Tanagers lose 17-14 squeaker to SSC

Tanagers lose 17-14 squeaker to SSC
The Tanager football team faced the SSC Cardinals in the DakotaDome on Sept. 1.

In a contest beset with mistakes (combined teams – seven fumbles, three blocked kicks, three interceptions, and 12 penalties), the Tanagers still dominated the visitors for three quarters.

Following a scoreless first quarter, Vermillion scored on a short run by Jerrod Freidel which held up through the third quarter.

The remainder of the game featured some weird situations. For example, faced with a third and long, Reid Meierkort dropped back to pass, saw an opening, and ran for what would have been a first down. But a holding occurred at the start of the run, and after the mark off, the result was a third and 46 yards to go. Needless to say, they had to punt.

The Cardinals tied the score early in the fourth, and after that, the game became a surreal nightmare when, after taking the lead on a long pass to Paul Hammond from Meierkort, the team got the ball on an interception, but a fumble on the 10 yard line gave SSC the chance to tie at 14-14. In the overtime periods, the Tanagers held the Cardinals to a field goal. Finally, a fumble by the home team ended the contest .

Defensive stats show a total of over 70 tackles distributed among the entire Tanager roster. Leading tackler was: Luke Heine – 12 (1 for loss); Zach Weiss – 9 Ts, 1 pass K; Jerrod Freidel – 8 Ts; Andrew Pearson – 6 Ts, fumble recovery, pass K; Mike Oberle – 5 Ts; Reid Meierkort – 4 Ts, 2 pass Ks, 2 interceptions; also recording 4 tackles each were Nick Schaffer, Harrison Hawley, and Cody Miller.

Second quarter

VHS – Jerrod Freidel, 3 yard. run (kick failed) 1;54.

Fourth quarter

SSC – Jordan Spirk – 52-yard run (kick failed) 10:31.

VHS – Paul Hammond – 39-yard pass from Reid Meierkort (Jerrod Freidel run) 6:51.

SSC – Mike Lethcoe – 2-yard run (Mike Lethcoe run) 2:22.


SSC – Jacob Bell – 23-yard field goal.

Individual rushing

Vermillion – Jerrod Freidel rushed 17 times for 65 yards, one TD and one 2-point conversion run; Luke Heine rushed seven times for 19 yards; Andrew Eidem rushed four times for three yards.

SSC – Jordan Spirk rushed nine times for 141 yards and one TD; Ben Hirsch rushed nine times for 25 yards; Mike Lethcoe rushed nine times for 17 yards, one TD and one 2-point conversion run.

Individual passing

Vermillion – Reid Meierkort completed nine of 18 passes for 218 yards, one TD pass and one interception.

SSC – Ben Hirsch completed five of 15 passes for 54 yards and two interceptions.


Vermillion – Paul Hammond caught four passes for 119 yards and one TD; Jerrod Freidel caught four passes for 90 yards; Bobby Dykstra caught one pass for nine yards.

SSC – Jacob Bell caught two passes for 48 yards; Mike Lethcoe caught one pass for six yards.

"When a team loses four fumbles, one interception and has a punt blocked, you will usually get beat on the scoreboard," said coach Gary Culver. "That was the case against a veteran South Sioux City Cardinal football

team. But even with all the costly errors, we were still in a position to win the football game – both in regulation and in overtime.

"I cannot fault our kids for their effort," he continued. "We played extremely hard on both sides of the football, but we are continuing to still suffer from 'growing pains' as a young team. We have a great challenge ahead with the long road trip to Hot Springs this week. We just need to reduce and/or eliminate our mistakes and continue to play as hard as we have in the first two games and we'll come out on the top side of the ledger."

Vermillion will now take a 0-2 record with them as they head into their third game of the season. The Tanagers travel out west to battle the Hot Springs Bison in Hot Springs on Friday, Sept. 8. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Hot Springs won their opener last Friday by beating Pine Ridge 48-0.

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