West Branch came to Delhi Sept. 10 and showed the Wildcats what it was like to play a team that is almost always in the season rankings. The Bears pounded the home team 52-0 behind a 206-yard, two-touchdown performance from Andy Henson.

And the Bears wasted no time showing their dominance. Taking the opening kick at the 10, Peyton Miller raced the length of the field, and Wyatt Fiderlein’s extra-point kick made it 7-0 with just 12 seconds gone on the clock. They needed a little over two minutes to score again, this time from Fiderlein and the race was on, 14-0. Two minutes later, the feat was repeated for a 21-0 lead and they made it 28-0 before the first quarter ended.

With 8:34 showing on the second-quarter clock, the score changed to 35-0 on another Miller run and the continuous clock ticked on.

The Wildcats moved the ball better than they had all night on their next series, going 11 plays and taking advantage of a couple of flags on the Bears before being forced to punt again. But a short punt gave the Bears excellent field position and they needed just three plays to connect, 42-0, by halftime.

The Wildcats received the kickoff to start the second but fumbled on that return, giving the Bears a 33-yard field to work with. Henson gained all 33 of those to punch in two plays later for a 49-0 lead with 10:33 on the clock.

Just before the end of the third, Fiderlein hit a 17-yard field goal for the final mark. In the fourth, both teams played reserves.

Coach Trevor Arnold was reflective. “We knew West Branch was going to be a tough opponent. The task became much tougher when we lacked the willingness to match their physicality and energy from the start. The Bears are well-coached and have talent across the board. They came into Friday night searching for what their offensive identity was going to be after struggling in weeks one and two.

“They got on track with their running game early, feeding Andy Henson the ball, and we struggled to slow him down. Our tackling was better but we struggled to maintain our gap responsibility along the defensive line and that caused massive defensive problems. Offensively we had a few plays here and there but struggled to move the ball consistently against their defense. We did manage to connect on our longest play of the season, a Cook-to-Holtz pass good for 34 yards.

“Our district goals are still in front of us and a trip to Bellevue this week is all that matters. If we can play together Friday night, we will give ourselves a shot at getting on track and getting a district win to get back to 2-2 overall and, most importantly, 1-1 in the district. We have young guys and inexperienced older players who are still working toward being a consistent varsity players. Our best athletes and leaders need to be more consistent as well so our younger guys can follow their lead. We look forward to the week of preparation and the challenge ahead of going to play a tough opponent on the road Friday.”

MV’s statistical leaders were: passing — TJ Cook 6-of-14 for 47 yards and one interception; receiving — Avery Holtz 1-for-34, Lance McShane 4-for-12, AJ Ambundo 1-for-1; rushing — Ambundo 15-for-25, Brock Daack 3-for-5, McShane 1-for-5; kick returns — Holtz 5-for-107, Ambundo 2-for-34; kick-off — Ambundo 1-for-49; defense — Aidan Salow 7.5 (six solo), Ambundo four (four), Lucas Orcutt 3.5 (two), Daack three (three), Carter Klaren three (two), Holtz, McShane and Landen Deutmeyer two (one), Tanner DeMoss 1.5 (one), Caden Ronnebaum 1.5, Brock Trenkamp and Dashiel Lahr one (one), Nathan Beitz one, Logan Beaman, Preston Roling and Domarius Strickland 0.5.