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Waldorf Football Thankful for Season With Eyes on Ring

Ryan Martinez turns up field after a catch during a drill at practice on Sept. 2, 2020 in Forest City, IA (Photo Credit to Kristine Kingland)

By Zach Throne

When the country started to shut down in mid-March, most COVID-19 concerns were expected to subside by football season, but as the summer drew on, people began to worry about their beloved football.

Two of the five main athletic conferences in NCAA football postponed their seasons to the spring, along with D-III and Junior College schools. Some Waldorf football players thought this meant the inevitable delay of their season as well.

“When the bigger schools were starting to cancel or move the season to the spring, I was not optimistic at all that we would have our season,” said junior defensive back Trevor Gunderson, “But as we got further into camp, I started to increasingly become more positive about us having a season.”

Gunderson said the team is eager for an opportunity this year, and the season now looks promising.

Assuming the entire season occurs, Waldorf has high hopes for the 2020 regular season and playoffs (which the NAIA moved to the spring).

A conference title is well within reach for a team that has lost it the past two years on last-second field goals.

“The ending to our conference title hopes the last two years has really pushed us during a summer where it was tough to stay motivated since gyms were closed and with the uncertainty of the season,” said senior quarterback Logan Jahnke. “If there was a year for Waldorf to win NSAA title, it’s this year.”

They lost the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in the NSAA in Hilton Joseph (who now coaches the wide receivers) and Marcel Lindner. Despite this, Waldorf returns 10 all-conference honorees, including All-American wide receiver Ryan “Tino” Martinez.

“Tino has been looking amazing all camp. He makes playing quarterback easier because he can bomb someone at any time,” said Jahnke.

New head coach Will Finley retains his defensive coordinator duties that helped the Warriors become one of, if not the, best defense in the North Star Athletic Association last season.

Waldorf finally plays against Mayville State this Saturday, Sept. 12 to kick off its season in Mayville, ND.