Tanagers beat South Sioux Cardinals 27-7 in season opener at DakotaDome by Jim Prosser In a closely fought, defense dominated, struggle between two closely matched football teams, Vermillion took advantage of a fumble recovery, pass interception, and a Cardinal muffed punt play to register two first quarter touchdowns.
After some early posturing by both teams, with each having to punt twice, the Tanagers� Shane Jensen recovered a fumble on the Cardinals 23 yard line and, in four plays, VHS had their first score of the season as B.J. Campbell had a three yard run for a touchdown.
In the ensuing SSC possession, Jared Burcham intercepted a pass and returned it to the two yard line, where Kellen Cusick plunged in for the score.
South Sioux, at about halfway through the second quarter, had to give up the ball with a punt, and Vermillion went nine plays covering 40 yards went in the locker room with a 21-0 halftime lead. The Cardinals were held to 13 running and four pass attempts in the first half.
Early in the third quarter, coach Culver introduced several reserves to some game experience, and South Sioux took advantage of the situation to improve their statistics, but not their score. The Tanagers were given a �short field� again when the punter put his knee to the turf while catching the snap and in three plays, Vermillion scored, capped off by a 21 yard touchdown pass from Jon Brooks to Nick Olson.
The fourth quarter was essentially a stand off as the Cardinals broke into the scoring column in the final minutes of the game.
Defense was the name of the game for both teams. SSC recorded over 50 tackles in the game. Tanager stats include 60 tackles, seven pass breakups, one fumble recovery and one interception. Burcham had eight Ts, Jeff Brevik, seven Ts, Collin Prosser was credited with three quarterback sacks, and Nick Olson had a 12 yard quarterback sack.
VHS � B.J. Campbell, three yard run (Jeff Brevik kick) 6:00
VHS � Kellen Cusick, two yard run (Jeff Brevik kick) 2:20
VHS � B.J. Campbell, one yard run (Jeff Brevik kick) :21
VHS � Nick Olson, 21 yard pass from Jon Brooks (kick failed) 8:50
SSC � Chris Krueger, one yard run (Casey Floyd kick) 3:32
Individual rushing statistics
B.J. Campbell rushed 18 times for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
Bart Miller rushed nine times for 48 yards.
Kellen Cusick rushed seven times for eight yards.
Jon Brooks rushed one time for one yard.
South Sioux City
Marcus Kotiliak rushed 17 times for 54 yards.
Chris Krueger rushed seven times for 43 yards and one touchdown.
D.J. Miller rushed three times for 20 yards.
Individual passing statistics
Jon Brooks completed three of seven passes for 39 yards and one touchdown.
South Sioux City
Andy Ott completed 7 of 17 passes for 94 yards with one interception.
Nick Olson caught one pass for 21 yards and one touchdown.
B.J. Campbell caught one pass for 10 yards.
Collin Prosser caught one pass for eight yards.
South Sioux City
Paul Newhouse caught three passes for 44 yards.
D.J. Miller caught two passes for 33 yards.
Vermillion will now take a 1-0 record with them as they head into their second game of the season. The Tanagers will play the Madison Bulldogs at Dakota State University Field in Madison on Friday, Sept. 13. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. It will be the Big Eight Conference opener for both teams.
�It was a nice season opener win for our squad,� coach Gary Culver said of the action in the DakotaDome Friday. �We played very well defensively as a team. Anytime you can hold a team like South Sioux City to seven points, it speaks highly of your defensive play.
�I felt we also played very well offensively,� he said. We made very few mistakes for the first game of the season. I was pleased we rushed the ball so effectively against an experienced South Sioux defense. Jon Brooks passed the ball very nicely, also. Our specialty team play was outstanding throughout the night.
�We had many new faces and they now have some confidence to build on for the next game,� Culver said. �We had some young players step in and do a nice job for us. Our next opponent, Madison, will be very similar to South Sioux City in the style of football play. It will be a tough road trip for our players but we�re looking forward to the challenge.�