Tanagers fall to St. Thomas More 31-12

There may be a night coming in the next six weeks when the Tanagers football team can continue the positive aspects of their game while eliminating the mental lapses and nagging minor penalties that plagued them last week. If and when that happens, some opponent is in for a surprise.

It's no consolation that Vermillion outgained St. Thomas More by nearly 100 yards on the ground and had a total yardage advantage of 21 yards over the Cavaliers. What still counts in the record books and in the power-point standings is that the Rapid City school went home with a 31-12 victory.

The Tanagers have an open date next week, so a win at Canton this Friday is important. 

"Our pride and ego were bruised more than anything," Coach Gary Culver said after the STM loss. "We want a win and a 2-2 record heading into our bye week."?

The rival C-Hawks are riding the momentum of their first win, a 14-7 conquering of fifth-rated Dakota Valley, last Friday. Kickoff time in Canton is 7 p.m.

Containing one of the state's premier quarterbacks, Jared Jacobson, was a challenge for the Tanagers. He not only completed 10 of 17 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns, but he also ran 19 times for 105 yards and the other two Cavalier touchdowns.

Yet the Tanagers were able to move the ball. Thirty-nine rushes resulted in 236 yards on the ground for Vermillion. Add to that Earl Kiertzner's 109 yards through the air on eight completions in 17 throws, and the Tanagers had enough offense to beat some teams.

STM is not just any team, however. Vermillion's two touchdowns were the first points STM had allowed.

"It was another frustrating night from the standpoint that we continue to be our own worst enemy," Culver said. "Untimely penalties put us in terrible down and distance situations on offense, and defensively we gave up some big plays that we knew we could ill afford to do against St. Thomas More."

The West River dominated the first quarter in plays run and time and yardage consumed. A 14-play drive covering 65 yards resulted in Jacobson's three-yard pass to Parker Sullivan. All-State kicker Kevin Robb nailed the extra point. The first two of 11 Tanager penalties stymied the first VHS possession. A short punt gave the Cavs a very short field only 32 yards from the Tanager goalline. The defense did score a minor victory by holding STM to a Robb field goal.

A 28-yard explosion through the middle of the line by Bennett Johnson highlighted the next VHS possession. On a fourth-and-five play from the STM 24, Kylen Freidel gained four-and-one-half yards, but by that margin the Tanagers had to give up the ball. 

STM, moving quickly on two long pass plays covering 54 yards, scored on a 17-yard run by Jacobson. Another Robb kick made it 17-0, and it appeared a rout would ensue.

But led by Kiertzner, the Tanagers staged a 73-yard drive with Johnson, who had an excellent night of 11 carries for 84 yards, carrying three times and also snaring a 39-yard pass. Kiertzner plunged over from the 1 for the Vermillion TD to make it 17-6, which was the halftime score.

The Tanagers' offense came out of the locker room with a mission. When they reached the Cavalier 34, Freidel broke free for a 16-yard gain. Two plays later, Kiertzner's pass to a wide-open receiver was dropped, and the game turned around immediately. On the next play Sullivan intercepted Kiertzner and returned 41 yards. A 43-yard pass to Sullivan went the distance. 

What might have been  — the Tanagers potentially within 17-13 — became what really was — a 24-6 Cavalier lead. The VHS defense had a magnificent third quarter, and mighty STM rushed four times for a grand total of minus six yards.

On their subsequent possession the Tanagers continued to put forth a valiant effort. They overcame a holding penalty that set them back from the 10-yard line when Freidel went seven yards and Johnson the final 18 for a touchdown.?St. Thomas More, its lead trimmed to 24-12, killed 7:10 off the clock with a painstaking 14-play drive with Jacobson doing most of the legwork. He scored from the 19 with 2:47 left to complete the scoring.

Freidel had 86 yards on the ground, and Kiertzner carried for 31. Freidel was also on the receiving end of three Kiertzner aerials for 35 yards, and Johnson caught one for 40. Nick Mart with 10 solo tackles stood tall among the Tanager defensive standouts.

"Take nothing away from St. Thomas More," Culver said. "They have some great players, and they highlighted their skills in this game, but we are certainly a better team than the final score might indicate."

STM 10  7  7  7  —  31?

VHS 0 6  0  6  —  12??

First quarter:?

STM: Parker Sullivan 3-yd. pass from Jared Jacobson (Kevin Robb kick), 7:54.

STM: Robb 20-yd. field goal, 4:09.

Second quarter:

STM: Jacobson 16-yd. run (Robb kick), 8:06.?

VHS: Earl Kiertzner 1-yd. run (kick failed), 5:02.

Third quarter:

STM: Sullivan 43-yd. pass from Jacobson (Robb kick), 4:16.

Fourth quarter:

VHS: Bennett Johnson 17-yd. run (run failed), 9:57.

STM: Jacobson 18-yd. run (Robb kick), 2:47.

VHS STM

First downs 14 15

Rushes-yards 39-236 35-142

Passing yards 109 182

Total yards 345 324

Passes 8-17-1 10-17-0

Punts-avg. 2-19.5 1-25.0

Fumbles-lost  0-0 0-0

Penalties-yards  11-70  7-58

Individual rushing:  VHS, Kylen Freidel 14-86, Johnson 11-84, Kiertzner 6-31, Tanner Mart 4-21, Jordan Robinson 2-8, Preston Ellenbolt 2-7.  STM, Jacobson 19-105, Sullivan 7-35, Derek Determan 1-2, Tyler Richardson 8-0.

Individual passing:  VHS, Kiertzner 8-17-1-109.  STM, Jacobson 10-17-0-182.

Receiving:  VHS, Freidel 3-35, Johnson 1-40, Chris Mart 1-13, Tyler Husby 1-9, Ellenbolt 2-12.  STM, Conor Casey 5-111, Sullivan 4-59, Mike Reagan 1-12.

Individual defense:  Tackles (solo-asst-total):  VHS, Nick Mart 10-0-10, Chris Mart 5-0-5, Freidel 4-0-4, Johnson 4-0-4, Nick Anglin 4-0-4, Marquis Knight 2-1-3, Husby 2-0-2, Dexter Mehlhaf 1-1-2, Brenden Raizola 2-0-2, D'Andre Fore 1-0-1, Chase Allen 2-0-2, Ellenbolt 1-0-1, Tanner Mart 1-0-1, Scott Iverson 1-0-1, Brian Hansen 1-0-1.

Tackles for loss:  Chris Mart 1, Knight 1.

Pass knockdowns:  Freidel 2.

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