Tanagers lose ‘Mud Bowl’ 0-6 at Hartford

Tanagers lose 'Mud Bowl' 0-6 at Hartford
The VHS Tanagers faced by the formidable West Central Trojans, but also the weather conditions, were able to hold their own in the Hartford football field as they settled for a 0-6 finish last Thursday, Oct. 18.

With the wind blowing strongly from the west and a driving rain with some wind gusts in the 30s, the field conditions were better as a "hog wallow," than a football game.

There can be no reason to blame the conditions for the contest, since both teams had to contend with them together. However, as there were very few spectacular passes or kick returns, with the wind controlling the play and the mud slowing the runs, the statistics tell the story of the game. Needless to say, the Tanager white suits were muddy black at the end.

Tanager defensive statistics: Luke Heine – 10 Ts, 1 for loss, 1; Mike Oberle – 9 Ts, 2 for loss, pass K; Andrew Eidem – 6 Ts; Jerrod Freidel – 6 Ts, pass K; Heath Hubert – 6 Ts, 1 for loss; Nick Mart – 5 Ts; Tom Mollet – 4 Ts, 1 for loss, fumble recovery; Blaine Olson – 2 Ts. Every member on the defense was credited with at least one tackle.

Fourth Quarter

WCHS: Mike Galliger ��10-yard run (kick blocked), 9:28.

Individual Rushing Stats

Vermillion: Jerrod Freidel rushed 23 times for 104 yards; Mike Oberle rushed eight times for seven yards; Andrew Eidem rushed two times for two yards; Luke Heine rushed one time for zero yards; Reid Meierkort rushed four times for negative two yards.

West Central: Mike Galliger rushed 17 times for 71 yards, one TD; Dylan Peterson rushed 16 times for 54 yards; Brady Clark rushed three times for 15 yards; Seth Hodges rushed three times for 15 yards; Bennett Johnson rushed four times for 11 yards; Nick Nelson rushed three times for zero yards.

Individual Passing Stats

Vermillion: Reid Meierkort completed 0 of 2 passes for zero yards and one interception.

West Central: Nick Nelson completed 1 of 6 passes for 13 yards.

Receiving Stats

West Central: Bennett Johnson caught one pass for 13 yards.

Vermillion closes out their regular season with a 3-5 record and faced Lennox in a first-round playoff game Oct. 23. West Central closes out their regular season with an 8-0 record and will face Sisseton in a first-round playoff game.

"I was extremely proud of the effort our kids gave in this loss to an outstanding West Central football team," coach Gary Culver said. "We played with great enthusiasm and emotion throughout the entire game. Our defensive unit controlled the Trojans' vaunted rushing attack, and our offense was able to move the ball on the ground, but we just couldn't grind out enough first downs to gain an edge in field position.

"Our special teams' play was outstanding throughout the contest, especially the punt team. We nearly picked off an interception for a touchdown in the first half that maybe would have changed the complexion of the game. But that has been the story of our season.

"Two or three plays in each of our losses may have spelled the difference between victory and defeat. But our team knows that great teams make those plays, and hopefully we can do that and make a run in the playoffs.

"We enter the playoffs with a great deal of momentum after our close loss to West Central. We know that we can play with anyone on a given night, and we also know how we dominated the second half of our regular season game against Lennox, our first-round opponent. We just need to put a complete game together and we can beat anyone in Class 11A.

"I really believe it's a wide-open field in Class 11A this season. Whichever team gets hot and puts four games together will have a great shot at winning the championship."

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