The Vermillion Tanagers’ football team traveled to Lennox Friday, Sept. 24 and improved its season record to 3-2, thanks to a strong offensive push in the first quarter that left the Tanagers with a lead that they would never relinquish.
After outscoring the Orioles 14-7 in the first quarter, the Tanagers sealed its victory with another touchdown in the fourth quarter while keeping Lennox out of the endzone for all but the first quarter. Final score was Vermillion 21 Lennox 7.
“On our opening drive, we went 90 yards in 14 plays capped off by Jack Kratz on a 25-yard run for a touchdown,” coach Tom O’Boyle said. “Our defense did a great job – they did a 3-and-out and forced a punt and the very next possession, we hit Zoan Robinson for a 38-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0.”
The Tanagers and Orioles fought an evenly matched battled on the field during the second and third quarters.
“It was a pretty good, back-and-forth football game for the second and third quarters,” the coach said, “and then we were able to put together a 16-play, 90-yard drive that capped the scoring making it 21-7 with Ty Hertz running the ball in from the quarterback position from 12 yards out.
“What a super job the defense did all night making big plays and getting the offense the ball back,” coach O’Boyle said, “and what a tremendous performance the offensive line did.”
The coach noted that the Tanagers were able to run the ball 52 times for 351 yards that night.
“That’s quite a performance,” he said.
Last Friday’s win was a total team victory, coach O’Boyle said.
“You know, we’re kind of tired of being everybody’s homecoming date,” he said, laughing, “and once again we had the opportunity to blow a homecoming up and we did. We beat a very, very good football team in Lennox. That’s a football team that’s going to win several more games in its season and we feel like we’ve grown up a little in the process and we’re extremely happy with where we are right now, sitting at 3-2.”
Vermillion travels Friday to be the visiting team in Dell Rapids, a team the coach describes as a very tough opponent.
“Getting through a game like Lennox should help us play the tougher opponents as well, like Dell Rapids,” coach O’Boyle said.
With five games under their belt, the Tanagers are learning how to play like a team.
“I believe we’ve grown up in respect to where you’ve got to play a total football game,” coach O’Boyle said. “A total football game means you’ve got to be good offensively, defensively and with special teams and you have to play four quarters.
“We were able to do that Friday night,” he said. “We were able to substitute people in and we had a couple injuries where we had to put the next man in and there wasn’t a drop off. We did well in respect to playing some people, moving some people around.”
The Tanagers have learned from their losses this season, Coach O’Boyle said, “but it’s a lot more fun to learn a lesson when you win, that’s for sure. Part of the process is finding your identity. What do you do well? Who are you? I think we came a long way Friday night understanding the strength that we have.”
That strength lies in both the offensive and defensive lines, and the linebackers when Vermillion is playing defense, he said.
“Those people all played and supported one another,” coach O’Boyle said, “and, again, it’s a proud day to be a Tanager and we feel pretty good about being 3-2. We wish we were 5-0, but we feel like we are going to be in the conversation for a team that you don’t want to play down the road.”