The Tanagers and Tigers proved to be evenly matched foes, ending the first half of play tied 6-6. Vermillion couldn't stop Harrisburg in the third quarter, and lost its bid to continue in the playoffs by a 20-12 score.
The Tanagers won the toss and deferred. The Tigers took the kick to the 36-yard line and worked their way to near the midfield before going into punt formation on fourth down. The punter took the snap and (surprise!) threw it to a receiver who went 57 yards through a startled Tanager defense for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked by the tandem of Luke Heine and Alex Anderson-Kahl. After that, Harrisburg hardly saw the ball on offense in the first half, as Vermillion took advantage of two fumble recoveries by Heine and Anderson-Kahl, and a second-quarter possession of 20 plays which culminated in a last second five-yard pass for a TD from Reid Meierkort to Kylen Freidel for a halftime tie (the extra point kick went wide).
To open the second half, the Tanagers had a nice drive going, but were stopped by a serious defense. Harrisburg mounted a comparable drive, as Preston Harris scored from three yards out with four minutes on the clock. Vermillion went three and out, and the Tigers used a couple pass plays to set up their second score of the quarter – a one-yard run by Harris – to end the period.
But the damage was done and despite some furious heroics, the Tanagers couldn't overcome the talented Tigers, except to score a TD on a pass at the end of the game – Meierkort to K. Freidel for the final 20-2 score.
Tanager defensive statistics: Luke Heine – 8 Ts, 1 fumble recovery, a blocked kick; Jerrod Freidel – 4 Ts, 1 pass K; Tom Mollet – 2 Ts, 1 for loss; Nick Mart – 4 Ts; Mike Oberle – 6 Ts, 1 for loss; Andrew Eidem – 5 Ts; Alex Anderson-Kahl – 2 Ts, fumble recovery, a blocked kick; Jackson Freidel – 3 Ts. Every member on the defense roster was credited with at least one tackle or pass knockdown.
HHS ��Tim Voegeli: 57-yard pass from Jon Faris (kick blocked), 8:05.
VHS ��Kylen Freidel: five-yard pass from Reid Meierkort (kick failed), :01.
HHS – Preston Harris: three-yard run (Josh Knust kick), 3:59; Preston Harris: one-yard run (Josh Knust kick), :00.
VHS ��Kylen Freidel: 45-yard pass from Reid Meierkort (no attempt), :00.
Individual passing stats
Vermillion ��Jerrod Freidel rushed 24 times for 128 yards; Luke Heine rushed 14 times for 57 yards; Reid Meierkort rushed two times for two yards; Mike Oberle rushed two times for zero yards.
Harrisburg ��Preston Harris rushed 15 times for 61 yards and two TDs; Adam McNamara rushed 12 times for 43 yards; Jordan Titze rushed four times for 28 yards; Joey Brown rushed four times for -1 yards.
Individual passing stats
Vermillion ��Reid Meierkort completed five of 15 passes for 75 yards, two TDs and one interception.
Harrisburg ��Adam McNamara completed seven of 11 passes for 101 yards; John Faris completed one of one passes for 57 yards and one TD.
Vermillion ��Kylen Freidel caught three passes for 59 yards and two TDs; Jerrod Freidel caught two passes for 16 yards.
Harrisburg ��Tim Voegeli caught two passes for 70 yards and one TD; Will Nelson caught four passes for 58 yards; Jordan Fodness caught one pass for 23 yards; Brandon Kovash caught one pass for seven yards.
Vermillion ends their season with a 4-6 record.
"Our players left everything on the field against Harrisburg, and that's all you want a team to do when you reach this stage of the season," coach Gary Culver said. "We had the Tigers on their heels in the second quarter and early in the second half, but we just couldn't punch in the go-ahead score to make them play catchup instead of us.
"We did a great job rushing the football against their defense, and we played excellent defense against their rushing game, but we allowed them to make some big third-down conversions that kept their drives alive in the third quarter. We lost to a very good football team that has a lot of weapons on offense, but I'm extremely proud of our team and the way they battled until the bitter end.
"The finality of the season coming to a close is always tough, but especially for the seniors on the team. They have provided great leadership throughout this season, and we will certainly miss them in the future, but we wish them the best in their future endeavors. Our underclassmen can look to a bright future next season as we return a great nucleus of players with a lot of playing experience to build around on our offense and defense. If our players put in the necessary work in the off-season to make themselves better individually, we can have great success as a team next fall."