Tanagers face Dell Rapids in homecoming encounter


After a bye week off to savor an exhilarating overtime win at Canton on Sept. 18, Vermillion's gridders look forward to two straight home games in the DakotaDome, starting with Friday night's 7 p.m. homecoming encounter with defending state champion Dell Rapids.

The Tanagers stand 2-2 after wins over Lennox and Canton and losses to South Sioux City and St. Thomas More, and they are third in the regional power-points standings. Dakota Valley currently ranks first with Harrisburg second. The top two teams are assured home games in the first round of the playoffs Oct. 27.

Dell Rapids comes to town with a 3-1 record, the only blemish being a forgivable one – a 27-0 loss to the unbeaten top-ranked Class 11B team, Tri-Valley. Dells has wins over Canton, Madison and Lennox.

"This will be a great challenge for our team, but we will have extra motivation with homecoming," Coach Gary Culver said. "We just have to continue to improve and focus on a very good Dell Rapids team."

The game at Canton two weeks ago appeared to be a certain defeat as the C-Hawks drove the field and chewed the clock in the closing minutes of a 7-7 deadlock. They reached a first-and-goal situation at the 1-yard line with a minute to play, but the VHS defense stood tall and denied two punches at the goalline. On a third play Kylen Freidel recovered a fumble to save the game.

In overtime Canton scored a touchdown but missed its extra point. Freidel, who gained 148 yards in 17 carries, plunged over from the 2 for the tying TD for Vermillion, and Jordan Robinson's extra-point kick won it, 14-13.

Bennett Johnson, who had scored the Tanagers' earlier touchdown from the 3-yard line, gained 26 yards. Earl Kiertzner passed for 41 yards. Chris Mart had 10 tackles, Nick mart eight, and Tyler Husby and Tanner Mart six apiece.

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