East Buchanan spoiled Maquoketa Valley’s homecoming, Sept. 24, with a 40-0 win, handing the Wildcats their third straight loss with no points on the board.

The Bucs scored with just under five minutes gone in the game, on a short run from Connor Williams, but failed to convert a two-point attempt for a 6-0 lead.

Just three plays later, the Wildcats’ TJ Cook was picked off and the Bucs began from the 40, a series that didn’t go anywhere and gave the Wildcats the ball at their 44. Incomplete passes and a penalty flag forced them to punt seven plays later, beginning a long Buccaneer series that ended with another Williams run for a 12-0 lead that held till halftime when both teams were forced to punt twice.

The Wildcats opened the second half with the ball but went three-and-out, and the Bucs needed just two plays to punch in for an 18-0 lead. Another interception ended the Wildcats’ next two series, the second culminating in a Buc touchdown. This time they went around the end of the line to convert the two points and it was 26-0.

A series that began at the 27 was thwarted when Cook was again picked off and the Bucs needed just two more plays to retaliate, 32-0. They converted the two for a 34-0 lead with 11:23 left in the game.

The Wildcats gained yardage on their next series, advancing from the 44 with runs and a pass to Avery Holtz to reach the 19. Two more runs, from Lance McShane and Caden Ronnebaum, got them to the nine, but three straight pass attempts failed to connect and the ball went back to East Buchanan with 6:29 left. They scored their final touchdown on a 38-yard run from Williams and turned on the continuous clock with just 2:26 left in the game.

Coach Trevor Arnold commented, “We were fighting an uphill battle from the first snap with a significant disadvantage in the trenches. We couldn’t hold up against their large front line and they got downhill on us from the opening drive through the end of the game.

“Offensively, we moved the ball better than the previous three weeks and came away with 150 yards of offense. It’s way below the standard required to win but we are looking for the positives and week-to-week improvement right now. The difference this week was we had scoring opportunities but just didn’t take advantage of them. We couldn’t connect on three separate passes that would have likely given us a good chance of scoring.

“We will continue to try and put the pieces together to play four quarters and compete in the fourth quarter to get a win. We end the year with three solid opponents and three teams in the mix for playoff spots. We continue to work to play better football each week and build on that. Our young guys are improving but the gap right now is a little more than we would like in order to say we can show up and expect to win games. It’s a process and we are in the middle of it.”

Individual stats include: passing — Cook 9-of-24 for 80 yards, four interceptions; receiving — Holtz 6-for-63, Landen Deutmeyer 2-for-11, Carter Klaren 1-for-6; rushing – Preston Roling 8-for-39, McShane 11-for-35, Ronnebaum and Devin Meeks 2-for-4; interception—Holtz; kick returns — Holtz 2-for-16, Klaren 1-for-14, Roling 1-for-6, Dashiel Lahr 1-for-4; kickoff return — Holtz 1-for-10; Kickoff — Brock Trenkamp 1-for-43; punts —Trenkamp 2-for-50; tackles — Aidan Salow nine (eight), Deutmeyer six (five solo), Klaren 5.5 (four), Lucas Orcutt five (four), Jamie Pitts five (three), McShane 4.5 (three), Holtz and Caden Ries 3.5 (two, three), Ronnebaum, and Tanner DeMoss 2.5 (two), Roling and Lahr two (one), Devin Smith 1.5 (one), Trenkamp, Nathan Beitz and Brock Daack 0.5.