Tanagers squeeze by Orioles by Jim Prosser In a Big 8 Conference football game played Friday, Oct. 1, it became defense-oriented and turnovers were instrumental in the outcome.
To begin with, Vermillion took the opening kickoff and on the first play, gained 18 yards with an off tackle run. Unfortunately, a fumble occurred and Lennox recovered. It was the only turnover for the Tanagers in the game but it gave the Orioles a chance to implement their game plan.
They played a controlled running game with only a scattering of passes. It seemed as though the game was played on the wrong side of the 50-yard line during the first half but the Tanagers' bend/don't break defense held up until five minutes into the second quarter when Jason Loe scored on an 11-yard run, following a 55-yard drive.
The Tanagers then mounted a 65-yard drive, on 11 plays, including a 25-yard pass, and culminated in a Jordan Anderson three-yard plunge to tie the score at halftime.
The Orioles "owned" the third quarter as they ran 17 rushes accumulating 94 yards but only one TD (a one-yard run by Matt McLaughlin). It was the last time they saw the goal line.
After a long punt by Sean Pederson (49 yards), the defense clamped down on their running game and a pass play left them near the 12-yard line on fourth down. A miss play on the punt was recovered by Donnie Stewart on the two-yard line and Kyle Brunick went in to tie the score with 10 minutes left in the game.
The teams exchanged possessions and it appeared that the game would go to overtime with Lennox. But a fumble by the quarterback was recovered by Tony Kronaizl and after a couple short runs, Pederson kicked a 23-yard field goal with 13 seconds on the clock, and the Orioles tried a reverse on the return which essentially used up the time left.
The defensive statistics include 12 individuals: Anderson had 12 Ts, a pass breakup and QB sack; Stewart recorded 11 Ts, fumble recovery; Kyle Hubert and Pederson � 10 Ts each; Ben Oberle and Sam Rapath � 8 Ts each; Oberle broke up a pass; Cody Hayes and Kyle Brunick � 7 Ts each; Kronaizl � 5 Ts, fumble recovery; Tyler Anglin � 3 Ts, pass breakup; Andrew Pier � 2 pass breakup, 1 T; and Chris Merrigan registered a tackle.
Individual rushing stats
Vermillion � Cody Hays rushed 19 times for 86 yards; Jordan Anderson, 10 for 25 and 1 TD; Ben Oberle, 7 for 13; J.J. LaMie, 1 for 3; Kyle Brunick, 5 for 0 and 1 TD.
Lennox � Matt McLaughlin, 16 for 105 and 1 TD; Brodie Mayfield, 13 for 99; Jason Loe, 9 for 55 and 1 TD; Bryant Larson, 4 for 22; Kirk Broderson, 4 for 0; Matt Kleinschmit, 2 for -4.
Individual passing stats
Vermillion � Kyle Brunick completed 3 of 9 passes for 50 yards; Ben Oberle, 1 of 1 for 43 yards.
Lennox � Jason Loe completed 0 of 6 passes.
Vermillion � Ben Oberle caught 3 passes for 50 yards; Kyle Brunick caught 1 pass for 43 yards.
"Although we may not have played our best game of the season, we came away from Lennox with the most important thing for our team at this time � a win!," said coach Gary Culver. "We just needed this game so badly after suffering close losses in the last three weeks.
"Our guys really had a couple of 'gut-checks' in this game as it would have been so easy to roll over and play dead after Lennox went up by a touchdown on two different occasions," he continued. "But we hung in there and answered each score and then put together the game-wining drive with no timeouts after a big defensive stand. I'm really proud of this team and the way they persevered through adversity and got the job done."
The Tanagers up their record to 2-3 and will host the Winner Warriors for Parents' Night on Friday, Oct. 8. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8 in the DakotaDome. Parent introductions will take place at 7:10 p.m.