Jackets nearly upset ranked Pequot Lakes
For the second game in a row, Desmine Duffy sprinted to the end zone for an early score and Perham grabbed momentum, but Duffy's 27-yard scamper would be the only Yellowjacket touchdown in a 14-7 homecoming loss to the #3 state 3A ranked Pequot Lakes Patriots.
"It was a big confidence booster and we just need to back it up with a few more trips to the end zone," said Head Coach Mike Jordahl.
The Yellowjackets had other opportunities to get in the end zone but were unable to finish drives and capitalize on turnovers.
Both teams battled defensively in the first half with Perham shutting down the high-flying Pequot offense until near halftime when Logan Lange answered Duffy's score with a 25-yard rush for six. The extra point was wide left and Perham held a one-point lead and the ball.
Both offenses went three and out until Mac Link intercepted a Nevin Greer pass on his own 28-yard line.
Jordan Hein would drive the Jacket offense down the field to the Patriots' nine-yard-line with time running out in the half but the clock would run to zeroes on third and goal disallowing Perham from putting the ball in the end zone.
Over the course of the game, the Yellowjackets were more and more in need of a big play to pull off a stunning upset.
"We are so close every play to making some big plays. With more and more plays under our helmets we're going to continue to be able to connect on those."
Defensively, the Yellowjackets played their best game of the year. Time after time the Patriots were shut down and their frustration, offensively, was noticeable from the sidelines.
"(We) really did put it out there and left it out on the field. It was a great effort. I think Pequot was probably on the bus on the way home thinking what just hit 'em."
Perham elected to receive the second half kick and Hein had the Jackets on the move nearing midfield but was sacked by Dane Walter, who caused a fumble recovered by the Patriots.
Lange would move Pequot Lakes down the field taking advantage of the turnover with six points on a Nevin Greer 1-yard run. Greer would hit Nolan Michaelson for the two-point conversion and a 14-7 lead.
Field position would slant against Perham the remainder of the game seeing drives start deep in home territory. The Jackets took the ball on their own 13, 8 and 6-yard lines making it a difficult task to even up the score.
The Perham defense continued to make big stops giving the offense a chance to put up points.
"We can bend a little bit, just don't break and that's exactly what we did."
The only second half drive with workable starting position came with 2:11 remaining in the game and Perham on their own 34. Hein would complete passes to Duffy and Andrew Waldon quickly moving into Pequot territory at the 34. A third and 10 completion for six yards to Mike Wiskow left a fourth and four. Hein would be stopped short of the first down allowing Pequot to run out the remaining minute-ten off the clock.
The defense was stellar in this game giving Perham a chance to win, when on paper, it appeared the Yellowjackets were set up to be blown out. The offense is close to clicking on all cylinders. The passing game was just off in a few crucial situations that could have made significant changes to the outcome of the game.
"We're understanding how important it is to run routes as hard as we can. Every route is important to run it crisp and hard and good things will happen. I truly believe we need to get more reps and throws in and continue to believe in each other."
Perham is improving at the right time of the season. They are poised to be a dangerous team come post-season play.
"We might be 1-4 but we are a much better team; there's no doubt about it."
The Yellowjackets travel to Thief River Falls Friday to take on the 4-1 Prowlers.
"Thief is going to bring it. We have a definite opportunity to put one under our belts up there."