Tanagers win Region 3A championship

Tanagers win Region 3A championship Vermillion's Andrew Pier (26) nears the goal line thanks to strong blocking from teammates in Monday's football action against Winner. Next for Vermillion is Class 11A semi-final playoff action against West Central at Hartford Saturday at 6:30 p.m. by Jim Prosser Using a committee-style defense and a controlled, error-free offense, the Tanagers captured the Region 3A championship against Winner Monday, Nov. 1 at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.

Taking advantage of two quick strike pass plays, the home team built up a 14-point advantage before giving up a long TD pass to the Warriors. The Tanager scores came on a five-play, 40-yard, 3:21-minute drive capped by an 18-yard pass from Kyle Brunick to Sean Pederson; and a three-play, 80-yard, 1:34-minute, long-distance pass caught by Ben Oberle from Brunick (73 yards).

Winners' score came when their receiver out ran the Tanager secondary for a 67-yard play and a halftime 14-7 score.

The second half featured the Tanagers' favorite ball control, time consuming, possessions. They used up all but a couple minutes in the third quarter with a short two-run plunge by Andrew Pier, the result of a 13-play 60-yard 6:31 minute drive. After a quick three and out for the Warriors, the Tanagers mounted another drive into the fourth quarter, culminating a seven-play, 71-yard, 2:53-minute touchdown from a Brunick to Oberle 22-yard pass.

The 28-7 appeared to be sufficient and the reserves took over and came up with an eight-play, 35-yard 4:38-minute scoring drive of their own when Cody Hays scored on an 11-yard run. They also put up a valiant stand at the end of the game when they kept the Warriors out of the endzone on three attempts before giving up the one-yard TD run in the final two seconds.

The defense was its usual dominating force as 25 individuals were involved on the tackle chart, led by Jordan Anderson with 7; Pier � 5 Ts, pass intercept, pass breakup; Donny Stewart � 5 Ts, 1 QB sack (for 11-yard loss); Chris Taylor � 5 Ts; Oberle � 4 Ts; Hays � 4 Ts, 1 for loss; Kyle Hubert � 4 Ts, intercept, breakup; Pederson � 4 Ts, fumble recovery, sack (13 yard loss). The other 15 players contributed 1 or 2 tackles each.

Individual rushing stats

Vermillion � Andrew Pier rushed 14 times for 100 yards and 1 TD; Jordan Anderson, 9 for 36; Cody Hays, 11 for 34 and 1 TD; Ben Oberle, 5 for 19; Kyle Brunick, 3 for 16; Canka Wilch, 4 for 11.

Winner � Brandon Tritle rushed 13 times for 46 yards; Jeff Weidner, 6 for 36 and 1 TD; Chas DeMers, 4 for 26; Ben Curtis, 6 for 25.

Individual passing stats

Vermillion � Adam Brunick completed 3 of 3 for 113 yards and 3 TDs; Andrew Pier, 0 of 1.

Winner � Nick Sabol completed 3 of 7 passes for 92 yards with 2 interceptions and 1 TD.

Receiving stats

Vermillion � Ben Oberle caught 2 passes for 95 yards and 2 TDs; Sean Pederson caught 1 pass for 18 yards and 1 TD.

Winner � Chas DeMers caught 1 pass for 67 yards and 1 TD; Ben Curtis caught 1 pass for 19 yards; Jake Pruss caught 1 pass for 6 yards.

"I was really pleased with our overall performance against the Winner Warriors," said coach Gary Culver. "We came out and took in the second half kickoff and went 69 yards in 13 pays, all on the ground and used up six and a half minutes on the clock. This gave us some separation and served as a springboard for the rest of the evening.

"Our defense gave another solid effort and our specialty team play was also very good," he added.

Vermillion now takes its 6-4 record into their Class 11A semifinal playoff clash with the West Central Trojans. West Central has a 10-0 record heading into the semifinal battle. The game will be played in Hartford on Saturday, Nov. 6.

"We are looking forward to the rematch of our regular season game with the West Central Trojans," Culver said. "We know we have to play mistake-free football this time if we are going to win. They have great team quickness, especially in defense. We also need to control the ball on offense and try to shorten the game by moving the chains."

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