Tanagers receive post-season football honors

Tanagers receive post-season football honors By Parker Knox
Sportswriter The Tanager football players have selected the recipients of their 2008 postseason awards, and when it comes to most valuable player, the winning of that honor by Mike Oberle is one election whose result could easily have been forecast by prognosticators long before all the votes were in. Not only was Oberle also chosen as the team's outstanding linebacker and one of its two co-captains, but when the South Dakota Football Coaches Association announces its Class 11A All-State team next week, Oberle will be on it as first-team linebacker. He is the 62nd first-team All-Stater in Gary Culver's 32 years as head coach at VHS. Also bringing recognition to Vermillion on the All-State team will be Jordan Robinson, selected for the honorable mention list as punter.  Robinson transferred his soccer skills to the football gridiron where he kicked nine extra points and one field goal and averaged 33.8 yards in punting 21 times. Six Tanagers have been honored with all-conference distinction by the Big 8 Conference coaches, including Oberle, Andrew Eidem, Nick Mart and Kylen Freidel on the first team and Grant Lueders and Kyle Nemec on the honorable mention list. Qualifying for the SDFBCA's Academic All-State designation are Oberle, Lueders, Taylor Clark, Tony Thomas, Wyatt Hunter and Chris Cameron. Besides Oberle's MVP, linebacker and co-captain selections, other postseason awards voted on by the Tanager players are: Co-captain:  Andrew Eidem. Most improved player:  Chase Allen. Outstanding offensive back:  Andrew Eidem. Outstanding receiver:  Kylen Freidel. Outstanding offensive linemen:  Nick Mart and Grant Lueders. Outstanding defensive lineman:  Joe Talley. Outstanding defensive back:  Cory Taggart. Outstanding specialty team player:  Jordan Robinson. "The seniors on our team have provided great leadership throughout this season," said Culver, "and we will certainly miss them playing for us but wish them the best in their future endeavors."  Graduating from the Tanagers will be Cameron, Clark, hunter, Thomas, Lueders, Eidem, Taggart, Oberle, Nemec, Talley, Greg Anderson, Blaine Olson, Travis Jerred, Lance Hubert, Jeff Anglin and J.R. Moore. "Our underclassmen can look to a bright future next season as we return a good nucleus of players with a lot of playing experience to build around on our offense and defense," Culver said. "If our players put in the necessary work in the off-season to make themselves better individually, we can have great success as a team next fall." Even a cursory skimming of the season's statistics clearly shows Oberle's contributions to the team and his qualifications as an All-State player. On offense he was the team's second-leading ground-gainer with 616 yards in 139 carries, averaging 4.4 yards per carry, and he scored nine touchdowns, two two-point conversions and three safeties. But he also returned nine kickoffs for 187 yards, averaging 20.8 per return, and returned an interception 42 yards. On defense he was far and away the Tanagers' leading tackler with 73 solos and 14 assists for 87 total tackles, 31 more than the second-highest teammate. Seven of Oberle's tackles were for loss of yardage. He also had one quarterback sack, tied for team-high in pass breakups with five and recovered three fumbles. If it weren't for Oberle, Eidem's statistics would certainly have elevated him to MVP status. He was the team's leading rusher for 964 yards in 180 carries, an average of 5.4 yards per attempt. Had it not been for an injury late in the regular season, causing him to miss nearly two full games, he surely would have surpassed the coveted 1,000-yard mark in yards gained.  Eidem scored six TDs and one two-point conversion, returned four kickoffs for 72 yards, returned two punts for 59 yards and was the team's third-high tackler with 37 along with six tackles for loss and five pass breakups. Nick Mart was second-high on the tackle list with 47 solos and nine assists for 56 total tackles. Clark was fourthj with 33, Freidel fifth with 27, Talley sixth with 22 and Jerred seventh with 20. Freidel, who gained 198 yards on the ground in 29 carries, was the team's leading pass receiver, snaring 10 passes for 304 yards, an average of 30.4 per catch. He scored five times, twice on rushing TDs and three times on pass receptions for scores. He also was the team's leading kickoff returner with 234 yards in 10 returns. He also returned three interceptions for 39 yards and eight punts for 91 yards. Taggart had eight punt returns for 81 yards. Junior quarterback Earl Kiertzner completed 18 of 51 passes for 523 yards, averaging 29.1 yards per completion. He threw for four touchdowns and six interceptions. After three straight losing seasons, this year's Tanager club regained the .500 level with a 5-5 record. One of the losses was to state champ Dell Rapids, two to semifinalist Harrisburg, one to top-ranked West Central and the other to Lennox, a defeat that was avenged in the playoff opener. The team's 206.0 yards-per-game rushing average is the best for a Vermillion team since 2002. The Tanagers' average of 258.3 offensive yards per game is the best for VHS since the 2003 squad. Cumulative Team Statistics (VHS/Opponents) First downs: 122/141, by rushing 98/110, by passing 14/25, by penalty 10/6. Net yards rushing:  2060/2266, rushing attempts 456/373, rushing yards 2241/2408, yards lost rushing 151/142, avg. per play 4.5/6.1, avg. per game 206.0/226.6. Net yards passing:  523/725, passes attempted 51/123, completed 18/61, passes intercepted 6/8, avg. per play 10.3, 5.9, avg. per catch 29.1/11.9, avg. per game 52.3/72.5. Yards total offense:  2583/2991, attempts 507/496, avg. per play 5.1/6.0, avg. per game 258.3/299.1. Fumbles:  16/32, lost 7/12. Penalties:  49/43, yards 367/333. Kickoff returns:  38/31, yardage 656/610, avg. 17.3/19.7. Punt returns:  16/18, yardage 172/191, avg. 10.8/10.6. Interception returns:  8/6, yardage 9.5/5.4, avg. 11.9/10.8. Punting average:  32.4/30.4, yardage 1103/668, number of punts 34/22. Scoring average:  17.3/21.8, points 173/218, rushing TDs 20/22, passing TDs 4/8, 1-pt PATs 14/23, 2-pt. PATs 3/2, field goals 1/1, safeties 3/1, TD kickoff returns 0/0, TD fumble recoveries 0/0, TD interception returns 0/1. Scoring by quarters:  first 20/61, second 51/79, third 37/45, fourth 65/33.   Individual statistics Passing:  Kiertzner 18/51, 523 yards, 29.1 avg., 6 interceptions, 4 TDs. Rushing/avg. per carry:  Eidem 180-964, 5.4.  Oberle 139-616, 4.4.  Robinson 16-140, 8.8.  Ellenbolt 6-30, 5.0.  T. Mart 11-35, 3.2.  Freidel 29-198, 6.8.  Mehlhaf 5-24, 4.8.  Thomas 6-8, 1.3.  Taggart 7-6, 0.9,  Husby 2-1, 0.5.  Kiertzner 50-59, 1.2.  Hubert 1-(-18), -18.0.  Johnson 1-12, 12.0. Receiving/avg. per catch:  Freidel 10-304, 30.4.  Taggart 4-55, 13.8.  Johnson 2-9, 46.0. Kickoffs:  Nemec 30-1343, 44.8.  Robinson 4-172, 50.4. Kickoff returns:  Oberle 9-187, 20.8.  Eidem 4-72, 18.0.  Freidel 10-234, 23.4.  Mehlhaf 2-3, 1.5.  C. Mart 1-0, 0.0.  Hubert 1-0, 0.0.  Johnson 5-78, 15.6.  Hubert 1-0, 0.0.  Johnson 5-78, 15.6.  Taggart 1-8, 8.0.  Kozak 1-3, 3.0. Punts:  Robinson 21-710, 33.8.  Eidem 2-59, 29.5.  Hubert 2-67, 33.5.  Moore 8-240, 30.3. Punt returns:  Freidel 8-91, 11.4.  Taggart 8-81, 10.1. Fumble recoveries:  Oberle 3, Olson 2, Thomas 2, Lueders 1, Johnson 1, Talley 1, Sullivan 1, C. Mart 1. Interception returns:  Oberle 1-42, 42.0.  Thomas 2-10, 5.0.  Freidel 3-39, 13.0.  Anglin 1-0, 0.0.  Taggart 1-14, 14.0. Touchdowns:  Oberle 9, Eidem 6, Freidel 5, Johnson 2, Robinson 1, Ellenbolt 1. 1-pt. PATs:  Robinson 9, Nemec 5. 2-pt. PATs:  Oberle 2, Eidem 1. Field goals:  Robinson 1. Safeties:  Oberle 3. Points:  Oberle 64, Eidem 38, Freidel 30, Robinson 18, Johnson 12, Ellenbolt 6, Nemec 5. Tackles (solos/assists/total):  Oberle 73-14-87, N. Mart 47-9-56, Eidem 30-7-37, clark 30-3-33, Freidel 24-3-27, Talley 19-3-22, Jerred 15-5-20, Olson 17-2, 19, Johnson 18-1-19, Lueders 16-1-17, Heine 11-5-16, Robinson 12-13-15, Thomas 14-1-15, Cameron 13-1-14, C. Mart 7-4-11, Taggart 9-0-9, Anderson 7-1-8, Allen 8-0-8, Nemec 5-1-6, Anglin 5-1-6, Amundson 5-1-6, Sullivan 4-2-6, Hubert 6-0-6, T. Mart 4-1-5, Husby 4-1-5, Ellenbolt 3-1-4, Knight 2-0-2, Merrigan 1-0-1, Mehlhaf 1-0-1, Hunter 1-0-1. Tackles for loss:  Oberle 7, Eidem 6, Olson 5, Talley 2, Cameron 2, Knight 1, Hubert 1, Heine 1, Johnson 1, Jerred 1. Pass breakups:  Oberle 5, Eidem 5, Johnson 5, Freidel 5, Robinson 4, Thomas 3, Clark 3, Olson 2, Taggart 2, Anglin 1. Quarterback sacks:  Oberle 1, Olson 1.

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