After an 0-3 start for Maquoketa Valley’s football team, the Wildcats looked to turn that record around in the game against Monticello but came up just short, 21-14.

The Wildcats played tough throughout the entire game, fighting for each and every yard, turnover, and tackle. The team gained a total of 309 yards on offense, scoring on a passing and rushing touchdown.

MV got on the board in the second quarter on a 3-yard pass play from Parker Sternhagen to Owen Mensen and two-point conversion run by Derek Becker’s for an 8-0 lead.

Monticello answered with a 64-yard touchdown pass and extra point kick, but MV held an 8-7 advantage.

With 14.9 left before halftime, MV scored again on Derek Becker 4-yard touchdown run. At halftime, MV led, 14-7.

Early in the third quarter, Monticello brought the game within one on a 59-yard pass play, 14-13. Then, with 7:29 left in the fourth quarter, Monticello tacked on another passing touchdown and two-point conversion to take the lead 21-14. That lead stood as the Panthers earned the non-district win.

Parker Sternhagen was 16-of-34 on the night for 202 passing yards, with one touchdown and one interception. AJ Ambundo led in receiving yards with four catches for 92 yards. Andrew Kloser went 5-for-59, Trent Koopmann 2-for-27, Owen Mensen 4-for-22, and Andrew Holtz 1-for-2.

Derek Becker led the team in rushing yards, going 15-for-47 and one touchdown. Zach Digman was 13-for-28, Koopmann 6-for-25, and Sternhagen 3-for-7.

Ambundo had three kick-offs for 75 yards, and Emma Beitz recorded four punts for 136 yards.

Mathew Hucker led the Wildcats in tackling with 7.5. Ambundo added 5; Tim Harmon 4.5; Koopmann four; Carter Kruse, Sternhagen three; Holtz, Kloser, Mensen 2.5; Michael Feldmann 1.5; and Digman one.

Head coach Trevor Arnold commented on the game by saying, “The big plays were the difference tonight. We did have mental breakdowns on defense, but I’m proud of our team and what we accomplished as a whole.”