The Vermillion football team made the road trip to Belle Fourche last Friday for their first game of the 2019 season. The Tanagers won in overtime 42-41.

“This entire year, our team motto has always been ‘believe,’” said junior Noah Gilbertson. “Being down at half 14-35, we all talked about how we needed to believe in each other to come back. I think it was just an amazing team effort how we believed in each other to come back and win the game.”

Vermillion was down 8-13 after the first quarter.

The Tanagers pulled ahead 14-13 early in the second quarter, but Belle Fourche put a stomp on the Tanagers’ offense to regain the lead.

Vermillion was down at the half 14-35 after Belle Fourche scored three touchdowns in the last 2 minutes, 21 seconds of the second quarter.

“They played hard and kept believing that they could come back and finish this game,” said head coach Andy Homan. “They could have easily given up, but they went to work and fought until the end.”

The Tanagers worked to chip away at the deficit in the third quarter.

One touchdown later, Vermillion was behind 14 going into the fourth quarter. The Tanagers edged back into the game, tying it with 4:12 left on the clock.

The score remained 35-35, forcing overtime. Belle Fourche was the first to score, but did not get the extra point.

Vermillion was down 35-41 going into the final minutes. The Tanagers scored, and junior Noah Gilbertson kicked the game-winning extra point to win 42-41.

“As I was lining up to kick, all I was thinking about is how crazy it would be if I made this, but I also was trying to keep myself calm so I wouldn’t whiff the kick,” said Gilbertson. “As soon as the ball went passed the field goal, all I thought was, ‘Did I make it?’ I then turned to our bench who was rushing the field out of excitement and knew that I kicked the game winning extra point.”

Gilbertson was 4-of-4 in PATs.

Sophomore quarterback Charlie Ward had 26 completions, three being touchdowns, two to sophomore Reece Proefrock and one to sophomore Jack Kratz.

Ward also ran for one touchdown. Senior Brock Voss and junior John LaCognata also rushed for one touchdown each.

Senior Kobe Culver led the team in tackles with seven. He had four solo and three assisted.

The Tanagers enjoyed their win on the long bus ride home and hope to carry their momentum into this Friday’s home game.

“Last Friday was a great challenge for us that helped us grow as a team,” said coach Homan. “We know we can do better and that drive will help us going into Friday night.”

Vermillion will play this Friday in the DakotaDome against Tea Area at 7 p.m. They will also play at home next Friday at 7 p.m. against Tri-Valley.

Belle Fourche (0-1) – 13 22 0 6 – 41

Vermillion (1-0) – 8 6 7 14 7 – 42

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