The Tanagers out-rushed, out-passed, and out-defended the Orioles, but came up short on the scoreboard 21-7.
Lennox dominated the game for short spurts of time as they took advantage of a couple lapses by the visitors' pass defense, resulting in favorable field positions during the first half. The Tanagers had been held at bay for most of the half, but after the third touchdown by the Orioles with 45 seconds left in the second quarter, Jerrod Freidell ran for 26 yards, followed by Reid Meirkort leading a frantic 76-yard drive, completing three consecutive passes of 14 and 12 yards to Jackson Freidel, and 16 yards to Kylen Freidel, when time ran out with the ball resting inches from the goal line.
The second half belonged to the Tanager defense as they allowed no first downs and only 18 yards of offense to the Orioles. But the first half shortcomings on pass defense and a couple mental errors were too much for the visitors to make up as they were able to score one TD.
Tanager defensive statistics: Mike Oberle – 8 Ts; Luke Heine – 7 Ts, 1 pass K; Blaine Olson� 6Ts, 1 for loss, fumble recovery; Jerrod Freidel – 6 Ts, fumble recovery, pass K; Nick Martt – 5 Ts, 1 for loss, pass K; Heath Hubert – 4 Ts; Alex Anderson-Kahl – 3 Ts. Every member on the defense roster was credited with at least one tackle.
LHS: Blake Kirschenman – 14-yard run (Dustin Gearman kick), 7:40.
LHS: Andy Kruse ��1-yard run (Dustin Gearman kick), 9:52; Austin Eichacker ��5-yard run (Dustin Gearman kick), :46.
VHS: Mike Oberle���1-yard run (Reid Meierkort kick), :55.
Individual Rushing Stats
Vermillion: Jerrod Feidel rushed 17 times for 152 yards; Luke Heine rushed five times for 15 yards; Mike Oberle rushed five times for nine yards and one TD; Jackson Freidel rushed one time for nine yards; Andrew Eidem rushed four times for five yards; Reid Meierkort rushed nine times for -6 yards.
Lennox: Austin Eichacker rushed 13 times for 61 yards and one TD; Josh Jorgensen rushed six times for 25 yards; Andy Kruse rushed six times for 22 yards and one TD; Ryan Pingrey rushed 10 times for 21 yards; Joel Brewer rushed 5 times for 16 yards; Blake Kirschenman rushed four times for 11 yards and one TD.
Individual passing stats
Vermillion: Reid Meierkort completed 7 of 15 passes for 83 yards and one interception
Lennox: Andy Kruse completed 5 of 14 passes for 74 yards; Austin Harms completed 0 of 1 passes for 0 yards.
Vermillion: Kylen Freidel caught three passes for 47 yards; Jackson Freidel caught two passes for 26 yards; Jerrod Freidel caught one pass for 13 yards; Mike Oberle caught one pass for -3 yards.
Lennox: Austin Smit caught two passes for 33 yards; Ryan Pingrey caught
two passes for 25 yards; Brandon Klinger caught
one pass for 16 yards.
Vermillion's overall record fell to 3-3 and their conference record fell to 1-1. The Tanagers will close out their regular season by hosting the Harrisburg Tigers for Parents' Night. The Tigers have a 5-1 record on the season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, in the DakotaDome. The Lennox Orioles upped their record to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
"This game was a tale of two halves of football," coach Gary Culver said. "Lennox dominated the first half and we dominated the second half. We squandered away two golden opportunities in the first half to get a score on the board, but we failed to come away with no points on both occasions.
"You want to cash in on those situations, especially on the road. Our defense played on their heels the first half. If we can play the entire game with the intensity we did the second half, we are a very good defensive unit. Offensively, we just need to score a touchdown when we reach the red zone. We moved the ball effectively, but just couldn't finish the drives out for a score.
"We can't dwell on this loss, as we have to get ready for an exceptional Harrisburg football team, which is just coming off a huge upset road win over Luverne, MN, which was ranked #1 in Class 2A in Minnesota.
"It will be good to get back home in the Dome again after two tough weeks on the road. We need to rebound from this loss and play solid football the last two weeks of the regular season. We also need to play at a high emotional level these last two weeks."