Vermillion's last home game of the football season will pit the Tanagers against Harrisburg at 7 p.m. tonight (Friday) in a Senior Night contest at the DakotaDome.
The Tanagers (2-4) come off a 36-0 loss to Dakota Valley while the Tigers bring in a 3-3 record. Coached by USD alumnus Brandon White, Harrisburg won its first three games – 49-0 over Madison, 28-13 over Luverne and 63-13 over Lennox – but is on a three-game losing streak, having fallen to Huron 13-7, to West Central 36-15 and to Spearfish 22-20.
The Tanagers ran into a better team last Friday at North Sioux City, and it didn't take the Panthers, ranked first and third in Class 11A in the two polls last week, very long to prove it. They went 62 yards in three plays and led 7-0 after 57 seconds had elapsed. Landon Johnson, who had rambled 53 yards on the first play from scrimmage, justifiably got the touchdown from the 3-yard line.
By the end of the first quarter the Panthers had scored twice more to lead 21-0, and their defense had held the Tanagers to a net four yards in 11 rushes.
In the second period a snap over punter Will Mart's head went into the end zone, and Mart smartly kicked the ball out of bounds for a safety rather than risk another Dakota Valley touchdown. They did get a fourth TD near the end of the half and took a 30-0 lead to the dressing room.
The Tanagers still had been able to record no first downs and had 16 yards in 18 carries at that point.
Anthony Leber recovered a Panther fumble and gave Vermillion its best field position at its own 43 in the third quarter, but the offense went nowhere from there. Chayse Meierkort intercepted a pass and sent the ball on via a lateral to Tanner Anderson for Vermillion's first possession in Dakota Valley territory, but the first two plays from there resulted in negative yardage.
Dakota Valley scored its only TD of the second half in the first minute of the final quarter, and the clock ran nonstop from that point on.
Mart recovered a fumble with 1:45 left in the game, and Michael Sand's 14-yard gain shortly thereafter proved to be the Tanagers' biggest gain of the night as they ended with a total of 36 net yards, all on the ground, compared to the Panthers' 342 yards.
As if facing the state's top team wasn't enough of a challenge, the Tanagers had to do it with their season-long leading ground-gainer, D'Andre Fore, who, it had been discovered during the week, had sustained a concussion. Also on the injury list were starting lineman Riley Vlasman, who couldn't play at all, and Meierkort, who could play only on defense.
Alex Osborne with eight tackles, Leber with seven, Avery Garcia with six and Mart with five led the VHS defensive effort.
VHS ……….. 0 0 0 0 — 0
D. Valley .. 21 9 0 6 — 36
DV: Landon Johnson 3-yd. run (Collins Challup kick), 11:03.
DV: Tanner Lambert 33-yd. run (Challup kick), 6:42.
DV: Michael Rennerfeldt 3-yd. run (Challup kick), 0:19.
DV: Safety, 10:28.
DV: Andrew Reiff, 1-yd. pass from Brock Bergmann (Challup kick), 1:16.
DV: Johnson 2-yd. run (kick failed), 11:05.
First downs 1 14
Rushes-yds. 32-36 48-327
Passing yds. 0 15
Total yds. 36 342
Passes 0-1-0 4-10-1
Punts-avg. 7-28.3 1-48.0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 5-2
Penalties-yds. 2-20 2-15
Rushing: VHS, Mitch Brown 8-22, Michael Sand 20-20, Thomas Walker 2-1, Kyle Weiss 2-(-7). DV, Lambert 16-201, Johnson 9-60, Rennerfeldt 4-30, Bergmann 9-15, Challup 4-11, Ryan Lammers 3-8, Blake Perryman 1-8, Jace Graves 2-(-6).
Passing: VHS, Kyle Weiss 0-1-0. DV, Bergmann 4-10-15.
Receiving: DV, Reiff 3-13, Rennerfelt 1-2.
Defense: VHS (solo tackles-assists-total tackles), Alex Osborne 6-2-8, Anthony Leber 7-0-7, Avery Garcia 4-2-6, Will Mart 4-1-5, Tanner Anderson 3-1-4, Nick Jensen 4-0-4, Regan Bye 2-1-3, Thomas Walker 3-0-3, Dan Goeden 2-0-2, Stetson Kastengren 1-1-2, Chayse Meierkort 1-0-1, Brown 1-0-1, Brett Bye 1-0-1, Paul May 1-0-1, Tyler Madsen 1-0-1. Tackles for loss: Osborne 1, Leber 1, Jensen 2, Goeden 1. Fumbles recovered: Mart 1. Pass knockdowns: Jensen 1. Interceptions: Meierkort 1.