Tanagers extend season with 27-13 win by Jim Prosser In the first round playoff game held on Thursday, Oct. 30 in Harrisburg, the Tanagers played two different halves against the Tigers.
The first half involved applying their game plan of ball control offense and spirited defense. The plan seemed to work as the Tanagers mounted a first quarter drive of 50 yards using up nearly 6 minutes. But they bogged down in the red zone and had to turn the ball over to the home team.
The Tigers then gave their version of control football as they consumed the rest of the first quarter time, covering 96 yards.
The first score of the game came in the first 30 seconds of quarter #2 when Harrisburg's Ryan Huber ran for 3 yards and the TD. The ensuing kickoff was returned to the 31-yard line, and the first Tanager second quarter possession was a 69-yard drive in about 25 seconds, one play (a B.J. Campbell scamper).
The vaunted defense of the Tanagers finally showed up and slowed down the Tigers on their next possession, then using excellent running by Kellen Cusick and Tyler Brown for a total of 51 yards on 6 plays, capped the drive with an 11-yard Ben Oberle dash.
Harrisburg responded with another drive, this time a 9- play, 4-minute, 67-yard, and a 2-yard run score by Seth Fischer. The halftime score stood at 13-12 in favor of the Tigers.
The Tanager game plan became fully implemented in the third quarter as they dominated most of the time on a 15-play, 71-yard drive, punctuated by a 7-yard run for Campbell. The defense really came alive, holding the Tigers to 5 plays, then knocking off another 55-yard drive on 7 plays and and a third TD run by Campbell.
The rest of the game found each team using up time and yardage in a comparable number of plays and no further scoring.
The defensive statistics were dominated by linebackers Cusick, who recorded 9 tackles plus a pass breakup; and Jordan Anderson with 8 Ts and a K. Free safety Oberle registered 9 Ts and pass K; Collin Prosser, from his end spot, was credited with 8 Ts, 2 for a loss and a QB sack for 5 yards; Kyle Mollet had 6 Ts; B.J. Campbell went 5 Ts and a pass K; Brown intercepted a pass; and Donny Stewart recovered a fumble.
Individual rushing stats
Vermillion � B.J. Campbell rushed 20 times for 142 yards and 3 TDs; Kellen Cusick, 21 for 132 yards.
Harrisburg � Tyler Johnson, 17 for 146 yards; Seth Fischer, 11 for 54 yards and 1 TD.
Individual passing stats
Vermillion � Adam Brunick completed 1 of 3 passes for 1 yard.
Harrisburg � Ryan Huber, 4 of 6 for 32 yards; Nick Ramstad, 0 of 7 and 2 interceptions.
Vermillion � Kellen Cusick caught 1 pass for 1 yard.
Harrisburg � Ryan Sechser, 2 for 19 yards; Tyler Johnson, 1 for 5 yards; Matt DeGeest, 1 for 8 yards.
"It was a nice first round playoff win for our team," said Tanager coach Gary Culver. "It got us back on track after our loss to West Central the previous week.
"Offensively, we were able to establish our rushing attack against the Tigers and we moved the football very effectively throughout the night," he continued. "Our defense stepped up their intensity in the second half. We did a much better job as opposed to the first half where we had too many mental breakdowns as well as poor tackling."
Vermillion took its 7-2 record into the quarter-final playoff game against the West Central Trojans on Tuesday night in Hartford and lost 27-0.