Fourth quarter comeback keeps Perham undefeated
PERHAM -- With five minutes to go in the game, Payton Jordahl forced a fumble recovered by Eli Beachy at midfield and the Perham offense scored two late touchdowns to erase a nine-point deficit and give the No. 6-3A ranked Yellowjackets an exciting 28-22 victory over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Hall of Fame Night.
The win keeps Perham's record perfect at 3-0.
A tally in the loss column seemed imminent after Jordahl coughed up the ball inside the red zone with 10 minutes remaining giving the Rebels a chance to run out the clock or push the lead to a three-score game.
The Rebels reached their own 47-yard line before Jordahl forced the fumble from Taylor Beyer that ended up in Beachy's hands.
Down 22-13, Jordahl and Jordan Hein traded rushes for five attempts to the Rebel eight-yard line.
Hein dropped back to pass and found Eric Brauch for the touchdown. Nick Bahls' extra point kick was good cutting the lead to a deuce, 22-20, with less than four minutes to play.
Perham's drive took up only 1:45 on the clock.
The Rebels got the ball with 3:49 to go but could only use up 90 seconds giving Perham 2:22 to get into field goal position, at least, for the victory.
On second and 10, Hein found Brauch again, wide open, for a 62-yard bomb for a frenzied finish and a 28-22 lead, after Hein passed to Josh Nordick for two points.
"The will to win is traditional in Perham in all sports and academics," Head Coach Mike Jordahl said. "Our guys have had success in so many aspects of life, they know how to persevere to get what they want."
"(We're) keeping the goal of being undefeated, doing whatever it takes," Brauch said. "We're family out there."
In three games, Perham has proven they can step up on both sides of the ball in key moments to gain a victory.
As the season progresses, games will get more strenuous, teams will be tougher, the weather will be a far cry from Friday night's balmy September evening. Sooner, rather than later, Perham is going to need to play a full game to get a win.
"We started very strong, scoring on our first two drives and playing solid defense in our first two series, as well," Coach Jordahl said. "In addition, we finished very strong and with confidence in each other. A very large portion in the middle of the game is where we need to funnel our focus this week in practice. We now need to play four complete quarters."
Perham jumped out to a 13-0 lead.
Hein rushed 25 yards on fourth and five to cap the opening drive of the game putting the Yellowjackets up 6-0.
A three-and-out by the defense gave the ball back to Hein and he scored from 10 yards out to put Perham up 13-0 seemingly in control midway through the first quarter.
D-G-F came into the game having defeated Perham the past two seasons and continued up the field in a double-slot rushing attack, at times using a near rugby huddle attack at the center of the Perham defense.
Chad Johnson rushed eight yards to the end zone early in the second quarter to cut the Perham lead to 13-7.
Both teams turned the ball over on successive drives. Perham was knocking on the door before the Rebels' defense changed game momentum.
D-G-F's Dylan Berggern intercepted Hein inside the 10 and returned the ball 41 yards to midfield in what would turn out to be a 14-point swing at the culmination of the ensuing drive.
Derek Johnk capped an 11-play 50-yard drive with a two-yard rush to score and quarterback Zack Nelson's two-point rush gave D-G-F its first lead 14-13 one minute before the halftime buzzer.
Chad Johnson scored from five yards out in the final minute of the third quarter to send the game to the final frame with the score 22-13.
Hein led all rushers with 158 yards and two scores. Hein has topped the century mark in all three games this season.
Hein was 5-12 passing with two touchdowns and one interception.
Beyer rushed for 100 yards to lead the Rebels.
Nelson completed only two passes in eight attempts for 30 yards. The inability to throw and sticking with the double-slot running formation hampered the Rebels' chances to mount a game-winning drive in the final minute.
Brauch caught three passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns in a breakout game for the senior wide out.
The win is the first Heart O' Lakes-North conference victory for the Yellowjackets. They sit at 1-0 in the standings behind East Grand Forks and Detroit Lakes, both at 2-0.
Perham hits the road next Friday to face Crookston (1-1, 2-1). The Pirates will present a big test for the Perham defense.
According to Derek Martin, of the Crookston Times, Pirate senior fullback Josh Edlund threatened the Minnesota state football record for most rushing touchdowns in a game, becoming the sixth ever to record seven rushing touchdowns, in a 53-46 shootout victory over Park Rapids.
In other HOL-North action, East Grand Forks remained perfect, defeating Pequot Lakes 34-13.
No. 7-4A Detroit Lakes defeated Thief River Falls on the road 24-6.
No. 7-2A Hawley (2-0, 3-0) and Roseau (2-0, 2-1) sit atop the HOL-Classic. No. 9-2A Warroad is 1-0 in the conference and 2-1 overall.
Warroad defeated Staples-Motley 27-18 in Staples.
Roseau beat Breckenridge 30-7 in Breckenridge.
Hawley escaped Pelican Rapids 20-14 at home.