During a season of ups and downs, Maquoketa Valley football saw growth in many ways despite having a record of 3-6 on the year. One of the biggest factors of growth for this team was accepting new head coach Trevor Arnold, which they did with open arms.
The Wildcats were led by seven seniors — Trent Koopmann, Derek Becker, Isaac Kramer, Matthew Hucker, Michael Feldmann, Carter Stahlberg, and Mason Kruse.
“These seniors can hang their hat on being the group that got everything back on track and working toward bigger and better things. There is not a lot of glory in that but the people that truly understand how all of this works and how hard it is to be successful appreciate the effort they gave throughout the off-season and regular season. We will miss them going forward,” Arnold said.
Koopmann tallied a multitude of stats on both offense and defense. He had 14 carries for 71 yards, 40 receptions for 433 yards and four touchdowns; led the Wildcats with 68.5 tackles (52 solo) while also getting three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. He had seven kickoff returns for 123 yards and four punt returns for 84 and a touchdown.
Becker led the team in rushing yards with 515 and three touchdowns. With his 36 receiving yards, he led the Wildcats in total rushing and receiving yards with 551. Becker added 27.5 tackles (20 solo) and two fumble recoveries for one touchdown with the longest recovery going for 49 yards. On special teams (kickoff returns) he went 8-for-181, highest on the team.
Feldmann was third on the team in total tackles (41) and fourth in solo tackles (25) with two assisted sacks. He was second on the team for kick off yards (180) and was first in total punting yards (515) on 18 attempts.
Kramer had 21.5 total tackles (13 solo) with one sack and one fumble recovery, Hucker had 15 total (10 solo) also with one fumble recovery, Stahlberg had 18 (10 solo) and 1.5 total sacks, and Kruse gained four assisted tackles on the season.
Although MV will be losing its leading rusher in Becker, and leading receiver in Koopmann, they can rejoice in knowing that junior Parker Sternhagen will be their starting quarterback next season, as well as having sophomore AJ Ambundo at receiver.
Sternhagen passed for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns with the longest pass going for 61 yards. He also was second on the team in rushing (90 carries) with 393 and led in rushing touchdowns (seven). Sternhagen’s passing yards rank fifth all-time in MV’s school history, and also led the district with his 1,757 total yards and total touchdowns (18).
Ambundo was tied for second on the team in receptions (23) and was also second in yards (414) with one touchdown.
“The future is bright. We have increasing numbers in all grades and expect to have 33-plus players on the squad next year, up from 29 this year,” Arnold said.
“We have great coaches at all levels and a school and community wanting to support a successful program. All things point to a lot of future success for the Wildcats,” he concluded.