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Maquoketa Valley’s 2019 varsity football team: front from left, A.J. Ambundo, Dylan Lane, Landen Deutmeyer, Andrew Holtz, Owen Mensen, Parker Sternhagen, Ben Weber and Matthew Hucker; second row, assistant coach Greg Drew, Lucas Orcutt, Trent Koopman, Carter Klaren, Tony Offerman, Caleb Livingston, Derek Becker, Isaac Kramer, Zach Digman, Tim Harmon, Mitch Heims, Emma Beitz and coach Trevor Arnold; third row, assistant coaches Jon Whitman and Scot Moenck, Michael Feldman, Carter Stahlberg, Jamie Pitts, Evan Elgin, Devin Smith, Jeremy Weber, Tanner DeMoss, Mason Kruse, Jaxson Kramer, Andrew Kloser and assistant coach Kurt Hatfield. Not pictured are managers Emma Richter and Nya Burnett.

Maquoketa Valley football will be under the lead of a new coach this year as the Wildcats hope to rebound from a 2-7 record in 2018.

Trevor Arnold will take the reins of the program and looks to nine returning starters to pave the way to success. Seniors Carter Stahlberg, Michael Feldmann, Zach Digman, Derek Becker, Matthew Hucker and Trent Koopmann will provide upper-class leadership, along with juniors Timmy Harmon, Andrew Kloser and Owen Mensen. Junior Parker Sternhagen won a letter last year and is looking to take over the quarterback spot.

Arnold lists several promising newcomers as well: senior Mason Kruse, juniors Andrew Holtz, Mitch Heims and Evan Elgin, sophomore AJ Ambundo and freshman Jaxson Kramer.

“Depth is our biggest concern,” stated Arnold. “Our returning nucleus of players have the talent to be successful throughout the season if we can keep them all on the field. Managing snaps and everything else that goes with staying healthy from a coaching standpoint is key to our success. We increased our numbers from 23 in 2018 to 29 this season but we are still looking to increase that number through success on the field and providing a positive experience for our student-athletes. In 2018 we did not field a JV team. We are able to play two quarters of JV football with the current number of players we now have.”

As far as the district competition goes, “there isn’t one team that anyone looks to as a clear-cut favorite. Ed-Co had a tremendous amount of success last year but they need to replace a great group of seniors. MFL MarMac has an entire offensive line returning and, if they can replace key losses in the backfield, may be considered the frontrunner. It should an exciting week five-through-nine because it could be anyone’s to win and it isn’t likely a team will finish their district slate undefeated,” concluded Arnold.