Tanagers ready for homecoming action after victory over Canton By Parker Knox
Sports Writer Itâ�?�?s homecoming week at Vermillion High School, and the football teamâ�?�?s�? mission is to provide the crowning touch�? to the weekâ�?�?s festivities.�? In this case that�? would be a victory over Jackson County Central in Fridayâ�?�?s 7 p.m. Tanager Day game at the DakotaDome. The Tanagers come in seeking to swell their record to 4-1 after a 23-6 win at Canton last week.�? The Huskies from Minnesota stand at 2-2 after victories over Blue Earth and Redwood Valley and losses to Luverne and Marshall. Last year, in the first�? meeting of a two-year home-and-home series played in Jackson, the Tanagers took the lead in the first half and appeared to be on their way to victory before the game got away from them. â�?�?It was a game that we had under control until just past midway in the second quarter,â�? coach Gary Culver recalled.�? â�?�?We had an opportunity to add to our 15-0 lead on a couple of occasions, but we didnâ�?�?t close out our drives with scores.�? They were�? able to capitalize on one of our turnovers and score with five seconds left in the half.�? It was really a 14-point swing, and it completely shifted the momentum.�? We can ill afford to have something like that happen this week.â�? Canton took an early 6-0 lead on the Tanagers, but Culverâ�?�?s club again displayed its cool demeanor, promptly erasing that deficit and never allowing Canton to score again.�? â�?�?Our defense played solid football throughout the contest, other than the breakdown in coverage on their touchdown pass,â�? Culver noted.�? â�?�?Our offense got untracked in the second quarter, and I thought our offensive line really dominated the game from that point on.â�? The C-Hawks went 65 yards in seven plays on their second possession.�? The touchdown came on a third-and-inches situation at the Tanager 45 when�? Jake Roskam hit Devin Ingebritson�? with a pass that went the distance.�? But momentum immediately returned to Vermillion when the Tanagers stopped Cantonâ�?�?s run for a two-point conversion. Quarterback Earl Kiertzner ran for 12 yards in two carries to start a 55-yard march.�? Andrew Eidem, who Culver said â�?�?kept getting stronger with each carry,â�?�? took charge on the next five snaps that included two nine-yard gains.�? The key play came on fourth-and-one when Mike Oberle covered nine yards instead of one and set up his team with a first down at the 14.�? Oberle went 10 yards, then one yard, then on the first play of the second quarter, completed his mission with a three-yard touchdown carry. Jordan Robinsonâ�?�?s extra-point kick gave Vermillion a permanent lead. The Tanagersâ�?�? next possession reached midfield before bogging down due to two in an evening-long series of 10 minor but nagging penalties.�? But a big break came in the form of Cantonâ�?�?s fumbling away the reception of the Vermillion punt.�? Carson Sullivan covered the loose ball, and starting from the C-Hawksâ�?�? 29, the Tanagers were in the end zone again in only four plays.�? Eidem covered the first eight, Kylen Freidel gained 15 yards on a reverse, and Oberle took it the rest of the way, going the final five yards for the score.�? Robinsonâ�?�?s kick made it 14-6. On their final possession of the first half, a holding penalty and a pair of plays that lost yardage had the Tanagers moving backward, but Robinson came through with a booming punt that lifted his team out of danger, and Canton had no time to respond before intermission. The C-Hawks came out to start the second half with an onside kick attempt that failed.�? That established excellent Vermillion field position for the entire third quarter.�? Though the Tanagers had to punt after a three-and-out series, Robinsonâ�?�?s next punt rolled dead on the 15-yard line.�? Canton couldnâ�?�?t advance the ball and had to punt from deep in its own territory.�? As a result the Tanagers started from the C-Hawks 28 with a great chance to break the game open.�? They did, in fact, score on a 30-yard pass from Kiertzner to Cory Taggart, but a holding penalty nullifed it.�? Nevertheless, Vermillion again used one of its premier weapons â�?�? Robinsonâ�?�?s kicking leg â�?�? and downed his punt at the seven-yard line. Forced to take to the air because of its own holding penalty, Canton had a second-and-36 problem in the final minute of the third quarter.�? Quarterback Roskam, because of pressure from the onrushing Oberle, had to hurry his throw, and his arm was hit by Joe Talley for an incompletion, the key play in forcing a subsequent punt. As the game moved into the final period and the Tanagers still leading but by only 14-6, the team seemed determined this time to salt away the victory.�? With Eidem doing the multitude of the ball-carrying, the team moved from its own 45 into the red zone.�? On third-and-goal from the six, Eidem followed the path of Grant Lueders and�? Nick Mart into the end zone with 8:53 remaining.�? Robinsonâ�?�?s kick increased the advantage to 21-6. That was still only a two-score lead, but Jeff Anglin helped out with an interception on Cantonâ�?�?s next possession.�? The Tanagers advanced from midfield to the fiv-yard line but lost the ball on a fumble.�? Nevertheless, on Cantonâ�?�?s first-down play from its own three,�? Oberle nailed Roskam in the end zone�? for a safety with 3:41 left.�? Now it was 23-6, and Canton would need three scores to win, and there was no way the Tanagers were going to allow that to occur. Eidem had a marvelous night of 178 yards gained in 31 carries.�? Oberle rushed 11 times for 48 yards and, going the other direction, led the team in tackles with eight, seven of them solo jobs.�? Mart was credited with six and Anglin four. First quarter: C â�?�? Devin Ingebritson 45-yd. pass from Jake Roskam (kick failed), 4:42. Second quarter: V â�?�? Mike Oberle 3-yd. run (Jordan Robinson kick), 11:55. V â�?�? Oberle 5-yd. run (Robinson kick), 2:46. Fourth quarter: V â�?�? Andrew Eidem 6-yd. run (Robinson kick), 8:53. V â�?�? Oberle tackled Roskam in end zone for safety, 3:50. Individual rushing Vermillion â�?�? Eidem 31-178, Oberle 11-48, Tanner Mart 2-16, Dexter Mehlhaf 2-10, Kylen Freidel 1-9, Tony Thomas 2-0, Robinson 1-0, Tyler Husby 1-0, Cory Taggart 1-(-1), Earl Kiertzner 7-(-8). Canton â�?�? Alex Christensen 9-65, Jared Twedt 7-36, Ben Short 2-7, Jake Kloster 1-4, Kirby Bowyer 1-0,�? Roskam 3-(-3). Individual passing Vermillion â�?�? Kiertzner 0-1-0. Canton â�?�? Roskam 12-17-136, 1 interception. Individual receiving�? Canton â�?�? Tom Henke 7-70,�? Ingebritson 2-52, Trevor Larson 1-9, Short 1-3, Christensen 1-2. Tackles (solo/assist/total) Vermillion â�?�? Oberle 7-1-8, Nick Mart 5-1-6, Jeff Anglin 3-1-4, Thomas 3-0-3, Robinson 3-0-3, Chris Mart 2-0-2, Eidem 1-1-2, Chris Cameron 2-0-2, Taggart 1-0-1, Mehlhaf 1-0-1, Lance Hubert 1-0-1, Chase Allen 1-0-1,�? Grant Lueders 1-0-1, Travis Jerred 1-0-1, Joe Talley 1-0-1, Blaine Olson 1-0-1. Fumble recoveries Oberle, Thomas, Sullivan. Pass knockdowns Oberle 2, Eidem, Olson. Interceptions Anglin. Quarterback sack Oberle.