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Quarterback Gabe Pankonin looks to use a block from lineman Gene Schleeter, #69, in the first quarter of the football opener at Pelican Rapids.

Pelican Rapids shuts down Yellowjackets in opener

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The Vikings' defense made a statement at home against the Yellowjackets, shutting down the Perham offense to the tune of under 100 total yards for the game in a 31-7 win to start the football season.

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"We certainly were exposed," Head Coach Mike Jordahl said.

The Yellowjackets were held to 80 yards of total offense, 56 on the ground and 24 on three passing completions.

Conversely, the Vikings put up 351 total yards, with a whopping 280 on the ground.

Perham fumbled the ball four times only losing the pigskin once. Perham nabbed a fumble from Pelican Rapids and had two interceptions on defense but were unable to turn the turnovers into points.

The lone Perham score came on a 90-yard kickoff return by Mike Wiskow. Wiskow sprinted up the right sideline avoiding tacklers to kill any Viking ideas of a shutout. Jesus Guajardo kicked the extra point.

"We gained some experience...and our special teams played well with Wiskow and his return along with all the other guys out there."

Typically in football, winning the battles on special teams and turnovers leads to wins, but the Viking defense made defensive stand after stand not allowing Perham to move the ball.

The Yellowjackets were held to only five first downs.

The only Perham turnover killed a sustained second quarter drive. Down 21-0, it was the part of the game to make a statement, put points up and get back in the contest.

The Yellowjacket offense looked like it was on the move to do just that.

Gabe Pankonin, at quarterback, led the offense from his own 28 over midfield. A Wiskow 16-yard run gave Perham a first down on the Pelican 21.

The red zone was the nose of the football away when a bad snap from center would elude Pankonin and end up in the hands of Viking defensive lineman Joey Pederson.

Pelican ran out the first half clock and took the three-score lead into the locker room.

The second half saw much of the same with Pelican Rapids building their lead to 31-0, including a Chris Molina 30-yard field goal and a Casey Bruggeman eight yard touchdown run, before Wiskow took the Molina kickoff to the house.

Pankonin looks to have the job at quarterback. He played the first two drives before giving way to Jordan Hein for the following two drives. Hein would play in the slot and spread out the remainder of the game while Pankonin took the snaps.

The Yellowjackets home opener is Friday night, September 10. The "senior/parent night" game will feature Heart O' Lakes rival Park Rapids on the opposing sideline. The Panthers lost at home 19-13 to Wadena-Deer Creek to open their season.

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Robert Williams
Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
(218) 346-5900 x223
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