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Presentation tops Waldorf, withstands fourth-quarter rally

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy: Waldorf Sports Information Director

ABERDEEN, South Dakota – It was a tale of two halves for the Waldorf University football team in a 31-21 loss to Presentation College during Saturday’s Dacotah Bank/North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) matchup.

Trailing the Saints (6-2, 2-2) by 24 points early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors (1-8, 0-5) stormed back to reduce the deficit to 10 points.

“In the second half, we battled and got ourselves back into the game,” Waldorf coach Kent Anderson said.

Coming off a bye week, the Warriors aimed to play with a competitive edge.

“We talked about in the off week that we wanted to compete better.” Anderson said. “Sometimes we felt that we weren’t always competing at our highest level.”

Waldorf racked up 433 yards of total offense, outgaining Presentation by 18 yards. However, turnovers plagued the Warriors as they lost three fumbles and threw two interceptions.

“It’s hard to overcome five turnovers,” Anderson said. “It happens as freshmen and has to do with decision-making and ball responsibility.”

Waldorf’s Hilton Joseph completed 22-of-32 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot, 170-pound redshirt freshman quarterback from Miami also ran for a TD while scrambling for 35 yards.

Junior Ja’Ron Kellem led the Warriors with 99 yards and two TDs while hauling in five receptions. Freshman Samuel Huntley provided 53 yards on five catches, and redshirt freshman Cameron Newsome turned in 49 yards on four receptions. Redshirt freshman Michael Payton finished with 24 yards while catching two passes, and senior LaMont Johnson contributed 20 yards on two receptions.

Waldorf redshirt freshman Maliek Stephens rushed for a team-high for 73 yards on 13 carries. Freshman Darryel Bethune added 62 yards on eight attempts.

Quarterback Austin Eggl guided the Saints as he went 16-of-31 to pass for 181 yards, three TDs and an interception.

Nathan Jones powered Presentation’s potent ground game, running for 191 yards and a TD on 30 carries. John Oldenkamp contributed 50 yards on seven attempts.

Logan Weisser was Eggl’s top target, leading the Saints with 80 yards and a TD on six receptions. Maurice Whiters Jr. caught two passes for 41 yards and a TD. William Moffet added 36 yards and a TD on three receptions. Wayne Scatena closed out the game with 20 yards on three catches.

Freshman Marcel Lindner led the Warriors with eight tackles. Senior Trent Jones recorded seven tackles, while seniors Christian Riccabona, Jeffrey Heflin, Rigo Verdin and sophomore Connor Curran delivered five tackles apiece. Freshman Martel Emerson and junior Wragner Daceus finished with four tackles each. Emerson forced and recovered a fumble, while Daceus grabbed his second interception of the season.

Skyler Miller put together a strong defensive performance for the Saints with 11 tackles, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and an interception. Archie Naert collected eight tackles, while Gabe Medrano came away with seven tackles and a fumble recovery. James Jones-Smith provided six tackles. Presentation received five tackles apiece from Eric Bell and Lane Colton Hall. Jeff Branch and Jordan Taylor each forced fumbles, Sean Brandimarte recovered a fumble and Shaki Eaton had an interception.

The Saints cashed in on their opening possession with a 30-yard field goal from Dylan Paulson.

A 2-yard TD run from Nathan Jones capped a two-play, 44-yard drive for Presentation. Paulson, who went 4-for-4 on point-after attempts, split the uprights to give the Saints a 10-0 lead with 7 minutes, 40 seconds left in the first quarter.

On its second possession of the second quarter, Waldorf fumbled the ball and Brandimarte recovered the loose ball for Presentation on Waldorf’s 36-yardline. Six plays later, Eggl connected with Weisser on an 18-yard TD pass to push the Saints to a 17-0 advantage with 10:42 to go until halftime.

Eggl delivered a 28-yard scoring strike to Whiters Jr., boosting Presentation to a 24-0 lead with 4:38 remaining in the second quarter.

After being limited to just 125 yards of total offense and playing through rain in the first half, the Warriors generated 308 yards the rest of the way.

“In the second half, we rose to the occasion and put ourselves back in the game,” Anderson said.

Joseph put Waldorf on the board, scoring on a 1-yard run to finish a four-play, 58-yard drive. Senior German Ponce, who went 3-for-3 on PATs, tacked on the extra point to cut Presentation’s lead to 24-7 with 10:17 left in the third quarter.

During the opening possession of the fourth quarter, Eggl found Moffett on a 20-yard TD pass as the Saints extended their lead to 31-7.

Waldorf answered as Joseph hooked up with Kellem on a 2-yard TD pass, bringing the Warriors back within 17 points with 6:19 to play.

An onside kick by Lindner was recovered by Payton at Waldorf’s 47-yardline. On the ensuing possession, Joseph once again hit Kellem – this time on a 16-yard TD pass to trim Presentation’s lead to 31-21 with 4:59 remaining in the game.

Lindner attempted another onside kick, but the Warriors just missed an opportunity as Weisser recovered the ball for the Saints at Waldorf’s 45-yardline.

“It was right in our hands, but we just couldn’t capitalize on it,” Anderson said.

A second-down pass from Eggl was intercepted by Daceus at Waldorf’s 10-yardline on the following possession. One play later, the Warriors turned the ball over on a pass that was picked off by Miller. With 1:53 left in the game and no timeouts remaining for Waldorf, the Saints ran out the clock to secure the win.

Showing fight to the finish has been the case for the Warriors, who have fielded a team predominantly consisting of underclassmen this season.

“We didn’t quit, and that’s another good sign,” Anderson said. “We just continued to battle and kept it a game, which I do admire. I just wish we would’ve had a better start.”

Waldorf hosts the University of Jamestown (3-6, 2-3) in next Saturday’s 1 p.m. conference battle.

Jamestown pulled out a 27-21 win over Valley City State University (5-4, 4-2) in the battle for the Paint Bucket rivalry on Saturday. The Warriors look to score a positive outcome in their final game of the season, but know they’ll be tested by the Jimmies.

“That’ll be a tough game,” Anderson said. “They’ve got some momentum now. I know our motto will be to ‘compete for four quarters,’ which we don’t feel we’ve done all year. Not just competing, but playing smart will be our goal.”