Vermillion Tanager football team wins first playoff game 35-14

Vermillion Tanager football team wins first playoff game 35-14 The Tanagers gave the home fans a scare when they fell behind, for the first time in eight games, in the first round playoff game in the DakotaDome Thursday, Oct. 21.

Tri-Valley took advantage of a pass play in the Vermillion half of the field when David O'Hara intercepted the Cullen Iverson pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.

The game started with VHS kicking to Tri-Valley (they had won the toss and deferred their choice to the second half) and the Mustangs went "three and out" with O'Hara lifting a 54-yard punt to the Tanager 15-yard line. After gaining a first down, and making a couple short yardage runs, the unexpected interception presented a "wake-up call" which inspired the home team to respond. And � the intensity of both the defense and offense for the remainder of the half was a great sight to behold.

The Mustangs were held to 14 yards rushing and five yards passing while surrendering 200 yards total offense and four touchdowns for the Tanagers. The 28-6 half-time lead pretty much cinched the game as the second half was still dominated by Vermillion, using the running game to to eat up the yardage and the clock and giving some of the reserves a chance to gain play-off experience.

Each team scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter but the second round playoff game against West Central was probably on the team's collective minds.

Jason Madsen opened the VHS scoring with a seven-yard run at 4:03, and Adam Brooks kicked the extra point to put the Tanagers ahead and they were never threatened the rest of the game. Thad Roche scored three TDs on 17-, five-, and four-yard runs and Jared Thedorff had a one yard TD run. Adam Brooks was five for five in extra points.

Individual stats

Jared Thedorff (72 yards/13 carries), Thad Roche (129 yards/18 carries), Jason Madsen (22 yards/five carries), Cullen Iverson (11 yards/five carries) and six of 10 passing for 95 yards.

Cory Novak caught four passes for 78 yards and Tyler Vacek gained 11 yards on a pass play. Roche also caught a pass for a six-yard gain and Eric Rickord intercepted a pass and returned it 10 yards.

It may be monotonous but the defense was a team effort again with Brandon Benzel taking the lead with six tackles followed by Dave Hanson (four) and 14 defensemen with two or less.

With the first round playoff 35-14 win, the varsity upped its season record to a perfect 9-0.

"I thought our team played the most intense half of football this season after the interception return for a touchdown put us behind for the first time this year," said Coach Gary Culver. "We just dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage after that (as the statistics would show). I thought our offense ran the two minute drill to perfection at the end of the first half. We lost some of our enthusiasm in the second half, but I think that could be expected. We passed our first test, but the game against West Central gives a great challenge for our kids."

The Class 11A Region II championship quarter-final game was played Tuesday, Oct. 26 in the DakotaDome.

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