Tanager football team members receive awards

Three members of the Vermillion High School football team have earned All-State recognition from the South Dakota Football Coaches Association, and six Tanagers received all-conference honors from the Big 8 Conference.

Local players honored on the SDFBCA All-State team for Class 11A are three VHS seniors – Nick Mart as offensive guard, Kylen Freidel as defensive back and Jordan Robinson as punter.

The Big 8 Conference recognized Nick Mart, Kylen Freidel, Bennett Johnson and Tanner Mart on its all-conference first team and Chris Mart and Chase Allen on its honorable mention list.  All six men are seniors.

VHS head coach Gary Culver this week announced the winners of team awards among the 2009 Tanagers, headed by Nick Mart.  Considering that he was chosen as the team's outstanding offensive lineman as well as its outstanding linebacker and one of two team captains, it is no surprise that Mart also won the top recognition of all, that of most valuable player.

Kylen Freidel was named outstanding offensive back and outstanding receiver.  Chris Mart was honored as most improved player, Bennett Johnson as outstanding defensive back, Chase Allen and Will Mart as outstanding defensive linemen, Niko Cruz as outstanding specialty teams player and Earl Kiertzner as the other captain.

Thirty-five Tanagers lettered this fall, including a class of 14 seniors who will leave huge holes to be filled in all phases of the game.  Four of them—Nick Mart, Tanner Mart, Kylen Freidel and Jordan Robinson—lettered for the fourth year.

Lettering for the third season were seniors Chris Mart, Chase Allen, Gerrit Heine, Bennett Johnson, Tom amundson, Earl Kiertzner and Will Schaffer.  Nick Anglin earned his second letter, and Brian Hanson and Niko Cruz lettered for the first time.

Eleven juniors qualified for letters this fall, all of them for the second times in their high school careers.  Those lettermen are Tyler Husby, Scott Iverson, Andrew McCann, Dexter Mehlhaf, Marquis Knight, Carson Sullivan, Blaine Hubert, Alex Larson, Ben Kozak, Joey Mueller and Cody Olson.

Sophomore Will Mart earned his second Tanager letter.  Sophomores becoming lettermen for the first time each were Stetson Kastengren, Dan Goeden, D'Andre Fore, Brenden Raizola, Clint Hubert, Paul May, Riley Vlasman, Nathan Garrett and Todd Schaffer.

Season Statistics

The 2009 Tanagers, who defeated Lennox, Canton and Madison while losing to South Sioux City, St. Thomas More, Dell Rapids, Harrisburg, West Central and Dakota Valley, topped their opponents in two team statistical categories.  Despite returning punts two fewer times than their opposition, the Tanager return men gained 195 yards to the opponents' 121.  Vermillion also had 1,023 in punt yardage in 32 punts while opponents had 762 yards in 22 punts.

Vermillion almost held its own in yards gained on the ground.  Opponents rushed 382 times for 1,654, an average of 183.8 yards per game, while the Tanagers weren't far back at 1,551 yards in 327 rushing attempts, an average of 172.3 yards per game on the ground.

Opponents completed 45 of 84 passes for 671 yards, an average of 74.4 yards per game through the air, and VHS completed 33 of 73 attempts for 482 yards, or 53.5 yards per contest.

In total offense Vermillion ran 400 plays for 2,033 yards, or 225.9 per game, and the opponents ran 466 plays for 2,324 yards, or 258.2 yards per outing.

Opponents had 126 first downs to the Tanagers' 96 and lost 10 of 12 fumbles to Vermillion's five lost out of nine miscues.

There was a difference of only three yards in total penalty yards between VHS and the opponents.  Kickoff return yardage was 571 for the opponents off 29 returns and 433 for the Tanagers in 26 attempts.

Vermillion was outscored 174-139 but had 17 rushing touchdowns to the opponents' 18.  The other teams, however, scored seven passing TDs to the Tanagers' one.  Vermillion also scored eight extra-point kicks, three two-point conversions, three field goals, one safety and one touchdown on a punt return.

Starting quarterback Earl Kiertzner completed 45 percent of his 71 passes for an average of 15.1 yards per completion.  Kylen Freidel and Bennett Johnson were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in pass receiving yardage, Freidel with 224 yards in 13 catches and Johnson with 123 yards in 10 receptions.

In rushing Freidel was the runaway individual leader with 722 yards in 121 carries, averaging 6.0 yards per rush.  Tanner Mart gained 286 yards in 62 attempts, Jordan Robinson 211 yards in 38 tries, Bennett Johnson 180 yards in 42 carries and Kiertzner 78 yards in 37 attempts.

Robinson averaged 45.6 yards per kickoff, attempting 23 of them.  Will Mart averaged 44.7 yards per kickoff, attempting seven.  In kickoff returns Johnson ran back 12 for 225 yards, averaging 18.8 yards per return, and Freidel returned 10 for 135 yards, averaging 13.5.  Freidel was the top punt returner, bringing back 10 punts for 165 yards.

Freidel was the individual scoring leader with 64 points on 10 touchdowns and two two-point conversions.  Robinson accounted for 34 points on three TDs, 7 extra-point kicks and three field goals.

On the defensive side of the line of scrimmage, Nick Mart with 63 solos and 17 assists led the way in total tackles with 80.  Tyler Husby was next with 39 solos and 11 assists for 50.  Will Mart had a total of 44, Chris Mart 39, Tanner Mart 38, and Johnson 37.

Other individual statistics not already mentioned:
Passing:  Husby 1 of 2 for -1 yards.
Rushing:  Preston Ellenbolt 4-20, Mehlhaf 4-14, Husby 8-17, Kozak 8-25, Raizola 1-0, McCann 1-(-2).
Receiving:  Chris Mart 3-61, Ellenbolt 2-12, Robinson 1-33, Kozak 1-10, Husby 1-9, Olson 1-11, Mehlhaf 1-(-1).
Kickoff returns:  McCann 2-19, Chris Mart 1-16, Kozak 1-12, Robinson 1-17.
Punts:  Robinson 30-969, Will Mart 2-54.
Punt returns:  Johnson 5-27.
Fumble recoveries:  Chris Mart 3, Freidel 2, Will Mart 1, Kozak 1, Hubert 1, Mehlhaf 1, Vlasman 1.
Interception returns:  Freidel 2-27.
Scoring:  Tanner Mart 18, Johnson 14, Kiertzner 6, Alex Robertson 1, team 2.
Tackles (solos-assists-totals):  Allen 16-9-25, Freidel 19-6-25, Mehlhaf 16-7-23, Knight 200-3-23, Hansen 13-5-18, Robinson 11-3-14, Anglin 8-5-13, B. Hubert 7-5-12, Sullivan 7-4-11, Cruz 7-3-10, Ellenbolt 7-0-7, Raizola 4-3-7, Kozak 5-1-6, Olson 3-2-5, McCann 1-3-4, Iverson 1-2-3, C. Hubert 3-0-3, Mueller 2-1-3, Wilson 2-0-2, Amundson 1-0-1, Fore 1-0-1, Vlasman 0-1-1, Heine 1-0-1, W. Schaffer 0-1-1.

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