Waldorf Football Opens With a Victory as Bridges runs for 217 yards, two TDs

The Waldorf College football team was locked in and on a mission, crushing Mayville State University in a 48-0 win during Saturday’s season opener.

“Since training camp, the focus and the buy-in have been so important,” Waldorf coach Kent Anderson said. “Their preparation going in was great.”

Aside from generating 552 yards of offense behind a hardworking offensive line, the Warriors (1-0) were stingy on the defensive end as they limited the Comets (0-1) to just 68 yards of offense in the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) matchup.

“Everybody looks at the offense, but you also have to look at what the defense did,” Anderson said. “That allows us to have that many more snaps when they can get some three-and-outs and some stops.”

Waldorf built a 17-0 halftime lead and erupted for 31 points in the second half en route to the school’s first shutout victory since joining the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

The Warriors pounded it on the ground, rushing 60 times for 353 yards.

Dedarius Bridges, a 6-foot, 180-pound freshman running back from Miami, paved the way as he ran for 217 yards and two touchdowns in his college debut.

“Dedarius runs with great vision,” Anderson said. “He had a really good day.”

Senior Emmanuel Osuchukwu, Waldorf’s leading rusher last season, returned from a preseason injury to add 80 yards.

“We had a nice 1-2 punch,” Anderson said. “There was a lot of balance.”

Quarterback Christopher Smith shined in his first game with the Warriors. The junior transfer from Los Angeles Southwest College went 16 of 33 passing for 199 yards and two TDs. Smith also rushed for 42 yards and a TD.

“He got us in and out of some plays in key situations,” Anderson said. “He’s got the flexibility to make changes. His general leadership on the field was great. Overall, I think he did an excellent job.”

Senior Antoine Cummins also visited the end zone, running for 14 yards in the win.

DeKendrick Moncrief led Waldorf’s receiving corps, hauling in four catches for 96 yards and two TDs. Moncrief went to work against Mayville State’s Rashad Flanders, the NSAA Preseason Conference Player of the Year.

“It was a good matchup,” Anderson said. “It was a nice battle, but DeKendrick had a great day.”

Senior Lashawn Chapman caught two passes for 25 yards for the Warriors. Bridges finished with 24 yards on two receptions.

Junior defensive end Jamaar Crayton and senior linebacker Giano White led Waldorf’s defense with nine total tackles each. Freshman defensive lineman Javon Polk and freshman defensive back Latevinan Glass recorded six tackles apiece.

Sophomore defensive back Cory Evans intercepted two passes and collected five tackles for the Warriors. Junior defensive end Evan Van Klei, junior defensive lineman Paul Hall and senior linebacker Christopher Oliver contributed four tackles each.

On special teams, kicker Dustin Wilke added a pair of field goals. The sophomore from Germany connected from 34 yards and 26 yards.

Being picked to finish seventh in the NSAA preseason poll and not landing any players on the preseason all-conference list served as bulletin-board material for the Warriors.

“We didn’t have any preseason all-conference players and I think there were some guys who felt they wanted to make a statement after being picked last,” Anderson said.

Opening the season with a big win, Waldorf is energized heading into next Saturday’s 7 p.m. home opener against Trinity Bible College (0-0).

“Momentum is everything,” Anderson said. “The guys, right now, have bought in. They want to work hard, they’re listening and we’ve got to take advantage of that. We’ve got to stay grounded, we’ve got to stay humble and we’ve got to work hard.”