Tanagers lose tough struggle at WC by Jim Prosser A real knockdown/dragout tussle was bound to happen when the two perennial powers in South Dakota Class A football meet.
The top rated West Central Trojans were held to no points for the first 23 1/2 minutes of the first half of the contest against the Tanagers on Thursday, Oct. 21 in Hartford. The game was played on a windy, drizzly, cold weather night.
The defensive struggle was played mostly between the
20-yard lines with each team scoring a touchdown following fumble recoveries and one came on a misplayed punt return. The Tanagers were on their own 11-yard line with less than a minute to go in the half when a fumble gave the Trojans a very short field and they scored on a one-yard run by Chad Morrison. Then, halfway through the third quarter a Sean Pederson punt was returned by WC's Matt Ryan through a scrambling bunch of defensemen who couldn't catch the weaving runner and he scored.
That was the Trojan scoring summary and the Tanagers were able to score on a relatively short field early in the fourth quarter on a pass from Kyle Brunick to Ben Oberle.
Tough defense was the scheme for both teams and the stats in the box tell the tale of the close game.
Leading the VHS defenders was linebacker Jordan Anderson with 17 tackle, one for a loss. He was backed up by Pederson with 10 Ts; followed by Donnie Stewart and Kyle Hubert at 8 Ts, each; Cody Hayes and Oberle with 7 Ts and a pass breakup each; Tony Kronaizl and Andrew Pier with 5 Ts, each; Oberle intercepted a pass, and Kronaizl recovered a fumble.
Individual rushing stats
Vermillion � Ben Oberle rushed 16 times for 54 yards; Andrew Pier, 9 for 54; Jordan Anderson, 6 for 25.
West Central � Chad Morrison rushed 15 times for 58 yards and 1 TD; Tom Tripp, 10 for 29.
Individual passing stats
Vermillion � Kyle Brunick completed 1 of 3 passes for 15 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception.
West Central � Joe Weber, 2 of 3 for 18; Tom Tripp, 1 of 1 for 7; Chad Morrison, 0 of 1 with 1 interception.
Vermillion � Ben Oberle caught 1 for 15 yards and 1 TD.
West Central � Dustin Wheeler, 2 for 18; Casey Haensel, 1 for 7.
"I was extremely proud of the effort our kids gave in this loss to an outstanding West Central football team," said coach Gary Culver. "We played with great enthusiasm and emotion throughout the entire game.
"Our defensive unit completely shut down the Trojans' rushing attack and our offense was able to move the ball on the ground and control the clock," he added. "Their two touchdowns came via our own mistakes. Their first touchdown came right before the half after we fumbled deep in our territory and their second came after we had a breakdown on our punt coverage team."
Vermillion ends the regular season with a 4-4 record. The Tanagers traveled to Mission to play the Todd County Falcons in a Class 11A first round playoff game on Oct. 26.
"We enter the playoffs with a great deal of momentum and I really like our position as the wildcard team in Region 3," Culver said prior to the Mission game. "We are the number three seed so we have the distinct possibility of hosting the second round if Winner wins their first round game. But we can't over look any opponent and we have to take this one game at a time because if you lose in the playoffs, there is no tomorrow."