History as well as logic says that, to beat West Central in football, you have to play a near-perfect game, make no mistakes and still hope they don't play very well.
Unfortunately for Vermillion, none of those things happened Thursday as the Tanagers lost their regular-season finale, 55-0, to the Trojans. The game ended via the mercy rule after the first play of the fourth quarter, and the game had been played since halftime on a running-clock basis.
As Coach Gary Culver accurately put it, the game was a case of going from the penthouse to the outhouse – from a mistake-free team-wide excellent performance the previous week against Madison to just the opposite in this contest.
D'Andre Fore gained three yards on Vermillion's first play of the game, and Tyler Husby's pass to Ben Kozak covered 13 yards on the second play to gain a first down. But from that point on, things went downhill swiftly.
The Tanagers gave up a 33-yard return on an ensuing punt, and West Central scored on a short 46-yard field in five plays.
Less than two minutes later, a Tanager punt was blocked by the Trojans' Josh Auble. It took West Central two plays to go 11 yards to a score.
Vermillion fumbled on its second subsequent play, giving West Central a 33-yard field. They traversed this distance in only three plays.
After the fourth VHS punt, West Central again started a possession in Vermillion territory, moving 45 yards in five plays to a 28-0 lead in the final minute of the first period.
The Trojans had to work a bit harder for their fifth score, starting from their own 20 and going 80 yards in 10 plays.
A 17-yard keeper by Husby gave the Tanagers their second first down of the game on their next possession, but an interception at the Vermillion 35 ended that drive. West Central scored on its first play from that point.
The Tanagers' last possession of the half saw them gain a pair of first downs. An 11-yard keeper by Husby and a 26-yard pass to Michael Sand were the big plays on the drive, but it stalled at the West Central 37 when time expired in the half.
Receiving the second-half kickoff, West Central moved methodically 66 yards in nine plays to its seventh touchdown. A Tanager fumble on Vermillion's first play after that set up the Trojans for their final march, going 32 yards in nine plays to end the game.
Evidence of how completely West Central shut down the Vermillion offense is the yardage totals for the Tanagers – 41 yards through the air, and that was on only three plays, along with 52 yards on the ground in 20 carries. Quarterback Husby gained 26 yards in three rushes, but the Tanagers' one-two punch on the ground all season, Dexter Mehlhaf and D'Andre Fore, were contained by the Trojans to a combined 23 net yards in 16 carries.
Will Mart with seven tackles and Kozak with six led the VHS defensive effort. Tim Weber had a 204-yard night all by himself, scoring three times for the Trojans.
The Tanagers ended their regular season at 2-2 in the Big 8 Conference and 3-5 overall. It was the 13th consecutive West Central win over Vermillion on the gridiron.
Seniors who were honored on Senior Night along with their parents included Husby, Kozak, Mehlhaf, Joey Mueller, Brendon Fischer, Tony Henderson, Scott Iverson, Carson Sullivan, Jerod Ceretti, Andrew McCann, Jake Knutson, Blaine Hubert, Cody Olson and Alex Larson.
West Central … 28 14 7 6 — 55
Vermillion ……. 0 0 0 0 — 0
WC: Tim Weber 3-yd. run (Zach Ely kick), 7:22.
WC: Weber 6-yd. run (Ely kick), 5:44.
WC: Andrew Ideker 9-yd. run (Ely kick), 4:01.
WC: Tucker Smith 17-yd. run (Ely kick), 0:47.
WC: Danny Mullin 9-yd. pass from Ely (Ely kick), 6:23.
WC: Weber 65-yd. run (Ely kick), 4:14.
WC: Smith 1-yd. run (Ely kick), 6:05.
WC: Cole Tirrel 4-yd. run (no attempt), 11:51.
First downs 4 16
Rushes-yds. 20-52 41-374
Passing yds. 41 15
Total yds. 93 389
Passes 3-9-1 2-2-0
Punts-avg. 1-33.0 0-0.0
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-yds. 3-15 1-5
Rushing: VHS, Tyler Husby 3-26, Dexter Mehlhaf 11-23, D'Andre Fore 5-0, Michael Sand 1-3. WC, Weber 13-204, Smith 10-67, Ideker 7-31, Zach Hogan 1-29, Eric Krizan 5-28, Ely 1-7, Dalton Kuehl 1-04, Tirrel 3-4.
Passing: VHS, Husby 3-9-41. WC, Ely 2-2-15.
Receiving: VHS, Sand 1-25, Ben Kozak 1-13, Mehlhaf 1-3. WC, Dan Kapperman 1-6, Mullin 1-9.Defense (solos/assists/total tackles): VHS, Will Mart 7-0-7, Kozak 5-1-6, Mehlhaf 4-0-4, Husby 2-1-3, Joey Mueller 3-0-3, Sand 3-0-3, Scott Iverson 3-0-3, Jerod Ceretti 3-0-3, Andrew McCann 2-0-2, Jake Knutson 2-0-2, Blaine Hubert 2-0-2, Cody Olson 1-0-1, Tanner Anderson 1-0-1, Thomas Walker 1-0-1.