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Comets hand Waldorf homecoming loss

By Matt Oliver

FOREST CITY – A homecoming victory eluded the Waldorf College football team as Mayville State University came out on top 33-25 in the Dacotah Bank/North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Game of the Week on Saturday.

The Warriors (1-5, 1-3) owned a five-point edge after three quarters, but 13 fourth-quarter points lifted the Comets (5-1, 3-0) to their fourth straight win.

“It’s the same story that we’ve had the last couple weeks,” Waldorf coach Kent Anderson said. “When it comes down to it late in the game, we’re not making plays.”

Mayville State piled up 410 yards of total offense, accounting for 237 yards through the air and 173 rushing yards. The Warriors netted 314 yards of offense with 202 yards on the ground.

Julian Ampaw led Waldorf, rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound sophomore running back from Hamburg, Germany averaged 7.8 yards while carrying the ball 17 times.

“He just keeps getting yards,” Anderson said. “He quietly picks up 100-plus yards. That’s kind of what he does.”

Freshman Kevin Pollock ran for 43 yards, combining with Ampaw to deliver a 1-2 punch for the Warriors.

“They provide a good tandem for us,” Anderson said.

Brandon Butts made his first start at quarterback for Waldorf, completing 14-of-23 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. The Blountsville, Ala. native also rushed for 23 yards.

“He does give us a little bit of life with his feet,” Anderson said. “He can scramble and extend plays.”

Whether making passes on the move or picking up yards on the run, Butts showed poise in his debut.

“For a true freshman starting his first college game, we knew he was going to be nervous and have to fight through it,” Anderson said. “We were really pleased with him, but he has to fight for that job each week and he knows that as well.”

Senior Tevin Padgett led the Warriors with 32 yards on three receptions. Junior LaMont Johnson hauled in a 28-yard reception while sophomore Torrey Green caught four passes for 23 yards and a touchdown. Pollock contributed 20 yards on three receptions.

Andrew Blake went 14-of-28, passing for 237 yards and a touchdown to lead the charge for the Comets.

Jerril Jenkins powered Mayville State’s ground attack, running for 90 yards and three touchdowns. Homer Reed rushed for 78 yards and a trip to the end zone.

Dantrel Horne was the top receiver for the Comets, totaling 89 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Jacob Robbins corralled three passes for 72 yards and Chris Mayes provided 48 yards on two receptions.

Reed capped Mayville State’s opening possession, scoring on a 1-yard carry.

Waldorf cashed in on its second possession to tie the game behind a four-yard TD run from Ampaw.

Jenkins made his first end-zone visit on the ensuing possession. The two-point conversion failed as the Comets grabbed a 13-7 lead.

Junior Dustin Wilke connected on a 34-yard field goal for the Warriors, trimming Mayville State’s lead to 13-10 with 15 seconds left in the first quarter.

Blake found Horne on a 14-yard TD pass during the first possession of the second quarter, pushing the Comets to a 10-point advantage.

Butts hit Green on an 8-yard scoring strike with 21 seconds remaining in the second quarter. The point-after attempt was blocked by Donte Stevens and Mayville State would hold a 20-16 lead at halftime.

Waldorf battled back in the third quarter, outscoring the Comets 9-0.

“I was pleased to see us come out and play well in the third quarter,” Anderson said.

Mayville State opened the third quarter with a punt being blocked by senior Jamaar Crayton, which resulted in a safety and allowed the Warriors to inch within two points.

Junior Vybert Greene put Waldorf in front for the first time, scoring on a 4-yard TD run following a double reverse. Wilke added the PAT as the Warriors went on top, 25-20 with 6:33 to go in the third quarter.

The ensuing possession ended with freshman Wesley Charles intercepting a pass for Waldorf and returning it 14 yards to Mayville State’s 49-yardline.

With the chance to seize control, the Warriors came up empty. Butts launched a second-down pass that was perfectly placed and dropped in the end zone. Two plays later, the Comets snagged their second interception of the game.

“That would’ve given us all of the momentum and we didn’t capitalize,” Anderson said.

Between dropping passes or potential interceptions, Waldorf missed out on opportunities on both sides of the ball.

“We just aren’t making plays in crunch time,” Anderson said. “We can’t leave that many plays out there. You can’t do that against a team that believes in what they’re doing. Mayville State is playing well and they executed.”

The Comets reclaimed the lead, going up 26-25 as Jenkins busted a 29-yard TD run with 10:52 to play in the fourth quarter. Jenkins wasn’t done and scored once more on a 2-yard plunge with 5:16 remaining in the game.

Sophomore Ty’Karius Brooks, senior Evince Dossous and junior Terrence Jenkins led the Warriors with seven tackles apiece. Junior Rigo Verdin recorded six tackles while junior Trent Jones and senior Preston Landon made five stops each. Sophomore D’Angelo Tucker and senior Darnell Colvin finished with four takedowns apiece.

Delvin Arnold anchored Mayville State’s defense with eight tackles and a forced fumble. Ryan Henderson and Jason Holmes collected seven tackles each. The Comets also received six tackles apiece from Blaine Miller, Doug Koepplin and Nick Xalis. Henderson and Joe Guidry intercepted passes.

Mayville State hosts the University of Jamestown (1-5, 1-2) in next Saturday’s NSAA contest.

Waldorf enters a bye week, looking to focus on improving.

“It would’ve been nice having a bye week with just a little bit of momentum, but either way the kids need it,” Anderson said.

The Warriors return to action on Oct. 24 for their final home game against conference foe Presentation College (3-3, 0-3), which kicks off at 1 p.m.

“I think Presentation is very similar to us,” Anderson said. “They’re a team that probably is a lot better than their record. They’re a good team and things just haven’t gone their way. I think we’re a solid football team in this conference, but things just haven’t gone our way. They’re just like us, looking for that spark and momentum.”