Harrisburg steamrolls to victory over Tanagers Tuesday

Harrisburg steamrolls to victory over Tanagers Tuesday By Parker Knox Harrisburg scored on seven of its nine possessions Monday night and steamrolled in to the state Class 11A semifinals with a 45-14 victory over a game but outmanned Vermillion team. In the end the Tigers had the senior class talent, experience and speed to fittingly occupy their new state-of-the-art football stadium and were able to almost identically match their 49-12 win over the Tanagers a month ago. A season that began with a 4-1 record ends at 5-5 for Vermillion.  Four of the five Tanager losses came at the hands of what could easily be considered the three best 11A teams in the state – twice to Harrisburg and once each to Dell Rapids and West Central.  The other defeat came at the hands of Lennox, but that loss was avenged by Vermillion in the first round of the playoffs. Unofficial statistics showed Harrisburg with 416 rushing yards in 47 carries and 41 aerial yards for a total night of 457 yards.  Vermillion rushed for 142 yards in 36 carries and tacked on 71 passing yards for a total of 213. But whether it was a long drive or a possession marked by a huge play, the Tigers were able to move and able to score.  Stalwart and determined as they were, the Tanagers just could not keep up, and once they fell behind, there was no way they were going to be able to catch up. The pattern for the evening was set on the game-opening possession.  The Tigers took six plays to reach the Tanager 46 but only one play to go the rest of the way, a 46-yard keeper by quarterback Adam McNamara. Vermillion showed it had come to play on its first chance.  Mike Oberle, completing a stellar senior season, returned the kickoff 41 yards to midfield.  A 14-yard pass from Earl Kiertzner to Blaine Olson was a key play as the Tanagers drove to the 22-yard line.  But there on fourth-and-one, Andrew Eidem was stopped literally inches short of a first down. A fumble recovery by Oberle stymied Harrisburg's second possession, but it would be the last time until the final minute of the game when the Tigers would fail to score when they had the ball. A punt by Eidem set Harrisburg back to its own 5-yard line early in the second period, but McNamara solved that crisis with a 75-yard scamper on a third-down conversion from the 13.  Three plunges by Preston Harris got the ball to the one from where McNamara scored his second touchdown. Oberle came within a whisker of taking Vermillion's first ensuing play the distance, but he was tackled when a Tiger defender got hold of his foot.  Given the ball back minutes later on a punt, Harrisburg had a 38-yard run by Harris along the way to another 1-yard TD plunge by McNamara. Just before halftime Connor Auch, who kicked six extra points, nailed a 25-yard field goal for a 24-0 lead. Harrisburg scored in the third quarter on a 10-yard pass from McNamara to Brandon Kovash to make it 31-0.  The Tanagers hadn't given up, however, as evidenced by a neat pass out in the flat followed by a nifty run by Kylen Freidel that covered 57 yards.  Eidem scored the Tanager TD from the eight. A 36-yard run by Harris and a one-yard run by Alex Hill completed Tiger scoring.  The Tanagers got on the board again with 1:07 left when Bennett Johnson took the ball on a reverse and scored from the 10.  Kyle Nemec added a pair of Vermillion extra points.

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