New QB sparks Ironmen

Freshman Walker throws 4 TD passes, VCC surges past Fond du Lac

by Tom Coombe -

What a difference a quarterback can make.
After sitting out the first two games, Ryan Walker was inserted into the Vermilion Ironmen’s lineup Saturday at Cloquet - and the freshman signal-caller fueled a 40-22 division win over Fond du Lac.
The freshman from Detroit torched the Thunder defense in the second half, when the Ironmen scored all of their points, and finished with 27 completions, 426 yards passing and four touchdown throws.
Vermilion was inconsistent on offense in two straight losses to start the season, but Walker, was named Eastern Division Offensive Player of the Week, spurred a dramatic turnaround.
Walker struggled at times in the first half, when VCC trailed 6-0, but the Ironmen went right to work after the break and never let up.
Vermilion showed quick strike capability, with Walker and Lewis Balom hooking up on a 55-yard completion to put the Ironmen on the board.
After the Thunder (1-2) regained the lead on Darion Griner’s second touchdown run of the day, it took VCC just one play to tie it up.
This time Walker and Matthew Tillman connected on a 62-yard screen pass that went for a score.
Vermilion’s defense forced three turnovers and had five quarterback sacks in the contest, and the Ironmen got the ball back quickly after the second touchdown and took the lead on Tillman’s four-yard plunge into the end zone.
That capped a short, three-play, 40-yard drive.
Vermilion marched 60 yards in 10 plays and took a 27-14 lead late in the third quarter when Walker found Tevin Suddeth on a 12-yard touchdown pass.
In the final quarter, Walker completed a 30-yard scoring strike to Denzell Adams and a Thunder turnover resulted in VCC getting the ball at the one, with Tillman promptly adding his third touchdown of the day - and second on the ground.
Walker spread the wealth, completing passes to nine different receivers.
Freshman Peter St. Fluer had seven catches, the longest for 30 yards, and wound up with 121 yards receiving.
Adams was the big-play threat with three receptions for 79 yards and Tillman had four catches for 79 yards.
Kory Cullum and Myron Riley both picked off passses for the Ironmen, while Leandro DeBrito and James Nicoll had five tackles each.
Mica Robinson had two quarterback sacks and both Nicoll and Ornandez Fils-Aime had a sack apiece.
Vermilion looks for its second straight division win Saturday when it hosts longtime rival Rochester at 1:30 p.m. at Ely School Stadium.
Members of the Ironmen’s 2006 team, which won the state title and was crowned national Division III champions, will be recognized prior to the game.