Tanagers kick off grid season against Canton By Jim Prosser The 2005 edition of the Vermillion High School Tanager football team will kickoff their season against the Canton C-Hawks in a non-conference game at Coplan Field in Canton this Friday, Aug. 26. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
�We have been going at it for two weeks now and we are ready for a game,� said Gary Culver, head coach of the Tanagers.
Culver, in his 29th season at the helm of the VHS football program, is cautiously optimistic about the season opener.
�We, as a coaching staff, have been very pleased with the great work ethic and positive attitude of the squad during pre-season workouts,� he said. �We have some excellent returning veterans who have provided us with good leadership this fall.�
Senior members of the squad include Kyle Brunick, Kyle Hubert, Donny Steward, Mike Hanson, Brandon Hansen, Cody Hays, Tony Kronaizl, Trevor Turner, Roman LaMie, Joe Miller, Andrew Pier, Canka Wilch, Myles Runyon, Kurt Krammin, and Colby Orr.
Junior members include Chris Taylor, Paul Hammond, Bobby Dykstra, Harrison Hawley, Nick Rasmussen, Ryan Gilbertson, Josh Smock, Nick Schaffer, Eric McPherson, Andrew Pearson, Jose Nesselhuff, Zach Weiss, and Justus Meyer.
Sophomore members include Reid Meierkort, Cody Miller, Jackson Freidel, Jerrod Freidel, Ryan Husby, C.J. Haakinson, Luke Heine, Matt Nelson, Heath Hubert, Alex Anderson-Kahl, Mike Van Dyke, Billy Kjelden, Eric Bingen, Tom Mollet, and Ryan Gardner.
Freshman members of the team include Greg Anderson, Chris Cameron, Joe Ensiminger, Wyatt Hunter, J.R. Moore, John Noteboom, Dan Amundson, Tyler Johnson, Andrew Eidem, Cory Taggart, Mike Oberle, Kyle Nemec, Jeff Anglin, Tyler Steele, Philip Munkvold, Tony Thomas, Mike Szymonski, Travis Jerred, Lance Hubert, Richie Knutson, Grant Lueders, Taylor Clark, Blaine Olson, and Chris Christensen.
Assisting Culver with the varsity football squad are Roger Heirigs, offensive coordinator, in his 27th season with the Tanagers, and Jim McGuire, defensive coordinator, in his 23rd season with the Tanagers. Assisting with the freshmen squad are Jason Huska and Curt Cameron. Huska, a 1989 VHS graduate is a former first team all-state player during his tenure in the Tanager football program. Cameron, a former freshman coach with the Tanager football program during the mid-90s, is back and will add even more experience to the veteran football staff.
The Tanagers lost to the C-Hawks 27-14 in the second game of the season last year. The Tanagers battled back from a 27-0 halftime deficit after losing four turnovers in the first half which resulted in four Canton scores. The loss ended a 14-game Tanager winning streak against the C-Hawks dating back to 1990. The Tanagers hold a 38-15-1 edge in the series between the two teams that dates back to 1931.
�This has been a great rivalry throughout the years and we know it will be a tightly contested game for all four quarters,� Culver said. �We cannot afford to turn the football over as we did last year against this Canton team. We simply put ourselves in a situation that we could not recover from in the game last season. If we do this, along with playing solid defense, we know we�ll be in the game at the end.�
The Tanagers recorded a 6-5 overall record last year as they lost three of their first four games but rebounded to take five of their final seven games. The Tanagers lost in the semifinals of the state football playoffs to eventual state champion, West Central.
Canton lost to West Central in the quarterfinals of the playoffs as they recorded a 8-2 overall record.