As teams enter mid-season form, the Maquoketa Valley Wildcats looked for the first victory of their season against undefeated MFL MarMac. There was a sense of confidence and determination in the way MV opened the game, but fell short at the end losing, 31-16, Oct. 5.

The first score of the game saw the Bulldogs gain a rushing touchdown, and starting the score off at 0-7 on the night.

The Wildcats got on the board at the end of the first quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run by Derek Becker and a two-point conversion run by Parker Sternhagen, making the score 8-7.

At the start of the second quarter, MFL’s momentum on offense was stopped with a sack coming from Tim Harmon and Michael Feldman. Later in the same quarter, MFL ran the ball in for a 41-yard touchdown, putting the Bulldogs ahead, 14-8 with a successful extra-point kick.

Going into halftime, the Wildcats knew that they needed to change their game plan and continue to fight. Toward the middle of the third quarter, MFL drove the ball downfield and kicked a field goal and made the score 8-17.

Toward the end of the third, MV quarterback Parker Sternhagen ran up MV’s right side of the field for a 5-yard touchdown, and with the two-point conversion successful, MV pulled within one, 17-16.

On MFL’s next drive the Bulldogs scored a touchdown on a pass, and later on a runoff of an MV fumble, making the final score 16-31.

“Three turnovers and the drive-killing penalties were what led to the final result,” MV Coach Trevor Arnold said. “We did do a lot of really good things on offense and defense, and it was our first game this season with a 100-yard rusher, and our first game with over 200 yards rushing as a team.

“We do have some positives to build off going forward and despite the loss, we are getting better. We played a quality, ranked opponent until the last couple minutes of the game. We get three more opportunities for a win and our next is against Clayton Ridge.”

MV’s leaders were: rushing — Becker 14-for-116 and one TD, Sternhagen 9-for-60 and one TD, Zach Digman 8-for-48, Trent Koopmann 2-for-15; receiving — AJ Ambundo 2-of-51, Koopmann 3-of-39, Andrew Holtz 3-of-18; passing — Sternhagen 8-of-28 for 108 yards and 2 interceptions; tackles — Koopmann 15, Andrew Kloser 10.5, Harmon eight, Feldmann 6.5, Ambundo 5.5, Owen Mensen and Sternhagen 3.5, Digman and Carter Stahlberg three, Matthew Hucker 1.5, Holtz one, Becker 0.5.