, and with only 3:23 having come off the clock in the game, Coldwater led 7-0.

Parkway was once again forced to punt on their next possession and Coldwater immediately went back to work. This time, it only took one play, as Wenning hit Colin Paynter towards the left sideline and Paynter took it 47 yards into the endzone. Otten converted the kick again, and Coldwater took a 14-0 lead with 7:12 left in the first quarter.

The Panthers' offense showed signs of life on their third drive of the game, collecting two first downs and taking nearly four minutes off the clock before the Cavs forced them into a long third-and-12. Bedwell dropped back to pass and launched a pass intended for receiver Logan Hunter, only to have Coldwater's Andrew Feltz pick it off and take it to the house for another score. After another Otten kick, it was Coldwater 21 and Parkway 0.

After Parkway's fourth punt of the game, the Cavaliers again found paydirt. Needing only two plays this time around, Keith Wenning found Rammel open along the sideline on the first play of the second quarter, and Rammel took the reception 57 yards for the score. Coldwater took the 28-0 lead after Otten's kick with only ten seconds having ticked off the clock in the second.

The Panthers again started a successful drive on their ensuing possession, using up nearly three minutes of clock on eight plays before Coldwater's Reese Klenke came up with another interception of Bedwell and the Cavs had possession once again.

Coldwater took advantage of the Parkway miscue yet again, using a seven-play drive to score. Wenning hit Rammel once again - this time on a 49-yard strike - for the touchdown. Otten's kick was no good, but Coldwater took a 34-0 lead with 7:00 minutes left on the clock in the first half and it turned out to be the score the teams took into halftime.

The Cavaliers came out in the second half and immediately wasted no time putting more points on the board, as Wenning led Coldwater right down the field - connecting on five of six passes - and hit Rammel once again for a nine-yard touchdown strike. Coldwater took a 41-0 lead after Otten's kick.

Parkway was forced to punt yet again on their next possession, but the Panthers proved they had not given up, as they forced a Coldwater fumble on the first play of the Cavs' drive, and Sam Dellinger fell on the loose ball to give Parkway back possession of the pigskin.

Parkway made something happen this time around, as Bedwell hit Caleb Rodriguez for a seven-yard touchdown strike on the second play of the drive, putting the Panthers on the board. Riley Bransteter's kick was good and Parkway cut into Coldwater's lead, 41-7.

The Panthers would get another score as the teams opened the fourth and final quarter, as Bedwell's nine-yard touchdown run off the right side of the offensive line capped off a ten-play drive for Parkway. Bransteter's kick made it 41-14 with 10:24 remaining in the game.

It would prove to be the closest the Panthers would come in the contest, as Coldwater would add another score three minutes later - a seven-yard run by Drew Klosterman - and increase the lead to 48-14. Neither team would threaten a score again, and that score held up as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Despite the loss, head coach Ed Kuhn was proud of his team for fighting to the end.

"Well, we spend a lot of time talking about character and being men of character," said Kuhn. "And you can start to see it, they are starting to understand what it takes to be a man, and that kind of great effort from them is great to see."

"We are learning," continued Kuhn. "And we are still pretty young in a lot of spots. So we're learning - and still making a lot of mistakes - but getting better.... I always look at the positives. I try not to dwell on the negatives. The guys are fighting hard and being people of character."

And when asked how he felt his team would rebound from Friday and the attitude his players would have come Monday's practice, Kuhn was to the point.

"Keep fighting."

Bedwell finished the game completing 19 of 29 passes for 159 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Miller was Parkway's leading rusher, carrying the ball 17 times for 44 yards. Leading receiver was Dillon Long, who had six catches for 67 yards. Logan Hunter added seven catches for 56 yards, with Taylor Feasel and Rodriguez each totaling 20 receiving yards on three and four catches, respectively.

For Coldwater, Wenning was 18 of 23 for 313 yards and five touchdowns. Klosterman carried the ball eight times for 28 yards and a score for the Cavs. Rammel was the leading receiver, catching five passes for 139 yards and four touchdowns.

Coldwater racked up 363 total yards of offense to Parkway's 217.

With the win, Coldwater improves to 6-0 on the season and 4-0 in the Midwest Athletic Conference. Parkway drops to 0-6 and 0-4 in league play.