Tanagers knock off #1 rated Orioles 13-9

Tanagers knock off #1 rated Orioles 13-9 by Jim Prosser You might appreciate a little historical background, again, to help in explaining what happened at the Dome Friday, Oct. 3.

The Tanager/Oriole football series started in 1933 with a Vermillion win, and up until 1988 the record was tied with six victories for each team. Then the Tanagers went on a 16-game winning streak until Lennox prevailed 17-14 in the 2000 playoffs, followed by the 34-0 rout on T-Day 2001.

The series record stood at 22-8 in favor of the Tanagers but � those last two losses were a strong incentive to change the trend, which they did with a 7-3 victory in 2002.

Facing an undefeated and #1 rated opponent, the game last Friday became defense oriented and turnovers were instrumental in the outcome. To begin with, the Tanagers played a different offense, unfamiliar to the fans � "run and shoot yourself in the foot!"

It seemed as though the game was played on the wrong side of the 50 yard line during the first half. If the home team finally got to the red zone, fumbles, missed assignments, and tough defense took them out of FG distance so they were unable to score (two missed field goals from 42 and 46 yards).

If it weren't for a superb effort by the Tanager defense, the game might have gotten out of control. With the score tied and 2 seconds on the clock, the Orioles' Josh Pinkert kicked a low line drive 40-yard FG which just cleared the cross bar and the halftime score was 3-0.

The Orioles kept the pressure on during the whole game, but they made a several miscues and Vermillion capitalized on them. The third quarter was even with exchanges of punts. But near the end of the period, a Todd Abbas 12-yard touchdown pass from Casey Fodness brought the score to 9-0 going into the final quarter.

A pass interception early in the frame by Tyler Brown, who advanced the ball 18 yards, gave the team good field position and with a seven-play, 61-yard drive in 3:15 minutes, was completed by a B.J. Campbell 24-yard scamper. After the ensuing kickoff, the Tanager defense put the clamps on the Orioles forcing a punt and another offensive drive covering 44 yards in five plays, capped by a grinding run of 16 yards by Campbell completing the scoring, and the home team prevailed 13-9.

The defensive statistics were dominated by the ends and line-backers, since the front line was fully occupied with a huge offensive line from Lennox. Collin Prosser had 14 tackles and three QB pass hurries; Sean Pederson registered seven Ts, two QB sacks, and a pass interception; B.J. Campbell recorded seven stops, two for losses, and two pass breakups; Kellen Cusick had eight Ts and a pass breakup; Kyle Mollet broke up four pass plays along with six Ts; Ben Oberle claimed six Ts and a pass interception; Paul Hugo had six stops, one for a loss; Jordan Anderson and Donny Stewart each registered five Ts; Rich Boyd recovered a Lennox fumble near midfield to stop one of the visitor drives. Overall, the Tanagers recorded over 75 tackles and intercepted three passes.

Individual rushing stats

Vermillion� B.J. Campbell rushed 18 times for 104 yards and two TDs; Kellen Cusick, 11 for 55.

Lennox � Nick Rehder, 22 for 88; Casey Fodness, 8 for 14.

Individual passing stats

Vermillion � Adam Brunick completed 3 of 10 passes for 35 yards.

Lennox � Casey Fodness completed 9 of 23 for 102 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions.

Receiving stats

Vermillion � Collin Prosser, caught 1 pass for 18 yards; Sean Pederson, 1 for 13; Tyler Brown, 1 for 4.

Lennox � Ben Walters, 3 for 35; A.J. Fodness, 2 for 34; Nick Rehder, 2 for 17; Todd Abbas, 1 for 12 and 1 TD; Andy Simunek, 1 for 4.

"It was a tremendous comeback win by our kids against a very talented Lennox Oriole football team," said coach Gary Culver. "Our guys hung in there and we were waiting for a big play, turnover, anything that might turn the momentum over to our side. We finally got that with Tyler Brown's interception. That gave us some field position to work with and our offense was able to capitalize.

"Our defense then picked it up a notch and was able to get the ball back with some field position again," he continued. "Our offense then was able to put it in for what ended up to be the winning score. This kind of win does gerat things for a team's mental confidence. We certainly have to thank the great home crowd support also. I think they played a big part in the game in the final quarter!"

Vermillion will now take a 4-1 record into their game against the Winner Warriors. The Warriors have a 3-2 record. Kickoff is set fo r 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 in Winner.

"We have a very difficult road trip this week at Winner," Culver said. "We hope we can turn around the outcome from our two trips out there last season. We were on the short end of the score in the regular season game (22-14 overtime) and in the quarterfinals of the playoffs (20-14).

"Winner has had great football tradition throughout the years," he continued. "They always have a hard-hitting defense and a run-oriented offense. This will be a tremendous challenge for our team this week."

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