Vermillion's football team will try to change the direction things are going for not one but two football teams in the DakotaDome Friday night � themselves and the Tea Area Titans.
The Tanagers, 0-2 after a 28-6 loss at South Sioux City last week, face Tea Area, an up-and-coming 2-0 ballclub which has defeated Bon Homme and Lennox so far.
Coach Gary Culver says the Titans have excellent skill people and speed, but their line is not as imposing as the size the Tanagers have faced in season-opening losses to West Central and South Sioux City. "They were the state 'A' track champions last spring, and many of those faces are on the football field this fall. It will be another great challenge for our kids in terms of their mental and physical preparation."
The game will be televised across three states by MidCo Sports Net, starting with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
South Sioux City went 63 yards in seven plays to score on its first possession last week, Austin Stack scoring from the 3-yard line. On their first three possessions the Tanagers had good field position near midfield, starting from their own 47, 47 and 45, but they had to punt the first two times and fumbled the ball away on the third possession.
Turnovers continued to halt any momentum the offense was trying to muster up. Meanwhile, the Cardinals scored twice in the second period. Sean Harral crossed over from the 10 with 9:38 left, and Derrick Geddings plunged across from the 2 at the 4:45 mark.
Following that score, Vermillion fumbled after an 11-yard gain by D'Andre Fore to reach midfield. Two plays later the Cardinals fumbled it right back, but on the very next play the Tanagers lost the ball yet again on a fumble. It was contagious, because South Sioux fumbled it away again on the subsequent play.
On its second possession of the second half, Vermillion appeared to have something going. Tanner Anderson intercepted a long Cardinal pass, giving the ball back to VHS at its own 35. Kyle Weiss' 43-yard pass play to Anderson got the Tanagers to the South Sioux 32, and a Cardinal penalty moved them five yards farther toward the goalline. They eventually reached the 15-yard line but lost the ball by fumble for the fourth time in the game.
Stark's 17-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth period made the score 28-0. Thomas Walker's 24-yard return got the Tanagers going toward their first score of the year.
A 23-yard gain by Fore was the big play on their own side of the field. Once they reached midfield, the Tanagers relied on Michael Sand, who gained three, 12 and seven yards on three consecutive plays. Later in the drive a personal foul on SSC helped the Tanagers to the 10-yard line from where Mitch Brown gained four, Fore five, and on fourth down and 1 1/2 yards to go, Fore scored, following Nick Jensen's block into the end zone.
It wasn't a case of the Cardinals putting in their scrubs either. Very much wishing to preserve a shutout, South Sioux put its monster linemen back into play, but the Tanagers got their TD anyway. Once they did, the Cardinals again used their first-string offense to try to answer, but the Tanager defense had other ideas. Leading by 28-6 with 20 seconds left, SSC called a time out rather than letting the clock expire in order to get its field-goal team onto the field. Justice was served, however, when the attempt was missed.
Fore led the Vermillion ground game, and his 98 yards in 23 carries were hard-earned yards. Brown had 22 yards and Sand 20. Weiss' two completions in two attempts earned 55 aerial yards. On defense Will Mart led the tackling with nine, followed by Chayse Meierkort and Anthony Leber with eight each, Brett Bye with seven, Tanner Anderson with six, and Avery Garcia with five.
"We're a work in progress," Culver said, "but give our kids credit. They put together a good drive for our first score. We're making strides, and we have to remember the season is a marathon, not a sprint. We just made life too easy for South Sioux City with our costly errors."
VHS …. 0 0 0 6 — 6
SSC … 7 14 0 7 — 28
SSC: Austin Stark 3-yd. run (Jorge Martinez kick), 9:14.
SSC: Sean Harral 9-yd. run (Martinez kick), 9:38.
SSC: Derrick Geddings 2-yd. run (Martinez kick), 4:45.
SSC: Stark 17-yd. run (Martinez kick), 11:53.
VHS: D'Andre Fore 1-yd. run (kick blocked), 3:45.
First downs 10 21
Rushes-yds. 40-142 51-311
Passing yds. 55 51
Total yds. 197 362
Passes 2-2-0 3-8-1
Punts-avg. 4-27.3 1-35.0
Fumbles-lost 4-4 3-2
Penalties-yds. 10-70 6-60
Rushing: VHS, Fore 23-98, Mitch Brown 4-22, Michael Sand 7-20, Tanner Anderson 1-1, Nathan Garrett 1-1, Kyle Weiss 4-0. SSC, Geddings 23-144, Stark 19-124, Harral 4-14, Karter Keefer 2-16, Scott Manley 2-10, Curtis Waldemars 1-3.
Passing: VHS, Kyle Weiss 2-2-55. SSC, Manley 3-7-51, Keefer 0-1-0.
Receiving: VHS, Anderson 1-43, Fore 1-12. SSC, Kaden Moore 2-42, Nate rogers 1-9.
Defense (solos-assists-total tackles):l VHS, Will Mart 3-6-9, Chayse Meierkort 6-2-8, Anthony Leber 4-4-8, Brett Bye 5-2-7, Anderson 3-3-6, Avery Garcia 1-4-5, Dan Goeden 0-4-4, Alex Osborne 2-2-4, Stetson Kastengren 1-3-4, Nick Jensen 2-2-4, Thoms Walker 1-2-3, Riley Vlasman 0-3-3, Fore 1-2-3, Garrett 1-1-2, Sand 1-1-2. Tackles for loss: Bye 1. Fumbles recovered: Goeden 1, Vlasman 1. Pass knockdowns, Meierkort 2, Anderson 1, Sand 1. Interceptions, Anderson 1.