Tanagers finish regular season with 13-7 loss to West Central

Tanagers finish regular season with 13-7 loss to West Central Vermillion High School's football season ended Tuesday, Oct. 27 with a 13-7 loss to West Central in the Class 11A Region 2 championship game.

It was the second time No. 1 West Central and No. 2 Vermillion have faced off this year.

"It was a great high school football game," said head coach Gary Culver. "And again it was unfortunate that one of the top two teams had to fall out."

Vermillion scored first in the game. With 8:07 left in the second quarter, Louis Sitting Crow made a touchdown on a two-yard run. Tim Brodersen kicked the one-point conversion.

Later in the second quarter, West Central's fullback Collin Busse scored a touchdown on a one-yard run. Shawn Robbins kicked the point after.

The score was tied 7-7 at the half.

During the third quarter, West Central's Keith DeGroot caught a seven-yard pass by quarterback Jerhod Smithback and made a touchdown. The Trojans were unable to score the point conversion.

The Tanagers close their season with an 8-2 record and the Trojans advance to the semi-finals with a 10-0 record.

"Our team played hard on both sides of the football," Culver said.

Vermillion had a total of 115 offensive yards, 72 rushing and 43 passing. West Central totaled 267 yards, 152 rushing and 115 passing.

Sitting Crow had 23 carries for 43 yards.

Jay Merrigan had five carries for 15 yards. Merrigan also completed four of 12 passes, giving Vermillion its 43 passing yards.

Justin Griffith had four carries for 11 yards.

"The outcome is nothing to hang our heads about," Culver said. "It was a hard-hitting game, and a great experience for the kids. We appreciated the great fan support."

In the preceding game, Vermillion beat Canton (No. 3) with an 18-0 shutout.

Canton was undefeated prior to the first round game of the playoffs. Vermillion went into the game with a 7-1 record.

The Tanagers scored their first touchdown with only 1:22 left in the half on a one-yard run by Sitting Crow.

In the second half, Vermillion immediately went to work on offense after receiving the opening second half kickoff. They drove their first possession 78 yards and the drive was capped off by a 31-yard touchdown run off of a draw play by Sitting Crow.

Vermillion controlled much of the clock in the second half and was able to put one more touchdown on the board later in the fourth when Merrigan hit Matt Knutson for a touchdown pass with 4:01 left in the fourth quarter.

The Tanagers rushed for 191 yards on the night as Sitting Crow racked up 156 yards on 22 carries. Merrigan passed for 65 yards on three completions.

Sitting Crow led the Tanager defense with 10 tackles as Jesse Paulson had 8 stops.

"The kids put together a great game for the first round of the playoffs," Culver said.

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