Tanagers experience frustrating night on gridiron By Parker Knox
Sports Writer By Parker Knox Sports Writer The prospect of playing an 0-5 Lennox team might have been a mouthwatering thought for Vermillion heading into last Fridayâ�?�?s game at the DakotaDome, but it was the Orioles who went home tasting the sweet juices of victory and the Tanagers who were left to dwell on the foul taste�? from a game for which they were apparently unprepared mentally. To begin with, the Oriolesâ�?�? winless record was mighty deceiving, considering that they had played the three best teams in Class 11A and the top-rated team in Class 11B.�? Lennox demonstrated to the DakotaDome crowd that something had been learned from playing such quality opponents, stunning the Tanagers, 26-7. â�?�?It was an extremely frustrating night for our team,â�? said coach Gary Culver.�? â�?�?We were simply outplayed in all phases of the game.�? We had mental breakdowns on offense, defense and specialty teams.â�? If thereâ�?�?s any satisfaction to be gained from the unexpected defeat, it is that the Tanagers could welcome the Orioles back to the Dome again as early as Oct. 28 in the first round of the playoffs.�? Vermillionâ�?�?s hope will be that what happened last year reoccurs â�?�? a loss to Lennox during in the regular season and a win over Lennox in the playoffs. But there are a couple major headaches to consider before thoughts turn to the playoffs.�? Vermillion goes to Harrisburgâ�?�?s new stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday night, then hosts West Central at 7 p.m. next Thursday in the regular-season finale. â�?�?We donâ�?�?t have time to dwell on the Lennox loss,â�? Culver said.�? â�?�?We close out our regular season facing the top two teams in Class 11A football, but these last two games will be a good barometer as to where our team sits among the elite in our class this season.â�? The opening kickoff set the tone for the Lennox game.�? Only a touchdown-saving tackle by Carson Sullivan stopped the Orioles from taking the kickoff all the way.�? Even so, four plays, two first downs and one personal foul penalty later, Lennox was in the end zone, scoring on a 16-yard quarterback keeper by Jordan Konda. Only 82 seconds into the game, the Tanagers were in a 7-0 hole. The rest of the first quarter was just as ominous as Vermillion snapped the ball only eight times, and two of those plays were punts.�? The Tanagers managed eight net yards in the quarter. On the first play of the second period Lennox scored again on a 32-yard pass from Konda to Austin Harms to make it 13-0. It thus became imperative for Vermillion to snap out of its funk, and the Tanager offense did get a good drive going.�? Five successive plays advanced the ball.�? When Kylen Freidel took the ball nine yards behind Mike Oberleâ�?�?s block, the Tanagers were in good shape with a first down at the Oriole 23, but a fumbled pitch was picked up by Lennox. The Tanager defense stiffened when Lennox reached the 13-yard line.�? Eventually the Orioles had to attempt a field goal and missed, but the Vermillion offense was unable to get out of its own territory.�? Lennox got the ball with two minutes left in the half, and that was too much time.�? The Oriole offense plunged a knife into the Tanagersâ�?�? backs when Ryan Pingrey, breaking tackles as he went, covered 30 yards into the end zone only 16 seconds prior to halftime. Neither team scored in the third stanza.�? Harms converted on another 32-yard pass play from Konda three minutes into the final period for the Oriolesâ�?�? final touchdown.�? The Tanagers averted a shutout when Bennett Johnson scored on the receiving end of a 49-yard pass play from Earl Kiertzner with 4:48 remaining. â�?�?I felt we had made good progress through the first five games of the season and had improved each week,â�? Culver said, â�?�?but that was not the case this time.�? We took a step backwards in this game.�? Our team found out you have to be mentally ready every time you take the field, and we simply were not at that stage for this game.�? Hopefully weâ�?�?ve learned from this situation.â�? First quarter: L â�?�? Jordan Konda 16-yard run (Dustin Gearman kick), 10:38. Second quarter: L â�?�? Austin Harms 32-yard pass from Konda (kick failed), 11:54. L â�?�? Ryan Pingrey 30-yard run (Gearman kick), 0:16. Fourth quarter: L â�?�? Harms 32-yard pass from Konda (kick failed), 9:00. V â�?�? Bennett Johnson 49-yard pass from Earl Kiertzner (Jordan Robinson kick), 4:48. Individual rushing V â�?�? Andrew�? Eidem 19-54, Mike Oberle 12-37, Earl Kiertzner 9-26, Kylen Freidel 1-9, Jordan�? Robinson 1-3, Cory Taggart, 1-2. L â�?�? Austin Eichacker 19-97, Jordan Konda 10-66, Blake Kirschenman 4-64, Ryan Pingrey 4-45, Korey Johnston 6-18, Alex DeVries 2-(-2). Individual passing V â�?�? Kiertzner 5-13-128. L â�?�? Konda 3-6-65. Individual receiving�? V â�?�? Bennett Johnson 2-92, Freidel 2-32, Taggart 1-4. L â�?�? Harms 2-49, Gearman 1-16. Tackles (solo/assist/total) V â�?�? Oberle 7-0-7, Eidem 5-0-5, Nick�? Mart 4-0-4, Chris Cameron 4-0-4, Taylor�? Clark 4-0-4, Travis Jerred 4-0-4, Freidel 3-0-3, Joe Talley 2-0-2, Grant Lueders 1-0-1, Marquis Knight 1-0-1, Taggart 1-0-1, Tony Thomas 1-0-1, Tyler Husby 1-0-1, Johnson 1-0-1. Tackles for loss V â�?�? Oberle 2. Fumble recoveries V â�?�? Oberle, Chris Mart. Pass knockdowns V â�?�? Eidem, Freidel, Robinson.