Park Rapids shuts out Perham for share of HOL title
PARK RAPIDS — The Park Rapids Panthers shut out the Perham Yellowjackets 7-0 to grab a share of the Heart O’ Lakes North Conference championship Wednesday.
Tyler McCollum hit Jon Burlingame from 19 yards out for the only score of the game with 6:55 remaining in the first half.
"It was a hard fought game on both sides," Park Rapids Head Coach Aaron Morris said. "Fortunately, we played well and caught some breaks and I give credit to our defense. They played well and we just made things happen. Our strength has been our defense all year."
Burlingame was a star on both sides of the ball picking off two Eli Beachy passes. His first gave Park Rapids first and goal at the four-yard line with four minutes gone in the third quarter.
Tyler Glines intercepted McCollum at the goal line on second down to deny the Panthers going up two scores. Glines matched Burlingame with two interceptions and leads the HOL with six picks this season.
Park Rapids drove the length of the field on a drive that began inside their own 10-yard line and stalled at the Perham seven with 5:03 to play in the game.
Perham drove to midfield converting a fourth and nine on a pass from Beachy to Nick Bahls. Perham failed to gain yardage on first down; Beachy was sacked on the next play by Nate Rak and Burlingame sealed the win for Park Rapids with his second interception of the game at the Park Rapids 22-yard line.
"Beating Perham is a huge thing," Burlingame said. "That's someone I always look forward to playing and if we can beat them that's the best. State is our goal. State and beyond."
As the score dictated, statistics were also close. Perham led in first downs 12-11. Park Rapids had 168 total yards to 153 for Perham. Perham was the benefactor of five Panther turnovers, two fumbles and three interceptions. The Jackets lost one fumble, along with Burlingame's two interceptions. Time of possession was in Perham's favor 28:50 to 19:10.
Both teams squandered opportunities to gain early momentum. The Panthers blocked a punt on Perham's first possession giving Park Rapids the ball at the Perham 26. Schmitz forced a Burlingame fumble three plays later that Colin Neitzke recovered for the Jackets. Park Rapids fumbled twice more in the first three drives, one on a punt return in which they retained the ball at their own 30 and on the very next play when Brekden Kovar forced Ben Baumgartner to give the ball up at the 42 which landed in Kovar's hands.
Payton Jordahl rushed 14 times for 47 yards to lead Perham. Burlingame rushed 14 times for 41 yards.
Perham reached the Park Rapids' red zone only once at the 19 yard line late in the third quarter. Park Rapids was 1-3 in red zone opportunities.
Schmitz continued his defensive prowess with 11 tackes, 10 solo and three for a loss. Dan Ingebrand had eight tackes, five solo and a sack. Neitzke recovered a fumble and broke up three McCollum passes.
McCollum, the HOL's leading passer was 8-20 for 103 yards. He was sacked twice and threw three interceptions, one to Brandon Olson and a pair to Glines.
Detroit Lakes shares the HOL title with Park Rapids after defeating Pequot Lakes 18-7. Both teams finished conference play with 5-1 records. Thief River Falls and Perham tied for second place with 4-2 marks.
Visit @perhamsports on Twitter for more photos from Wednesday's regular season finale.
PER 0 0 0 0 — 0
PR 0 7 0 0 — 7
PR-Burlingame 19 pass from McCollum (kick good)