MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University football team was part of an offensive showdown Saturday afternoon in its homecoming game against Dordt College, but it was a big defensive play helped seal win No. 4 for the Tigers.
Senior tight end Derek Carlson scored four touchdowns to help power the DWU offense, but freshman linebacker Brady Bonte did his part by scooping up a Defender fumble and running it back for a touchdown late in the game. The two helped Dakota Wesleyan – which improved to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference – hold on for a 45-31 win against Dordt.
For their big games, both Bonte and Carlson have been honored by the GPAC. Carlson is the league’s offensive player-of-the-week, and Bonte earned the defensive player-of-the-week award. This is the first weekly honor of his career for Bonte, and the first offensive weekly honor for Carlson, who earned GPAC Special Teams Player-of-the-Week honors as a freshman for his duties as a punter.
Carlson, a Sioux Falls, S.D., native, came one touchdown catch shy of tying the school record for points in a game and touchdown catches in a game Saturday afternoon. He hauled in five total passes – four of which were touchdowns – and scored 24 points to lead the DWU offense. He finished the day with a career-high 163 total receiving yards. The four touchdown catches is also a career high, and leads the conference this season. He caught touchdown passes of 53, 22, 73 and 5 yards Saturday afternoon from quarterback Jon Bane.
Carlson is currently third on the team with 283 receiving yards so far this season. He has 11 catches and averages a team-high 25.7 yards per catch. He is tied with teammate Josh Endres with seven touchdowns, and averages 56.6 receiving yards per game. Carlson also currently leads the NAIA with an average 46.5 yards per punt.
Bonte played a large role in helping the Tiger defense keep Dordt out of the end zone Saturday. He was in on a team-high 19 tackles – six solo and 13 assisted tackles. Bonte’s biggest play of the game came with 3:34 left to play when he recovered a Dordt fumble and ran it back 40 yards for a touchdown to put DWU up 38-24 and help seal the game for the Tigers. That marked the first touchdown of his collegiate career.
Bonte, a Garretson, S.D., native, leads the DWU defense with 58 total tackles – including a team-high 24 solo tackles – in his freshman season. He is second with 5.5 tackles for a loss, and also has one sack, one interception, one fumble recovery and two pass breakups. He is second in the GPAC with 11.6 tackles per game and fifth in the NAIA in the same category.
The Tigers take their 4-1 record to Sioux City, Iowa, for their biggest test of the season Saturday afternoon, Oct. 13, when they take on No. 4 Morningside. Last season, the top-15 showdown between No. 13 DWU and No. 8 Morningside at Joe Quintal was decided in the final play of the game and the Mustangs came away with a 28-26 win.