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Blue Hawks top Warriors in NSAA contest

By Matt Oliver

DICKINSON, N.D. – The Waldorf College football team couldn’t find its groove on offense in a 31-14 loss to Dickinson State University during Saturday’s Dacotah Bank/North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) matchup.

“We had spurts at times, but we just did not execute,” Waldorf coach Kent Anderson said. “We can’t give the best team in the conference that many chances.”

Eight drives stalled as the result of three-and-outs for the Warriors (1-4, 1-2). The Blue Hawks (5-1, 3-0), who are receiving votes in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll and sit atop the NSAA standings, capitalized despite a strong showing from Waldorf’s defense.

“We had too many three-and-outs,” Anderson said. “Our defense was playing well and we needed to get something going, but we didn’t do it.”

Joshua Perry-Kruse connected on a 35-yard field goal during Dickinson State’s first possession. Waldorf’s third drive ended with an interception by Cain Boschee, who ran 27 yards for a touchdown on the return to give the Blue Hawks a 10-0 lead in the opening quarter.

Dickinson State’s Kaler Ray found Dalton Reid on a 36-yard TD pass, boosting the Blue Hawks to a 17-point advantage with 10 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Robert Sterling scrambled for a pair of TD runs in the third quarter, helping Dickinson State reel off 31 unanswered points. Sterling scored on runs of 11 and two yards.

Sophomore quarterback Cody Smith, who completed 17-of-37 passes for 141 yards and two TDs, provided both of his scoring strikes for the Warriors in the fourth quarter. Smith hit sophomoreGene Jackson on a 15-yard TD pass with 10:06 left in the game. Freshman Kevin Pollock hauled in a four-yard TD pass from Smith with 2:16 remaining.

Two possessions before Waldorf’s final touchdown, the Warriors lost a fumble on Dickinson State’s 5-yardline. The red-zone fumble was forced by Michael Hernandez, who also made the recovery for the Blue Hawks.

Both teams turned in 68 plays in the game, but Dickinson State outgained the Warriors with 362 yards of total offense. Waldorf finished with 245 yards of offense, accounting for 104 yards on the ground. The Blue Hawks rushed for 200 yards and went for 162 yards through the air.

Sophomore Julian Ampaw ran for a team-high 64 yards for the Warriors. Freshman Alex Pierre added 27 yards and Pollock provided 24 yards.

Freshman Alvyns Alcenord caught four passes for 43 yards to lead Waldorf’s receiving corps. Jackson and Pierre totaled 20 yards each, pulling down two receptions apiece.

Tray Boone powered Dickinson State’s ground game, rushing for 116 yards. Ray went for 38 yards and Sterling finished with 21 yards.

The Blue Hawks used two quarterbacks. Sterling went 7-for-9 passing for 84 yards. Ray completed 3-of-7 passes for 78 yards. Dickinson State’s top receiving target was Reid, who corralled four passes for 74 yards.

Despite dropping the loss, it was another solid defensive effort from the Warriors as they recorded 13 tackles for a loss.

“Defensively, we played very well,” Anderson said. “We’ve been doing that for the whole season. I admire the way our guys go out and play very hard and come up with some big plays.”

Seniors Darnell Colvin and Jamaar Crayton led Waldorf with seven tackles each. Colvin collected a team-high four tackles for a loss. Crayton recorded three tackles for a loss, including a sack.

Junior Terrence Jenkins and sophomore D’Angelo Tucker added five tackles apiece for the Warriors. Freshman Wesley Charles and senior Darius McMillan contributed four tackles each.

Waldorf knew it was in for a tough test while spending the past week preparing for the Blue Hawks. A 10-hour road trip to Dickinson didn’t play a factor, but offensive struggles continued to persist for the Warriors.

“There were no surprises,” Anderson said. “We just didn’t execute on offense and that was the difference.”

Waldorf continues conference play next Saturday, hosting Mayville State University (4-1, 2-0) in a 1 p.m. homecoming contest at Bolstorff Field.

Mayville State is coming off a 14-13 win over Valley City State University (3-3, 1-2).

Valley City State, which is receiving votes in the NAIA poll, was tabbed to win the NSAA championship and rolled to a 55-6 win over Mayville State during a nonconference matchup on Sept. 5. The second meeting was a different story with the Comets pulling out the upset.

The Warriors are looking ahead to a positive week of practice while correcting the miscues that have sidetracked them through the first half of the season. Waldorf crushed Mayville State 48-0 in last year’s season opener and the Warriors know it’ll fuel the Comets, who will be fired up after knocking off Valley City State.

“Mayville State is going to be extremely confident coming off a huge win,” Anderson said. “They’re going to remember last year’s game when we went up there and kind of surprised them. They’ve got some momentum, so they will be tough.”