VHS wins defensive struggle in second game In a game of "one-ups-man-ship" the Tanagers survived an intensive defensive struggle with the Trojans from West Central in the Region II quarter final playoff game in the DakotaDome Tuesday, Oct. 26.
The final result of the game wasn't decided until over three and a half quarters of "between the 30 yard lines" had been played.
An indication of the back and forth nature of the fight was the sequence of pass interceptions, midway through the fourth quarter, which created a change of possession four times in the space of a couple of minutes.
Danny Duerksen intercepted a Cullen Iverson pass and during the ensuing Trojan possession, Jason Madsen intercepted a Nathan Morken pass (on the VHS two yard line) and, following a 15-yard run by Thad Roche, moving the ball out of the shadow of the endzone, Jeremy Schultz intercepted an Iverson pass and returned it to the 20-yard line, after which, Tyler Vacek intercepted a Morken pass in the endzone for a touchback.
The next time the Trojans had the ball on offense was after the final pass completion from Iverson to Madsen for an 80-yard touchdown with 6:27 on the clock.
Jared Thedorff (13 yards/seven carries), Thad Roche (92 yards/ 19 carries), Jason Madsen (three yards/four carries), Cullen Iverson (eight yards/four carries) and four of 10 passing for 148 yards. Cory Novak caught two passes for 53 yards,Tim Russell gained15 yards on one pass reception and Madsen's 80-yard reception/run for a TD was the "play of the game." Roche scored on a one-yard plunge in the last minute to seal the final 12-0 victory.
Both teams had their defenses tested but the Tanager defense was a team effort "par excellent," recording a total of 50 tackles and too many "big hits" to enumerate. But the leading tacklers were: Dave Hanson (seven), Brandon Benzel (six), Anthony Senne (five), Cory Novak (five), Chris Sinkie (five) Cullen Iverson and David Jensen (four each) and Wes Christensen (three); plus a bunch more with one or two each.
With the quarterfinal round playoff 12-0 win, the varsity upped its season record to a perfect 10-0. The Tanagers will face the Bon Homme Cavaliers in the semifinal game Saturday, Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. in the DakotaDome.
"I thought our team had one of the finest defensive performances that I've seen in sometime," said Coach Gary Culver. "We were continually able to rise to the challenge against an outstanding football team. It was one of the most emotional games I've been involved with in my coaching career. The crowd really helped us from that standpoint.
"We now have another tough game facing us in the semifinal against the Cavaliers," he continued. "They really caused us some problems in the regular season game, especially on the defensive side. It should be a great matchup for the fans to watch."