After Vermillion took the opening kickoff with a muff near the goal line, the Tanagers were forced to go three and out and punt. Canton then made a sustained drive consuming five minutes and 68 yards for a TD and the 6-0 temporary lead. The extra point pass was intercepted by Reid Meierkort.
Vermillion couldn't move the ball running, but did for a couple Meierkort passes – 15 yards to Bobby Dykstra, and 27 yards to Jerrod Friedel for a TD. Roland Osae-Oppong kicked the extra point and the Tanagers held a 7-5 halftime advantage.
In the complete game, the fierce defense included 120 tackles by the two teams, combined. Also there were eight fumbles and three pass interceptions in the combined defenses.
After the half, there were a couple possession exchanges before Vermillion coughed up the ball on two consecutive possessions, which led to two "short field" scores for the C-Hawks who took a 14-6 lead.
In the fourth quarter, it almost became a "Chinese fire drill" as both teams suffered with penalties, fumbles, etc., leading to multiple possession changes. One of the Canton fumbles was recovered by Zach Weiss, and returned 50 yards for a TD. Osae-Oppong kicked the extra point to make the score 20-14.
The Tanagers had a couple other chances on offense but couldn't get by the senior laden C-Hawk defense.
The Tanager defense was led by a trio comprised of Mike Oberle, Luke Heine, and Jerrod Freidel who each were credited with 10 tackles. Paul Hammond had 8 Ts; Zach Weiss had 6 Ts and 3 fumble recoveries; Andrew Pearson – 6 Ts; Nick Schaffer – 6 Ts and a fumble recovery.
CHS – Zach Joslyn, 1 yd. run (pass int.) 5:57.
VHS ��Jerrod Freidel, 27-yd. pass from Reid Meierkort (Roland Osae-Oppong kick) 3:15.
CHS – Zach Joslyn, 1 yd. run (run failed) 7:52.
CHS – Brian Verley, 3 yd. run (Zach Joslyn run) 3:25.
VHS – Zach Weiss, 60 yd. fumble recovery (Roland Osae-Oppong kick) 9:14.
Vermillion – Jerrod Freidel rushed 13 times for 38 yds.; Luke Heine rushed 3 times for 8 yds.; Andrew Eidem rushed 1 time for 4 yds.; Reid Meierkort rushed 8 times for -35 yds.
Canton – Zach Joslyn rushed 22 times for 110 yds. and 2 TDs and a 2 pt. conversion; Eric Kolvek rushed 9 times for 47 yds.; Brian Verley rushed 12 times for 365 yds. and 1 TD.
Vermillion – Reid Meierkort completed 7 of 13 for 80 yds. and 1 TD, as well as 1 interception.
Canton – Derik Fossum completed 2 of 3 for 18 yds. and 2 interceptions.
Vermillion – Jerrod Freidel caught 3 passes for 42 yds. and 1 TD; Bobby Dykstra caught 2 passes for 24 yds.; Luke Heine caught 1 pass for 10 yds.; Paul Hammond caught 1 pass for 4 yds.
Canton – Dan Amen caught 1 pass for 10 yds.; Zach Joslyn caught 1 pass for 8 yds.
"There were both positives and negatives in our opening game against an excellent Canton C-Hawk football team," said coach Gary Culver. "Obviously, we are unhappy that we could not come out on the top side of the ledger and secure a win in our opener. Losing always leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.
"On the positive side, I was extremely happy with our kids' effort in the game," he continued. "When we were down 20-7 to start the fourth quarter, we easily could have thrown in the towel – but we battled back, got a turnover which we converted into a score and completely changed the momentum of the game. Our defense came up with two more turnovers which our offense just could not covert into a score and Canton was able to run out the clock.
"We hope, as a coaching staff, that we will see great improvement in all areas as we get ready for our next game against the South Sioux City Cardinals," Culver added. "This will certainly be a great challenge for our team to play against a Class 11AA football team."
Vermillion will now take a 0-1 record into their second game of the 2006 season as they host the South Sioux City Cardinals Friday night, Sept. 1 in the DakotaDome. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.