Despite a strong defensive effort, the Briar Cliff football team was unable to come away with the victory in the season opener as the Warriors of Waldorf picked up the victory 17-10 Saturday night in Forest City, Iowa.
Both offensives struggled to maintain much success and the two defensive units caused several turnovers in the first game of the year for both squads. Waldorf got on the board first with a touchdown late in the first quarter. Briar Cliff would respond with a rushing TD by Greg Henry and a short field goal by Daniel Velazquez gave the Chargers a 10-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Warrior quarterback Hilton Joseph scampered for a 10 yard score with less than three minutes to go in the half for the last touchdown of the game as Waldorf would not relinquish the lead, tacking on a fourth quarter field goal to get to the final 17-10 score.
“We had too many missed opportunities,” said BC head coach Dennis Wagner. “We had seven dropped balls, two for touchdowns, protection errors and two missed short field goals that cost us six points and momentum.”
Henry was the main bright spot for the offense in his first outing with the Blue and Gold. He rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. He also hauled in three passes for 12 yards.
Preston Mulligan got the start at quarterback as the freshman was dealing with pressure from the defense throughout. Waldorf forced four sacks, a number equaled by the BC defense, as Mulligan finished 19-of-45 passing for 181 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. Khamren Davenport was the top target with six grabs for 62 yards. Elijah Brown and Rashad Brown each brought down four passes for 53 and 40 yards, respectively.
Joseph, a dual threat quarterback that was named an honorable mention All-American a season ago, was held in check by the Chargers. He finished the game completing 15-of-27 passes for 148 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He scored a rushing touchdown but finished with -7 yards on the ground.
“The defense played well,” Wagner noted. “We’ll need to clean some things up. We have just got to regroup and come home and get a win versus a good Dakota State team. We need the Charger fans to come support us on Saturday.”
Dakota State (1-0) will head to Memorial Field next Saturday fresh off a victory against another GPAC foe after downing Dakota Wesleyan 33-30 in double overtime on Thursday. Briar Cliff (0-1) looks to bounce back against another North Star Athletic Association opponent after the loss to Waldorf (1-0).