Tanagers lose homecoming heartbreaker Vermillion Tanager defensive tackle Jason Donald (73) attempts to stop Luverne quarterback Nick Heronimus as he attempted a forward pass. Luverne managed to rack up 161 yards of passing offense Friday in the DakotaDome, while the Tanagers were unsuccessful trying to move the ball through the air. by Jim Prosser Last Friday, Sept. 24, the Tanagers suffered another error-prone loss – this time the benefactor was the Luverne Cardinal football team.
Mistakes led to all three scores by the visitors. A fumble led to one of them, an interception led to another, and a defensive lapse on a pass play led to the third. The drives for the Cardinals were: 80 yards on six plays; 44 yards on 13 plays; and 50 yards on six plays.
The Tanagers took advantage of a muffed punt play near the goal line on a fourth down, scoring on a one-yard run by Jordan Anderson. That was all the points on the board at halftime.
After a rather poor defensive performance in the first half, the Tanagers played inspired football and held the opponents to no scores while chipping away at the visitor's lead. The offense kept the ball out of the Cardinals' hands for much of the third quarter and ran 15 plays in the fourth before a fumble doomed the home team to their third closely contended loss.
Defense has always been a Tanager staple and statistics will confirm that: Leading the tackles with 11 (two for losses, a QB sack, and pass break-up) was Sean Pederson. Jordan Anderson (seven Ts, one pass K), Andrew Pier and Kyle Hubert � six Ts each, Ben Oberle � five Ts, pass intercept, and Mike Hanson � five Ts. Also contributing with four tackles each were Tony Kronaizl, Donnie Stewart, Cody Hays and Sam Laprath, who had a pass K, too. Jason Donald had two pass Ks and two Ts, as did Kyle Brunick. Jacob Geis and J.J. Lamie each recorded a tackle.
Individual rushing stats
Vermillion � Ben Oberle rushed 18 times for 59 yards and 1 TD; Cody Hays, 15 for 54; Jordan Anderson, 9 for 54 and 1 TD; J.J. LaMie, 1 for 16; Kyle Brunick, 1 for -2; ;Andrew Pier, 1 for -4.
Luverne � Nick Heronimus rushed 12 times for 66 yards and 1 TD; Derek Elbers, 13 for 57 and 1 TD; Jake Hendricks, 8 for 33; Nate Siebenahler, 3 for 16; Ben Nath, 2 for 7.
Individual passing stats
Vermillion � Ben Oberle completed 0 of 4 passes with 1 interception; Kyle Brunick, 0 for 2.
Nick Heronimus completed 9 of 17 passes for 161 yards and 1 TD; Derek Elbers, 0 for 1 with an interception.
Vermillion � None.
Luverne � Jared Pick caught 5 passes for 88 yards and 1 2-point conversion pass; Brad Herman, 2 for 54 yards and 1 TD; Jake Hendricks, 2 for 10.
"We continue to play 'Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde' as a team," said coach Gary Culver. "After playing a terrible first half of football against Luverne, we came out and dominated the second half in all phases of the game.
"We still continue to be plagued by turnovers and we have to reduce these in order for us to come out on the winning side of the ledger," he continued. "I was especially happy with the way we rushed the football so effectively in the second half."
Vermillion, whose record drops to 1-3, will now travel to play the Lennox Orioles in a Big Eight Conference game on Friday, Oct. 1. The Orioles have a 2-2 record. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Lennox.
"Our upcoming Big Eight Conference game against Lennox will be a great challenge for our team, especially on the road," Culver said. "Lennox has a good football team but, like our team, has hurt themselves with turnovers and miscues this season. We hope we can control the football on offense, limit our turnovers, and not give up the big play on the defensive side.
"This has been a great rivalry throughout the years and there have been some exciting games in the series," he added. "I'm sure this season will be no exception."