Tanagers fall 20-0 to Trojans by Jim Prosser There were very few positives for Vermillion as they met perennial nemesis West Central last Friday, Oct.12 at Hartford in a miserable rainy, windy, drizzling night, which resulted in a 20-0 loss.
The game was almost a comedy of errors (except for the sad result) as six fumbles, two blocked punts, and a pass interception prevented the Tanagers from mounting any cohesive offense. We knew what to expect � a defensive struggle and run-oriented offense by both teams.
It took seven minutes before the Trojans scored after a questionable fumble call on the visitors' 2-yard line sent James Lemke into the end zone. With turnovers being the norm for the night, the Tanagers were faced with playing a lot of defense and made for a statistical "overkill" on the wrong side of the ball.
Leading the VHS defenders was Jeff Brevik with 14 tackles. He was backed up by a trio with seven tackles each � Bart Miller, Jeff Gilbertson and Drew Lawrence; followed by Collin Prosser and Adam Mount who each recorded six. Brett Jepsen had four tackles, one for a loss, a fumble recovery, a QB sack, and a pass breakup; Miller and Gilbertson also shared three pass breakups.
Kellen Cusick and Clint Christensen each made five stops; Ray O'Connor registered four tackles and John Holoch had three tackles and a fumble recovery.
While the Tanagers held the arch rival Trojans scoreless in the second half, they were unable to overcome their own mistakes and suffered their third loss of the season.
First quarter � WCHS: James Lemke, 2-yard fumble recovery (Chase Brown kick) 4:49.
Second quarter � WCHS: Dustin Ingalls, 40-yard run (run failed) (:03; Zak Morken, 34-yard run (Brown kick) 6:06.
VHS � B.J. Campbell rushed 16 times for 30 yards; Cusick rushed five times for 16 yards; Miller rushed seven times for 52 yards.
WCHS � Morken rushed 22 times for 128 yards and one TD; Ingalls rushed 15 times for 105 yards and one TD.
WCHS � Brett Anderson completed five of nine passes for 70 yards.
"It was a frustrating loss for our team to end the regular season, but we were our own worst enemy with four turnovers in the game," said coach Gary Culver. "We also had one partially blocked punt and one blocked punt, which are equivalent to a turnover. You just cannot put yourself in these situations against a team like West Central."
Culver was also disappointed with the lack of emotion displayed by the Tanagers.
"We didn't fire off the ball and really didn't carry out the fundamentals of blocking and tackling very well all night against the Trojans," he said. "But our defense hung in there in the second half and held them out of the end zone. This was encouraging to see."
Following the loss, Culver was philosophical about the playoffs.
"We have to regroup quickly as we face a good Tri-Valley Mustang team in the first round of the playoffs (Thursday night)," he said. "We played them in the first round two years ago so we are somewhat familiar with the things they do on offense and defense. Hopefully playing in the DakotaDome for the first time this season will inspire our team to come out and play hard right from the start."
The Tanagers took a 5-3 record into their first round playoff game Thursday against the Tri-Valley Mustangs.