VHS Tanagers have skill returning on offense; six veterans back on defense

VHS Tanagers have skill returning on offense; six veterans back on defense by Jim Prosser Tanager football coach Gary Culver is entering his 28th year as leader of the Vermillion High School team.

His overall record at Vermillion is 166-97, and he is coming off a respectable 7-3 campaign for the 2002 season, which included a loss to perennial chief rival West Central, an overtime loss and a second round playoff defeat (both at Winner).

Of the starters from last year, nine were lost to graduation. Eleven returning senior starters, complemented by 10 other lettermen, along with 16 sophomores, gives a cadre to accommodate the semi-rebuilding task facing the coaching staff which includes Roger Heirigs and Jim McGuire.

As we enter a new school year, coach Culver had the following comments regarding the 2003 season outlook:

"Offensively we have experienced and quality skill positions players returning. We'll have a solid kicking game but need to rebuild the interior offensive line," he said. "Kellen Cusick (811 yds.) and B.J. Campbell (917 yds.) were our leading ball carriers last year.

"Our total defense will be our strength early in the season. We have six veteran starters back, along with a number of fellows who saw a lot of action," Culver continued. "Sean Pederson and Collin Prosser can be two of the best ends around. Cusick, Campbell, Adam Brunick, and Jared Burcham bring a wealth of experience in the linebacker and secondary positions.

"We face one of the most competitive class 11A schedule in the state," he said. "Every week will be a battle. We also are in the toughest four-team conference in the state (Lennox, Madison, Vermillion, and new member West Central). We find it difficult to point to an easy contest as we enter the season."

This year's schedule includes:

Sept. 5 � South Sioux City, NE, away.

Sept. 12 � Canton, away.

Sept. 19 � Beresford (T-Day Homecoming), home.

Sept. 26 � Luverne, MN, away.

Oct. 3 � Lennox, home.

Oct. 10 � Winner, away.

Oct. 17 � Madison, home.

Oct. 24 � West Central, home.

Oct. 30 � First Round playoff, TBA.

Nov. 4 � Quarterfinal Playoff, TBA.

Nov. 10 � Semifinal Playoff, TBA.

Nov. 14 � 11A Championship, DakotaDome.

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