Tanagers turn table on the Orioles Tuesday 21-7 By: Parker Knox
Sports Writer History repeated itself in the DakotaDome Tuesday night. For the second straight�? year Vermillion, after losing to Lennox in the regular season, turned the tables on the Orioles in the playoffs. This time the�? Tanagers broke from a 7-7 halftime deadlock to control the second half and eliminate Lennox, 21-7. Coach Gary Culverâ�?�?s Tanagers advance to the regional title game at Harrisburg Monday. â�?�?The difference between our two Lennox games was that this time we were mentally ready,â�? Culver said.�? â�?�?We played hard the whole game.â�? Lennox had won at the Dome just three weeks ago, 26-7. â�?�?We continued to believe in our game plan all night and hardly deviated from it at all,â�? Culver observed.�? â�?�?The guys did a heck of a job.�? They knew when they left the field tonight they had laid it all out there.â�? The tide began to turn on Vermillionâ�?�?s first third-quarter possession. Though the Tanagers failed to score, they reached the Lennox 20. The defense then held the Orioles to a three-and-out. When Kylen Freidel returned the ensuing Lennox punt to the Oriole 45, the Tanagers were in business. The bull of the Vermillion running game, Mike Oberle, converted on a crucial third-and-five along the way to keep the winning drive moving. Facing third-and-11 from the Lennox 34, Culver called a timeout. â�?�?We just wanted to be sure everybody was on the same page,â�? said the coach. What they decided in the huddle worked to perfection as Freidel took a pitch around right end and sped past all defenders to the corner of the end zone to give Vermillion a 14-7 lead it would not relinquish. Trying to tie the contest, the Orioles took 10 plays to reach the Tanager 31, but there disaster struck. A fumbled handoff on a second-down reverse lost eight yards, forcing Lennox to throw on third down. An incompletion left no choice but to punt. Vermillion had 10:13 to kill with a one-score lead, and the result could not have been scripted any better. â�?�?You have to be able to run the ball effectively, and we did in that drive,â�? said an elated Culver. â�?�?Even if we hadnâ�?�?t scored at the end, that drive sealed it.â�? The Tanagers took the ball 89 yards in 16 plays and used 8:52 to do it. Freidel converted two crucial third-down plays into first downs along the march. Andrew�? Eidem took a pitchout wide to the left side and scampered 21 yards on another key play.�? It finally came down to second-and-goal from the five with 1:55 left, and Oberle cleared his own path through would-be tacklers,�? going in standing up for the clincher. Vermillion dented the scoreboard first after the defense stopped Lennox on its second possession and Cory Taggart returned the punt to the Oriole 45. Eidem, who missed last weekâ�?�?s West Central game due to a consussion sustained the previous week, returned in triumph, scooting the distance the first time he touched the ball. Lennox tied the game in the second quarter, concluding an 80-yard drive on an one-yard run by Ryan Pingrey. Eidem carried 20 times for 121 yards, Oberle 10 times for 42 yards and Freidel seven times for 81 yards.�? Austin Eichacker gained 70 of the Oriolesâ�?�? yards in 15 carries.�? Josh Jorgenson had 45 yards in three attempts. First quarter: V â�?�? Andrew Eidem 45-yard run (Kyle Nemec kick) 6:41. Second quarter: L â�?�? Ryan Pingrey 11-yard run (Dustin Gearman kick) 10:38. Third quarter: V â�?�? Kylen Freidel 34-yard run (Nemec kick) 3:33. Fourth quarter: V â�?�? Mike Oberle 5-yard run (Nemec kick) 1:55.