Tanagers show philanthropy in Dome during home opener against Winner Elizabeth Slagle and Nicole Veitz, sophomores at Vermillion High School, had plenty to smile about Friday night as they watched the Vermillion Tanagers defeat the Winner Warriors 27-13 in football action at the DakotaDome. The game was the Tanagers' first football match at home. Read more about it on page 7. If it wasn't so hot in the DakotaDome last Friday you might have thought it was Christmas, as the Tanager football team acted like, alternately, Scrooge and Santa Claus in the game against the Winner Warriors.
Using a "stingy" defense that dominated the first quarter, Vermillion forced a fumble (recovered by Tim Russell) on the opening series and scored on a 30-yard pass from QB Cullin Iverson to Adam Koller after first establishing the power running game involving Jared Thedorff and Thad Roche.
The Warriors' next possession fared no better as the Tananger pass defense caused a "3 and out" punting situation. On the ensuing play, wingback Jason Madsen took an inside reverse 67 yards for a touchdown, leading to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
In the second period, Vermillion continued its defensive domination and scored in the first minute and a half when Roche plunged for a yard. Adam Brooks kicked his third extra point and the lead grew to 21 points.
Winner's troubles continued as the ball was fumbled again on the kickoff. They next attempted to stop the running game of the Tanagers by crowding the line of scrimmage, which opened up the pass routes for Tim Russell and Cory Novak as they produced three first downs, gaining over 60 yards combined. Kollar and Madsen completed the "passing phase" of the Tanagers as Iverson went seven for nine in the first half gaining 122 yards.
Suddenly, it looked like the contest was over, but Winner was not convinced and with a couple breaks took advantage of a missed FG attempt and a Vermillion fumble to get the touchdown "gift" when Phillip Ringstmeyer crossed the goal with one and a half minutes to halftime.
In the third quarter, the combination of Roche and Thedorff covered 75 yards (45 by Roche on two carries and 30 by Thedorff on three carries and a score).
The remaining game was a comedy of errors as both teams fumbled and otherwise committed mistakes of omission. In one sequence of plays, Winner punted three times without surrendering possession of the ball.
With about two minutes left, the Warriors recovered a fumble and quarterback Casey Heenan closed out the scoring with a two-yard run.
Leading rushers for Vermillion were: Roche 133 yards/22 carries, Madsen 91 yards/four carries and Thedorff 87 yards/17 carries.
Total offense yardage: Vermillion 442, Winner 156.
First downs: Vermillion 18, Winner 7.
Leading the defense was Tyler Vacek with five tackles and three pass breakups and eight other Tanagers had three or four tackles each. Besides Tim Russell, fumble recoveries
Were attributed to Jason Madsen and Cory Novak (two).
Next game is Friday, Sept. 10 at Beresford.