ROCKFORD – The Parkway Panthers kicked off the home portion off the Midwest Athletic Conference play during the week four matchup with the Versailles Tigers for high school football. The Panthers flexed their muscle on three straight scoring drive to beat Versailles by a score of 21-7.

Parkway picked up a first down on their opening drive thanks to two five-yard runs from Nick Hawk. After a two-yard run from Jason Luth, Nick Hawk rumpled for a 53-yard touchdown with 10:46 left in the first quarter.

Corey Walls added the extra point to give Parkway a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers picked up their lone score of the contest on their second offensive play as Ryan Martin rolled out the pocket on a play action bootleg. Martin found his tight end Evan Hiestand on a drag route that Hiestand took 65 yards to the house.

Derek Cavin connected on the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.

Parkway got a first down on a seven-yard sweep from Luth on their second possession. Two plays later, Panther quarterback Eli Rich hooked up with Caleb Kinney for a 44-yard connection. Hawk capped off the drive with a three-yard run, and Wall added the extra point to go up 14-7 with 7:43 left in the first quarter.

The Panthers again found paydirt on their third possession as long runs from Rich and Luth set up a 12-yard quarterback keeper that allowed Rich to put Parkway up 20-7. Walls extra point gave Parkway a 21-7 lead with 3:13 left in the first quarter.

Parkway forced two turnovers on the next two Versailles possession but couldn’t extend their lead. The Tigers got an interception to end a promising Parkway drive near the end of the first half.

The Panthers had a promising drive on their first possession of the third quarter as Rich found Preston Stober for a 25-yard connection. The Parkway drive would end on the edge of their red zone as the Panthers failed to convert on fourth down.

The Tigers had a last-ditch chance to get back into the ball game as Versailles started the run with 4:35 left in the game. Three long runs from Martin aided by a couple of Parkway flags put Versailles in scoring position.

The Parkway crowd got louder and louder after each Versailles first down as the Panthers faithful wanted to preserve their 14 point advantage. Parkway held Versailles offense out of the end zone and got a turnover on downs.

Panthers put the nail in the Versailles coffin as a 45 yard run from Hawk flipped the field with 2:09 left in the contest. Parkway ran out the clock and picked up their first win and first MAC win of the year. The won over Versailles also marks the first win and first MAC win of the Dusty Rutledge era.

“We keep plugging away, and we didn’t play very well the first three weeks,” said Parkway football coach Dusty Rutledge. “We got outcoached the first three weeks we didn’t get out coached tonight. Our kids really won this one so Parkway football players are 1-0 and the Parkway football coach is 0-3.”

“The big thing is tonight we finally came out and matched someone intensity at the start. Where the Crestview game we didn’t, Spencerville we didn’t and Marion Local we didn’t do a lot of things right. It was nice and credit to the kids,” added Rutledge.

Parkway improves to 1-3 on the year and 1-1 in the MAC. Versailles drops to 1-3 on the season and 0-2 in the MAC. Parkway will welcome Minster to Parkway High School next Friday night.