Tanagers reverse misfortunes with homecoming win

Tanagers reverse misfortunes with homecoming win
In another defense-oriented game against the Beresford Watchdogs last Friday, Sept. 22, the Tanagers faced some unusual circumstances as they had to use their defense to overcome adversity in a close 14-13 homecoming victory.

The game began with the Tanagers muffing the kick return, then playing the entire first quarter in their half of the field. They were fortunate to keep the Watchdogs scoreless during that phase of the game.

In typical fashion, with the teams exchanging punts, then, close to the middle of the second quarter, Reid Meierkort intercepted a pass near the 50-yard line. However, the Tanagers were charged with roughing the passer, nullifying the play and moving Beresford 15 yards closer to the midfield line. They then mounted a 62-yard in 11 rushing plays, scoring a touchdown with a 6-yard run by Seth Carlson.

Before the quarter was over, Beresford fumbled on the 35-yard line with less than half a minute to go. Andrew Eidem recovered, and Meierkort launched a pass to the endzone where Bobby Dykstra made a fantastic catch for the tying halftime score.

The third quarter was a wash with both teams exercising tough defenses and each having to punt or give up the ball on downs.

In fact, the only real scoring drive in the game was generated by the Tanagers in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter. Aided by a fourth down pass, the drive included 10 rushes and covered 61 yards, ending with a 7-yard dash by Jerrod Freidel for the TD. He then ran for the 2-point conversion giving the homecoming crowd a sweet 14-13 finish.

The defense for the Tanagers kept the Watchdogs bottled up most of the time but were never able to overcome their opponents matching determination to keep the game between the 20 yard markers.

Meierkort, playing the safety spot, intercepted a pass in the last few seconds, to seal the deal.

The Tanager defense was led by Luke Heine with 16 tackles; Mike Oberle had 8; Zach Weiss – 7; Jackson and Jerrod Freidel each registered 6 Ts. Eidem had 5 Ts to go with his fumble recovery. There were 67 total tackles by the winners.

Second quarter

BHS – Seth Carlson 6-yard run (kick failed) 3:52.

VHS – Bobby Dykstra 33-yard pass from Reid Meierkort (kick failed) :05.

Fourth quarter

BHS – Chad Andrews 1-yard run (Cody Strong kick) 8:21.

VHS – Jerrod Freidel 7-yard run (Jerrod Freidel run) 2:58.

Individual rushing

Vermillion – Jerrod Freidel rushed 18 times for 95 yards and 1 TD. Luke Heine rushed 9 times for 57 yards.

Beresford – Cody Strong rushed 14 times for 71 yards. Chad Andrews rushed 11 times for 47 yards and 1 TD. Todd Gannon rushed 7 times for 28 yards. Seth Carlson rushed 4 times for 19 yards and 1 TD.

Individual passing

Vermillion – Reid Meierkort completed 5 of 14 passes for 58 yards and 1 TD.

Beresford – Bo Bruinsma completed 0 of 4 passes for 0 yards and 1 interception.

Individual Receiving

Vermillion – Bobby Dykstra caught four passes for 65 yards. Luke Heine caught one pass for -7 yards.

Beresford – None.

"We were extremely happy to get a great homecoming win against a team that historically has given us fits in the past," said coach Gary Culver. "It always seems like Beresford raises their level of play against the Tanagers – and Friday night was no different. I was very happy with our team and the great resolve they were able to show throughout the game.

"Our defense made some adjustments at halftime and allowed the Watchdogs only 72 yards total offense in the second half," he continued. "I thought our offense put together one of the best game-winning drives that I have seen in my career. All our kids maintained their composure throughout the entire drive and this will go a long ways in terms of our confidence in future games.

"We will have a tough road test as we get ready for a Big Eight Conference foe, the Madison Bulldogs," Culver added. "They have some excellent skill position payers and a large offensive line. It will be another great challenge for our football team this week."

Vermillion will face the Madison Bulldogs in Madison on Friday, Sept. 29. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at DSU Trojan Field.

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