DELHI — The Maquoketa Valley home crowd knew it was only a matter of time before tailback Ryan Parmely got loose.
Bottled up for 33 first-half yards and with his team trailing 7-0, Parmely charged out of the halftime locker room, rushing for 125 yards and three touchdowns in the second half as Class 1A eighth-ranked Maquoketa Valley held off No. 10 Clayton Ridge, 19-17, in a district opener last night at Delhi.
“Credit the line. They did a great job up front,” Parmely said. “They do everything for me, and I do whatever I can for them.”
Maquoketa Valley’s bread-and-butter turned out to be a wildcat formation in which Parmely took a direct shotgun snap from center, then bulled around the right end behind three blockers, good for scores of 16 and 15 yards to take a 13-10 lead after three quarters.
The game nearly slipped away from Maquoketa Valley (3-0) in the fourth quarter. After a 5-yard Parmely plunge extended the Wildcats’ lead to 19-10 with 7:50 left, Clayton Ridge quarterback Kohle Helle directed two final drives.
Helle, whose 99-yard interception return for a touchdown provided the only score of the first half, scrambled and eluded Wildcat defenders as he found open receivers before scoring on a 3-yard keeper with 6:52 remaining to pull within 19-17.
After forcing a Maquoketa Valley punt, Helle took over at his own 46-yard line with 2:09 remaining, but a Colten Rastetter 37-yard field goal attempt with 23 seconds remaining was wide left. Helle finished with 201 yards passing.
“It was two physical football teams going at it,” Maquoketa Valley Head Coach Wes Wilson said. “We made enough plays to win the game.”
Maquoketa Valley visits Jesup next Friday, while Clayton Ridge (2-1) travels to Alburnett.