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Tyler O’Hara takes charge at Bolstorff Field

O’Hara scans the field to find an open receiver against Valley City State on Oct. 17 in Forest City, Iowa. (Photo credit to Kristine Kingland)

By Zach Throne

On a fall Saturday early in October, Waldorf junior quarterback Tyler O’Hara paced the grass sidelines as the Waldorf offense struggled to get anything rolling against the Trojans of Dakota State.

As the backup, O’Hara wanted to be ready for his number to be called. He knew that the starting quarterback was on the fringe of getting benched for himself, so he stayed warm on the sideline, throwing footballs with the backup receivers.

“Tyler! You’re going in,” said offensive coordinator Brody Rohach through the headset.

Waldorf trailed the game 14-3 when the Tennessee Titans QB Coach’s son entered the game.

After the QB switch, Waldorf scored 17 unanswered points to complete the comeback win 20-14.

After sitting behind All-American QB Hilton Joseph for two years, O’Hara — 5-foot-nine and 170 pounds — was able to see that an undersized quarterback can succeed at the collegiate level.

“Tyler is a smart football player, and that makes up for his lack of size,” says quarterback Logan Jahnke. “He grew up around football, and it is clear when you hear him talk about the game.”

He has started for the Warriors offense in four games since then, including a 55-point outburst against Mayville State and a go-ahead touchdown with two minutes left against rival Valley City State.

These past four games are his first varsity starts since his time at East River High School in Orlando, and the difference between then and now is evident to O’Hara.

“It is much faster and defensive schemes are much more complex at the college level,” said O’Hara, “I have to prepare more extensively than I did in high school.”

The supporting cast for O’Hara is definitely a situation a new starting quarterback would want to be surrounded by.

“I’ve known a bunch of these guys since my freshman year, and it definitely helps to have them be so supportive and have my back,” said O’Hara. “There’s tons of talent around me as well, and that makes me comfortable back there.”

To finish his junior campaign, he and the Warriors take on the same Trojans team he entered the game against about a month ago.

Waldorf (4-3 NSAA) play against Dakota State (2-3 NSAA) at Bolstorff Field on Nov. 7 at 2 p.m.