Tanagers turn tide, defeat Jackson County 30-21 By Parker Knox
Sports Writer By Parker Knox Sports Writer A 21-8 halftime deficit and a gigantic momentum switch fueled by a Jackson County Central touchdown with 23 seconds left in the first half sent Vermillionâ�?�?s Tanagers into the intermission on a downward spiral. This was definitely not part of the homecoming�? agenda. â�?�?I told our kids at halftime to just keep working hard and good things would start to happen,â�? said Coach Gary Culver afterward, â�?�?and they did, beginning with our defense holding Jackson County Central on their first possession of the second half.â�? The inspired Tanagers turned the tide in their favor with touchdowns at the end of two dynamite drives in the third quarter, then successfully converted a daring two-point conversion to take the lead with 10:14 left in the game.�? The defense responded by holding the Minnesotans scoreless�? throughout the second half to finish Tanager Day with a scintillating 30-21 homecoming victory which these players will be fondly remembering all their lives. The VHS defense stymied JCC on the first two plays of the second half, forcing the Huskies to go to the air on third down.�? When Nathan Brandtâ�?�?s pass�? fell incomplete, it forced a punt, and Vermillion got the ball�? at its own 43-yard line. â�?�?This was a pivotal part of the game because it gave our offense field position to work and also started to change the momentum to our side of the field,â�? Culver noted. After�? Andrew Eidem, who had a monster game of 160 yards rushing as well as 12 tackles, covered the seven yards to midfield, he went 45 yards on second down, and the Tanagers were in business at the Jackson five.�? Two yards by Mike Oberle and two more by Eidem set up VHS at the one from where Oberle found the end zone. Vermillion�? still trailed after a missed extra point, 21-14, with 8:58 to go in the third period.�? The defense needed to retrieve the ball.�? When Jackson recovered its own fumble but lost yardage on its next possession, the Tanagers stopped�? the Huskies on fourth-and-five at the Tanager 18.�? The game turned, momentum rejoined the home team, and Vermillion was on its way. Starting from their own 20, the Tanagers dominated the visitors with a powerful 80-yard drive, picking up five first downs along the way.�? Oberle and Eidem did the bulk of the yardage gains along with a 10-yard spurt by Kylen Freidel on a reverse that set up VHS at the seven-yard line.�? Oberle went the rest of the way on two plays to bring the Tanagers to within 21-20. Culver said later he had decided the team would go for two points long before the touchdown was actually accomplished.�? â�?�?I felt it was the right thing to do,â�? he said. And it was as Eidem followed his linemen�? to paydirt for a 22-21 lead with 10:14 remaining. Vermillionâ�?�?s defense held again on Jacksonâ�?�?s subsequent possession.�? The fact that the Husky center hiked the ball�? too high to the punter, forcing him to try to pass the ball, didnâ�?�?t hurt the Tanager cause.�? He appeared to intentionally ground the ball though the penalty was not called.�? Nevertheless, the fourth-down â�?�?incompletionâ�? gave Vermillion the ball at the Husky 48.�? Only 7:47 remained for the home team to wipe from the clock. Another strong Eidem run allowed VHS to prolong its next possession.�? Finally a punt from the Jackson 43 went into the end zone.�? Three plays later�? Blaine Olson recovered a Husky fumble near midfield.�? Vermillion returned the favor a few plays later, and JCC got the ball back with one more chance â�?�? 67 yards away, one timeout left, and 2:42 showing on the clock. An incomplete pass, a crucial defensive stop by Eidem, and two more incompletions gave Vermillion the ball at the Jackson 34.�? The�? Husky coaching staff decided to let the�? Tanagers score immediately, and Oberle happily ran in unscathed.�? Culver and his coaches again made the choice to go for two points, and again it was the correct call.�? Oberleâ�?�?s conversion made it 30-21. Needing a touchdown in a hurry and then a subsequent onside kick recovery, Jackson never got the opportunity because Tony Thomas intercepted a pass with a minute to go, and the homecoming victory was secure. Jacksonâ�?�?s talented QB, Brandt, had the Tanagers on their heels, according�? to Culver, in the first half, â�?�?but our kids regrouped and did a better job containing him in the third quarter.â�? Brandt left the game with an injury with a quarter to go. â�?�?Our�? offensive line, much like the week before at Canton, dominated the line of scrimmage the last two quarters,â�? Culver observed.�? â�?�?We really rushed the football extremely well the second half.â�? Jackson had taken an early lead on a three-play, 55-yard drive that featured a 46-yard pass from Brandt to Trevon Bargfrede.�? Jordan Phibbs scored from the 9 just three minutes into the game. A good Tanager defensive stand on the Huskiesâ�?�? next possession proved crucial.�? When they got the ball, the Tanagers covered 25 yards�? from Freidel, and once across midfield, quarterback Earl Kiertzner connected with Freidel on a 41-yard touchdown pass that brought VHS to within 7-6. That momentum immediately disappeared, however, when Jackson scored on Jordan Cholickâ�?�?s 56-yard run, and it was a 13-6 JCC lead still in the first period. The Tanagers nearly�? tied the game on a�? Jackson fumble in the end zone, but instead it proved to be a safety worth two points.�? But the Huskies regained control of the game â�?�? or so it appeared â�?�? when they went 79 yards in the final two and a half minutes of the first half, scoring on a 17-yard pass from Brandt to Joel Hartzler. So it was 21-8 at halftime and time for�? Culver to have a conversation with his boys in the lockerroom.�? The message got through. The Vermillion offense featured Oberleâ�?�?s 100 yards on the ground to complement Eidemâ�?�?s 160 as well as 67 passing yards.�? Despite Jacksonâ�?�?s 159-yard passing attack, the Huskies were still outgained in total yardage by 373-336. The Tanagers (4-1) have this week off, and Culver said�? the bye comes at a good time so that some nagging injuries can heal and the team can focus on some fundamentals and individual technique before the final three-game surge toward playoff time.�? Vermillionâ�?�?s next game is in the Dome against Lennox on Friday, Oct. 11, and a win would certify a home game in the first round of the playoffs for the Tanagers. First quarter: J â�?�? Jordan Phibbs 9-yard. run (Trevor Hage kick), 8:59. V â�?�? Kylen Freidel 41-yard. pass from Earl Kiertzner (kick failed), 4:15. J â�?�? Jordan Cholick 56-yard. run (kick failed), 3:19. Second quarter: V â�?�? Safety (JCC tackled in end zone), 3:01. J â�?�? Joel Hartzler 17-yard. pass from�? Nathan Brandt (Patrick Garvin pass from Brandt), :23. Third quarter: V â�?�? Mike Oberle 1-yard. run (kick failed), 8:58. Fourth quarter: V â�?�? Oberle 3-yard. run (Andrew eidem run), 10:14. V â�?�? Oberle 34-yard. run (Oberle run), 1:48. Individual rushing V â�?�? Eidem 24-160, Oberle 19-100, Freidel�? 2-34, Kiertzner 4-11, Jordan Robinson 1-1. JCC â�?�? Cholick 5-68, Brandt 4-52, Phibbs 5-24, Joey Schmidt 4-23, Skylar Prochaska 1-6, Hartzler 2-4. Individual passing V â�?�? Kiertzner 3-9-67. JCC â�?�? Brandt 8-15-112, Hartzler 5-13-47-1, Hage 0-1. Individual receiving�? V â�?�? Freidel 2-58, Cory Taggart 1-9. JCC â�?�? Garvin 7-67, Hartzler 2-29, Trevon Bargfrede 2-53, Taylor Menke 2-10. Tackles (solo/assist/total) V â�?�? Eidem 10-2-12, Oberle 4-2-6, Robinson 5-0-5, Nick Mart 3-0-3, Joe Talley 2-1-3, Taggart 3-0-3, Chris Mart 1-1-2, Bennett Johnson 2-0-2, Taylor Clark 1-1-2, Kyle Nemec 2-0-2,�? Freidel 1-0-1, Tyler Husby 0-1-1, Tanner Mart 0-1-1, Grant Lueders 0-1-1, Travis Jerred 1-0-1, Chris�? Cameron 1-0-1, Blaine Olson 1-0-1. Tackles for loss V â�?�? Eidem 3, Talley, Olson. Fumble recoveries V â�?�? Olson. Pass knockdowns V â�?�? Eidem, Nick Mart 2, Clark 2, Freidel, Thomas, Anglin. Interceptions V â�?�? Thomas.
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