Vermillion Tanager homecoming spoiled by 34-0 defeat by Lennox by Jim Prosser You needn't look for excuses when adversity causes the outcome to be less than you had hoped for � but, missing two varsity starters due to injuries, and facing an opponent with a cadre of 12 returning senior lettermen, sometimes things don't turn out in your favor.
The Tanager football team had good intentions but their execution was not up to their usual standards as five turnovers ignited Lennox to a 34-0 rout on homecoming Friday, Sept. 21 at Crane-Youngworth field in Yankton.
The athletic effort was there in the first quarter as Lennox was held to scant yardage by Vermillion's effective defense. Unfortunately, a fumble by the home team gave field advantage to the Orioles and a six-play, 36-yard touchdown was the result.
In the second quarter, the Tanagers had the ball on offense for 13 plays and were near the "red zone" when a second fumble put Lennox in sight of the goal line and six plays in just over a minute were culminated by a four-yard pass into the end zone and a 14-0 halftime lead for the visitors.
While the vaunted defense of the home team tried to hold back the flood gates, the offense gave up another fumble and two interceptions in the second half and their fate was sealed.
The defensive statistics were dominated by the linebackers, since the front line was fully occupied with a huge offensive line from Lennox. Jeff Brevik had eight tackles and a pass breakup. Jeff Gilbertson recorded seven stops. Drew Lawrence had six tackles and a fumble recovery while Clint Christensen had six, Collin Prosser and Bart Miller registered five each, and Miller also broke up a pass. Ray O'Connor and Kellen Cusick each had four tackles, and Oliver Hope and Brett Jepsen each made three tackles and broke up a pass play. John Holoch had two stops and an interception from his defensive back spot.
First quarter � LHS's Brett Murray, four-yard run (Derek Gearman kick) 1:22.
Second quarter � LHS's Steve Kruse, four-yard pass from Clayton Wulf (Gearman kick) :48.
Third quarter � LHS's Ryan Rothenberger, 32-yard pass from Wulf (kick blocked) 7:58; LHS's Nick Eppard, 28-yard interception return (Gearman kick) 6:17.
Fourth quarter � LHS's Wulf, 17-yard run (Gearman kick) 7:56.
VHS � Cusick, nine for 31; Hope, 12 for 10; Gilbertson, one for nine; Miller, three for nine; Jared Burcham, two for five; B. J. Campbell, three for 11.
LHS � Matt Poppe, 11 for 78; Wulf, three for 54 and one TD; Mike Sazama, eight for 34; Murray, seven for 33 and one TD.
VHS � Ben Bazemore completed none of his four passes and had two interceptions; Jon Brooks completed three of four passes for 24 yards.
LHS � Wulf completed nine of 15 passes for 88 yards with one interception and two TDs.
VHS � Nick Olson caught one pass for six yards; Burcham caught one pass for six yards; Miller caught one pass for 12 yards.
LHS � Rothenberger caught four passes for 55 yards and one TD.
"It was a tough loss for our team on our homecoming, but we were our own worst enemy with five turnovers against a very talented Lennox Oriole football team," said coach Gary Culver. "You can't give a team like Lennox a short field to work with on offense with as many weapons as they have to attack you.
"I was also disappointed with our effort in all phases of the game," he continued. "We can play much harder than we did against Lennox and I hope that we can rectify this for our next game."
The Tanagers took a 3-2 record into their Parent's Night game on Thursday, Sept. 27 against the Bon Homme Cavaliers, who also went into the game with a 3-2 record.
"The Bon Homme Cavaliers have been playing very well as of late and they have great football tradition," Culver said prior to the game. "It has always been a hard-hitting affair when we have played each other and I'm sure that this will be true this season as well."