Mike Stetson, Sports Information Director
VALLEY CITY, N.D. – It turned out to be a defensive slugfest, one the Warriors dishearteningly lost by a single point.
Host Valley City State allowed just a 25-yard field goal to Waldorf’s football team in the second half as the Vikings rallied for a 17-16 win in North Star Athletic Association play Saturday.
“This is a hard loss to swallow,” Waldorf head coach Will Finley said. “We had opportunities to take the lead back but did not get it done.
“Penalties hurt us badly today,” he added. “I have to find a way to fix those this week.”
Waldorf (1-1 overall, 1-1 NSAA) took control early after Logan Knutson recovered a fumble with just 2 minutes, 14 seconds gone in the contest.
The Warriors promptly marched 50 yards downfield, taking a 7-0 lead when Taylen Alexander tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Samuel Huntley midway through the first quarter.
From there, though, the Warriors could only muster field goals offensively as Slater Gifford booted kicks of 47, 19, and 25 yards through the uprights.
Gifford’s career-longest kick of 47 yards put the Warriors in front 10-3 with 9:35 left in the first half, and his second field goal of the day just before halftime gave Waldorf a 13-10 lead at the break.
Out of the locker room, the host Vikings (2-0, 2-0) started the second half with what proved to be the game-winning drive, a 73-yard, 9-play march down the field capped by Jalen Pfeifer’s 22-yard TD toss to Caid Combs.
From there the Vikings defense clamped down, only once allowing Waldorf to cross midfield.
But that one drive nearly won the game for the Warriors, who took over at their own 14 in the fleeting seconds of the third quarter.
Powered by running backs Jatoviay Hill, who rushed for 24 yards, Tahj Snow, who carried the ball for 22 yards, and J.J. Harrell, who ran for 21 yards on the drive, Waldorf marched to the Valley City State 8-yard line.
There the drive stalled, though, on back-to-back incomplete passes, leading to Gifford’s final field goal of the day, and Waldorf’s final points of the day leaving them one shy of the Vikings.
Hill led the way on the ground with 77 yards on 19 carries for the Warriors, and receiving, as he caught five passes for 62 yards, while Waldorf’s quarterback, Alexander, completed 18-of-31 passes for 159 yards and one touchdown.
Harrell added 11 carries for 56 yards and another five receptions for 31 yards for Waldorf, which was led defensively by Thomas Edwards with 11 tackles, and Wayne Parrish, who made eight total tackles.
The Warriors now make their home debut next Saturday, Sept. 26, as they host Presentation at Bolstorff Field at 1 p.m.
“Our guys will be excited to get back on the field this week,” Finley said. “We will learn from our mistakes and move forward onto a very good Presentation College football team.”