Tanagers' season is extended with 21-6 win in first round by Jim Prosser When entertaining guests, it is the expected protocol to be a proper host. But, this was ridiculous!
The Tanagers opened the first round playoff game against the Tri-Valley Mustangs with a 53-yard TD run by Thad Roche in less than a minute into the contest. Then they spent much of the rest of the conflict acting as the "perfect" host by exchanging possessions with fumbles, pass interceptions and blocked kicks.
It appeared that this would be a different Tanager/Tri-Valley football ending. The vaunted defense of the home team was met with an equally intense opponent and much of the game was comprised of offensive errors by each team.
The Tanagers did mount an 80-yard drive for a score � a nine-play, 4:16 minute second quarter result and a 14-0 lead at halftime.
The score remained at that throughout the third and part of the fourth quarter as the visitors challenged the goal line during most of the third period but met the Tanager vaunted defense and failed on "fourth and short" attempts several times until, early in the fourth quarter, they were able to score after an exchange of fumbles and a 15-yard run by Tri-Valley's Mark O'Hara.
In a "short field" final drive of 51 yards, Roche scored on a 1-yard plunge and finally assured the victory for the home team.
Individual offensive stats
Roche rushed 20 times for 151 yards and two TDs; Bart Miller rushed seven times for 50 yards and a TD; B.J. Campbell had 56 yards on four carries; Jeff Brevik kicked 2 extra points and the last EP was kicked by Kris Hoffman. Adam Brunick was one for three passing with one interception.
The defensive statistics were dominated by linebacker Brett Jepsen who recorded 11 tackles and recovered a fumble. Defensive end Clint Christensen had 10 stops. Six tackles each were credited to linebackers Kellen Cusick and Adam Mount. The trio of John Holoch, Oliver Hope and Collin Prosser were credited with five tackles each. Hope also blocked the EP kick, Holoch had a pass breakup, and Prosser sacked the QB for a 4-yard loss. Bart Miller had two pass interceptions (20- and 19-yard returns) and broke up a pass attempt while registering three tackles from his safety position.
Other defensemen credited with three tackles were Drew Lawrence, Ray O'Connor, Brad Simons and Jeff Brevik.
"It was somewhat of an ugly win for us � with the eight fumbles, pass interception and blocked punt � but it was a win," said coach Gary Culver. "Sometimes the first round game will bring out the worst in a team. But we survived and we get to continue on in the playoffs.
"Our defense really played well throughout the contest," he continued. "We put ourselves in a big hole in the third quarter but our defense was able to rise to the challenge and hold Tri Valley out of the endzone on several occasions.
"Thad Roche had a big night for us on the offensive side of the ball," Culver added. "It was nice to get Thad back after such a long time being sidelined with his hamstring injury. He had some big runs for us."
The Tanagers faced the Winner Warriors in the quarter final playoffs on Tuesday night.