Ironmen’s first win a wild one

MUDDY TERRAIN - The turf at Ely School Stadium was torn up by Vermilon and Fond du Lac players Saturday after several days of rain. Photo by Carly Evancevich.

by Tom Coombe -

It took nearly three-and-a-half hours on Saturday, but for the Vermilion Ironmen, it was worth the wait.
That’s because the community college football team left muddy Ely School Stadium on Saturday with its first win in six weeks - a wild 41-40 thriller with Fond du Lac.
The two MCAC Eastern Division teams combined for over 1,000 yards of total offense - nearly all of it through the air.
With the middle of the turf full of mud and muck after two days of rain, passing seemed to be the only option for both teams - and the result was a shootout that wasn’t decided until the closing minutes.
Vermilion (1-5) built an early lead, fell behind 18-15 by halftime and used a pair of long touchdown passes by quarterback Breon Jackson to build a 29-18 advantage in the third quarter.
The Ironmen hung on for dear life at the end, with Jackson passing VCC to a key fourth-quarter score and the Vermilion defense forcing the Thunder to turn the ball over on downs with a minute to go.
Both Jackson and FDL quarterback Armani Ceballos put up head-spinning numbers.
Jackson passed for 545 yards and five touchdowns, with Brandon Martin catching six balls for a whopping 234 yards, including a pair of scores.
Division I transfer Keylan Chapman had a diving catch that went for a 26-yard touchdown in the final quarter, and receiver Oscar Lopens added five receptions for 149 yards.
Vermilion went to the air early, in the middle and again at the end of a contest played in 40-degree weather and intermittent drizzle.
The Ironmen’s Rommel Reynolds had two interceptions, while Liotheson Pierre had a play that proved to be the difference, when he scooped up a blocked extra-point in the first quarter and ran it back all the way, putting Vermilon on the board with a two-point play.
The blocked extra point gave VCC momentum and led to a 15-6 Ironmen lead after one quarter.
Ceballos, who completed 22 passes for 422 yards, led the Thunder back in the second quarter as the visitors grabbed an 18-15 lead at the break.
Vermilion answered with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns and was up 29-24 after three quarters
In the fourth, Vermilion led 35-24 and 41-32, only to see FDL counter.
Trabian Suggs had an 80-yard fourth-quarter touchdown reception for the Thunder, who gave VCC several anxious moments in the final 15 minutes.
Jackson ran for 80 yards for Vermilion, which amassed 622 yards of total offense.
Pierre, Vernell Fletcher, Garrett Bonnelycke and Haden Leach were all in on five tackles for VCC.
Reynolds and DeShawn Griffin had interceptions.
Vermilion looks for its second straight win Saturday, on the road, against Mesabi. Game time is 1:30 p.m. at Mt. Iron.