The Western Dubuque football team might have stumbled in its 49-14 loss to West Delaware at Manchester, Oct. 2, but they didn’t fall. This year’s team is still looking to have an impact on who wears the Class 3A, District 3 crown as well as making some noise in their playoff run that starts Oct. 16.

The game couldn’t have started better for the Bobcats as they forced West Delaware to punt the ball away after earning just one first down on their opening drive. Tommy DeSollar returned the punt 14 yards to give the visitors the ball at their own 34-yard line. Taking chunk plays when they could, the Bobcats moved the ball down the field until they faced fourth and 12 from the West Delaware 22. That’s when Garrett Baumhover hooked up with DeSollar who worked his way into the end zone for a touchdown. Eric Monahan’s kick was good to put the Bobcats up 7-0 early in the first quarter.

That’s when it all changed for Western Dubuque. Even momentum put on a West Delaware sweatshirt as the home team resorted to trickery on the kickoff return, getting the football to Kyle Cole on a reverse. He was finally pulled down at the Bobcat six-yard line. Two plays later quarterback Jared Voss powered his way into the end zone for his first of three touchdowns in the game.

“Things were trending in the right direction early on. To be able to march down the field and be up 7-0 was the way to start things especially since we didn’t have the ball first,” said Justin Penner, head coach of the Bobcats. “So that was huge, but the ensuing kickoff is when the wheels began to fall off. That’s when we started to fail to execute in many facets of the game.”

The Hawks’ bruising and banging offensive unit proved to be too much for the Bobcat defense as West Delaware put this game away, scoring 49 unanswered points.

“Their game plan against us was spot on. We’ve got to do a better job preparing our kids for that game and the games coming up,” said Penner. “At the end of the day, we’re going to get better from that experience. We don’t like feeling that way so we’re going to do whatever it takes to not have to feel that way. “

Offensively, the Bobcats were able to move the ball and get first downs, but they were unable to finish those drives with points.

Western Dubuque did find the end zone one more time before the final horn sounded. This time Baumhover threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Dakota Lau. Once again Monahan’s kick was good to make the final score 49-14.

“I feel that we have plenty of time to right the ship and get our confidence back. We have a very tough district and Class 3A is very deep this year,” said Penner. “We believe in our process and know that if we continue to get better each day that we’ll be in the mix. It’s just a matter of getting back to work and these kids are not afraid of working hard.”

The Bobcats, 4-2 for the season and 3-1 in district play, travel to Decorah Friday to battle with the Vikings who dropped to 5-1 and 3-1 in the district with their surprising 21-17 loss to Waverly-Shell Rock. If Decorah wins, they are district champs. If the Bobcats win, then West Delaware takes the district title.

WD’s leaders were: passing — Baumhover 13-of-28 for 128 yards, two TDs and one INT; rushing — Spencer Zinn 10-for-49, Jacob Butcher 10-for-49, Lau 4-for-29; receiving — DeSollar 7-for-63 yards and one TD, Lau 5-for-57 and one TD, Butcher 1-for-8; extra points — Monahan 2-for-2.