Jake Hosch rushed for three first-half touchdowns to help get the Western Dubuque football team off to a good start as the Bobcats overpowered the Clinton River Kings, 42-0, in the season opener for both teams played in Clinton, Aug. 30.
“It was fun to be back under the lights on Friday night. We’ve got a group of guys who believe that they can be special, but more importantly, they enjoy being around one another,” said Justin Penner, head coach of the Bobcats. “We don’t want to take any of those Friday nights for granted. It was fun to get going.”
The Bobcats wasted very little time in showing that this group is focused and is playing with a purpose as they took the opening kickoff and needed just three plays to score their first offensive touchdown of the season on a 13-yard touchdown run by Hosch. Gabe Ulrich’s extra point made it 7-0 Bobcats and the black and red just kept on rolling.
“We’re at our best when we start fast,” said Penner. “We win an awful lot of our football games if we can come out hot and score on our first possession. That certainly helped things out a lot.”
It also helps when you score every time you touch the football in the first half. Ben Bryant found the end zone on a 4-yard run and Calvin Harris also crossed the goal line on a 4-yard run to give the Bobcats a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
It was more of the same in the second quarter with Hosch pounding the ball into the end zone on a 3-yard run. Harris threw his first touchdown pass of the year, a 15-yard toss to Will Burds which also tied Harris with Dylan Gotto for the school’s record of career-high touchdown passes at 28.
Hosch’s third touchdown of the game, a 2-yard run, made it 42-0 as Ulrich was a perfect 6-for-6 leg on extra points.
While the offense was having fun putting points on the board, the Bobcats’ young defense was proving they are also ready for the season by shutting down Clinton. The defense allowed just 153 yards on the night, 82 yards running the ball on 24 attempts and 71 passing yards, and gave up just seven first downs.
“The Clinton coaching staff really did a nice job of putting us into some difficult situations by using some challenging formations we haven’t seen before,” said Penner. “They put their kids in a good position to be successful but our kids adjusted to it. I’m really proud of our kids for being able to adapt and I felt like they got better as the game went on. That’s certainly what we want to be able to do every single game.”
The Bobcats had a very balanced offensive attack gaining 167 yards on the ground on 24 attempts and passed for 111 yards as they controlled the game every step of the way.
“It was great to get all of our guys some playing time,” said Penner. “I’m excited about hosting Williamsburg, but more importantly I’m excited about having a home game.”
The Bobcats are set to host Williamsburg (1-0) Friday, Sept. 6, with the kick-off scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
WD’s leaders were: passing — Harris 6-of-7, 85 yards, one TD; Payton Quagliano 2-for-2, 26 yards; rushing — Hosch 11-for-117 yards and three TDs, Bryant 3-for-28 and one TD, Kyle Schirmer 8-for-13, Harris 1-for-6, Quagliano 1-for-3; receiving — Burds 3-for-50 and one TD, Kale Cartee 2-for-26, Quagliano 2-for-21, Bryce Ploessl 1-for-14; tackles — Carter Kluesner 6.5, Cartee, Collin Hogan and Ploessl 3.5 , Emerson Lux-Morales three, Bryant, Tommy DeSollar and Hosch 2.5 , Will Conlan, Matt Felton, Cameron Kluesner and Caleb Nerney two, Ethan Blair and Logan Brosius 1.5 , Shane Beitzel, Burds, Sawyer Nauman and Dustin Wille one, Ryan Cook, Max Feldmann, Cole Phillips, Garrett Pitz and Schirmer 0.5 ; kickoff returns — Burds 1-for-18; punt returns — Bryant 1-for-25, Burds 2-for-42; punting — Hosch 1-for-31.