Tanagers survive early deficit; top Madison 26-19 thanks to special teams by Jim Prosser It was a tough night for an away game in the rain. Travelling to Madison was a dampish adventure with weather conditions alternating between scattered raindrops and gully washing downpours.
You would expect the football would be wet and slippery making a run oriented game to be the determining factor for the outcome. Not! The teams combined for 20 pass attempts with 11 receptions to make passing an integral part of the scoring.
The Tanagers took the opening kickoff and made several first downs running before punting. On their first play, the Bulldogs� Rob Thuringer lofted a long pass to a staggering receiver for a 40-yard gain and set up the TD run for the first score.
Vermillion struggled offensively and Madison scored their second TD with eight minutes showing on the time clock in the second quarter. At the coaches� urging to increase the tempo, the special teams, sparked by the kicking of Jeff Brevik, the receiving of Jared Burcham, running of B.J. Campbell, passing by Jon Brooks and receiving by Nick Olson, responded with a three-touchdown flurry in the space of five minutes to take a 20-13 halftime lead.
The second half belonged to the visitors as they held Madison scoreless until the final minute of the game. Defense was a strong part of the successes, too.
Collin Prosser and Sean Pederson were stalwart defensemen registering 23 tackles between them; Pederson � 11, Prosser � 12, plus a pass knockdown and a QB sack.
Also sharing the tackle barrage were: Brevik � 10; Kellen Cusick � 8 and a fumble recovery; Bart Miller � 7 and two pass breakups; Drew Lawrence � 6 and a fumble recovery.
The wet conditions contributed to the eight fumbles shared by both teams but probably were not significant in the scoring.
MHS � Adam Hanson, 17-yard run (kick failed) 7:36
MHS � Brad Letcher, 10-yard run (Mitch McNary kick) 8:00
VHS � B.J. Campbell, 7-yard run (Jeff Brevik kick) 6:53
VHS � Nick Olson, 31-yard pass from Jon Brooks (kick failed) 5:10
VHS � B.J. Campbell, 1-yard run (Jeff Brevik kick) :52
VHS � B.J. Campbell, 19-yard run (kick failed) 11:43
MHS � Rob Thuringer, 1-yard run (kick failed) :53
Individual rushing statistics
B.J. Campbell rushed 21 times for 109 yards and three touchdowns.
Kellen Cusick rushed 11 times for 48 yards.
Bart Miller rushed seven times for 47 yards.
Adam Hanson rushed 14 times for 79 yards and one TD.
Rob Thuringer rushed nine times for 20 yards and one TD.
Brad Letcher rushed five times for 26 yards and one TD.
Individual passing statistics
Jon Brooks completed six of nine passes for 106 yards and one touchdown.
Rob Thuringer completed 5 of 11 passes for 98 yards.
Nick Olson caught four passes for 62 yards and one touchdown.
Bart Miller caught two passes for 44 yards.
Bill Osterberg caught two passes for 51 yards.
Adam Hanson caught one pass for 26 yards.
Vermillion will now take a 2-0 record into their third game of the season as they host the Canton C-Hawks for the annual Tanager Day Homecoming game. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20 at the DakotaDome. Madison falls to 1-1 on the season and will travel to Flandreau this Friday.
�It was somewhat of an ?ugly� win for our team considering the turnovers we committed in the game � but it was a conference win on the road and we�ll take �em any way we can get them!� said coach Gary Culver. �I was extremely pleased with the way our kids responded after being down 13-0 with 8 minutes to go in the first half. It�s easy to throw in the towel in those cases but we proved we have the courage to battle back from an adverse situation.
�The play of our special teams (especially the kickoff cover and kickoff return units) was tremendous,� he added. �They really gave us the shot in the arm that we needed when we were down. After a sluggish start, I thought our defense played very well over the last three quarters of the game. Our offense also played well the last three quarters with the exception of the turnovers. We had numerous opportunities to bury Madison but we just couldn�t get the job done. This allowed them to stay in the game and make it interesting in the end.
�We are looking forward to the homecoming game against Canton this Friday,� he said. �This has been a great rivalry for many years. It will be a special challenge for our team with all the distactions that can accompany homecoming. Canton is always a solid football team that will be well prepared for the game. We�ve had some classic battles through the years and I�m sure that this one will be no different.�