Tanagers’ homecoming successful with 25-3 win over Lennox Orioles

Tanagers' homecoming successful with 25-3 win over Lennox Orioles Sometimes a little adversity creates the spark igniting the adrenaline flow and helps to improve an athletic effort.

A case in point is the circumstances in the opening minutes of the Tanagers' homecoming game played in the DakotaDome on Friday, Sept. 22. The kickoff was received by the Tanagers and returned to the 25-yard line. A fumble on the second offensive play was recovered by the Orioles, and after a 24-yard pass to Lennox's Ryan Rothenberger from Ryan Kruse, it appeared that this would be a long night.

However, the vaunted defense of the home team became activated and the visitors had to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Zeb Anderson.

As it turned out, the Orioles had to depend on their passing game because the Tanagers completely stifled their ground game � finishing with a minus-three yards rushing for the game!

The only points the Orioles saw during the last 46 minutes were scored by the Tanagers. With their running game effectively stopped, Kruse was forced to throw 30 passes, completing about half of them, as Vermillion's secondary used the "bend, but not break" theory to perfection.

Meanwhile, the power running of Thad Roche gained 131 yards on 21 carries, and the outside rushes of Dan Tolsma carrying 17 times for 71 yards, kept the ball out of the hands of the Orioles much of the time. Branden Benzel completed two of eight passes for 47 yards and Tim Russell caught both of them � one for a 31-yard touchdown.

The other TDs were scored by Roche (two) on five- and three-yard rushes, and Tolsma on a two-yard run. Adam Brooks was successful on one extra-point kick.

The defensive statistics were dominated by the linebackers, cornerbacks and safety since that's where all those Lennox passes were going! Tyler Vacek had eight tackles and two pass breakups. Eric Rickord recorded three stops, intercepted a pass and returned it for 30 yards, and broke up another.

Brooks was credited with a couple of tackles and two pass breakups. Tim Brodersen had seven tackles, Benzel had six, Don O'Connor and Anthony Senne had five each (most for minus yards), and Dave Hanson had four stops and two breakups.

"It was a great T-Day homecoming victory for our football team, the student body and fans," said Coach Gary Culver. "Defensively, we wanted to be able to put pressure on their quarterback and mix up our pass coverages. Offensively, we wanted to control and football with our rushing game and keep the football away from Lennox.

"We accomplished both of these goals," he continued. "We're looking forward to hosting Blue Earth, MN, this Saturday. It's always fun for the coaches and players to compete against a new opponent from outside the state of South Dakota."

With the homecoming win, the Tanagers upped their record to 5-0 and will next be in action as they host the Blue Earth, MN, Buccaneers in the DakotaDome on Saturday, Sept. 30. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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