VCC downs Northland

by Tom Coombe

Their playoff hopes ended after two heartbreaking home defeats, but the Vermilion Ironmen bounced back and ended the season with two straight wins.<BR><BR>The community college football team relied on its defense and a few quick strikes through the air to beat Northland 19-12 in Thursday’s regular season finale at Ely School Stadium.<BR><BR>Vermilion, which downed Rainy River 33-12 the week before, finished 4-5.<BR><BR>Northland (1-8) was held to only one first down in the opening half and was held to just 54 rushing yards in the contest.<BR><BR>The Ironmen put together a 76-yard drive for the only score in the first half, and picked up a field goal, a safety and a 58-yard touchdown throw from Lenny Serfling to Irvin Bethea in the second.<BR><BR>But despite a two-to-one edge in total yards for the Ironmen, the outcome was in doubt until the end.<BR><BR>Northland trimmed the lead to 19-12 with 6:51 left on an 80-yard pass from Nick Ross to D.L. Skropshire.<BR><BR>The Pioneers got the ball back with 45 seconds left but turned it over on downs before they got to midfield.<BR><BR>A one-yard touchdown run by Keena Turner with 9:50 left in the second quarter was the only score of the first half.<BR><BR>Vermilion marched down the field on runs by Turner and Tyree Pinder, and a 40-yard pass from Serfling-to-Bethea was key to the drive.<BR><BR>The Ironmen had chances to break the game open in the second quarter, but they turned it over on downs once in Northland territory and came up empty later when Bob Karr missed a 22-yard field goal.<BR><BR>Vermilion also was stymied late in the half, when it failed on four cracks from the Northland one.<BR><BR>In the third quarter, a fumble recovery by Dudley Jeanville gave the Ironmen the ball, and VCC moved downfield thanks to a pass interference penalty. That set up a 26-yard field goal by Karr.<BR><BR>The teams then traded scores, and VCC added a safety to make it 19-6.<BR><BR>