Perham falls in 3A state football quarterfinals
ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Close down on open space and get to the ball.
The real defensive strategy might have been a bit more complicated. But that was the message Perham football coach Mike Jordahl gave to his defense.
It worked until the third quarter, when running back Marshall Klitzke had a game-breaking 51-yard run, setting up a touchdown and an eventual Providence Academy 28-19 win over Perham on Saturday in the opening round of the Minnesota Class 3A state football tournament at Husky Stadium at St. Cloud State University.
"No disrespect to them, but I think we were the better team," Jordahl said. "I think we gave them the turnovers to score. I think if we hang onto the football, it might have been different."
Perham (8-4) certainly had the turnovers. The two interceptions and a lost fumble are proof.
Yet the game really turned with about five minutes left in the third.
The Lions (10-2) took over on their 20-yard line and two plays into the drive is when Klitzke broke three tackles to get out into open space and break off the 52-yard run.
Three plays later, quarterback Jackson Canfield scored for a 28-19 lead following the extra point.
"Klitzke is a heck of a player," said Yellowjackets junior quarterback/defensive back Jordan Hein. "He's not a very big guy, but he runs hard and is a heck of a player."
Feeding Klitzke has more or less been the Lions game plan this season.
He only had one game this year where he didn't rush for more than 100 yards, and that came in a blowout.
Klitzke had arguably the game of the section playoffs a few weeks ago, rushing for 378 yards and five touchdowns.
The 5-foot-9, 200-pound running back wasn't as good against Perham, but he did rush for 198 yards and three touchdowns.
Klitzke's three touchdowns all came in the second quarter. It helped erase a 6-0 Perham lead with Providence Academy going up 21-6 on three unanswered scores.
Perham struck back with touchdowns from Hein and Pankonin in the second and third quarters.
But that's when Klitzke broke off the big run, which was the difference maker.
It might not have been the nice ending, but this was a turnaround season for the Yellowjackets, who went a dismal 2-7 last year.
"The turnaround from last year to this year was incredible," Jordahl said. "It's been so much fun to hang with these to hang with these guys every day at practice and the last four months sure went by fast."
Season notes: Jordan Hein set a Perham season record with 19 rushing touchdowns in a season breaking the old record of 18 touchdowns set by Charlie Nelson in 1989.
Jordan Hein set a Perham season record with 2,778 yards of total offense
(1,398 yards rushing and 1,380 yards passing). The old record was 2,618
yards by Ben Bucholz in 2009.
Jesse Hein is the career leader in PAT kicks made with 43 kicks made.
The old record was 40 kicks made by Chris Ceynowa 1987-88.
PA 0 21 7 0-28
P 6 6 7 0-19
P - Hein 29 run (kick failed)
PA - Klitzke 1 run (Mostrom kick)
PA - Klitzke 5 run (Mostrom kick)
PA - Klitzke 4 run (Mostrom kick)
P - Hein 2 run (run fails)
P - Pankonin 30 run (Je. Hein kick)
PA - Canfield 1 run (Mostrom kick)
RUSHING: PA, Klitzke 30-198, Dart 2-13, Canfield 14-101, Leidall 2-8. P, Still 8-45, Hein 19-96, Wiskow 2-7, Pankonin 8-40, Haverland 2-5.
PASSING: PA, Canfield 8-15-0 144 yards. P, Hein 9-18 84 yards
RECEIVING: PA, Leidall 3-33, Richelsen 1-8, Klitzke 2-27, Schmitz 2-76. P, Wiskow 1-(1), Hutmacher 1-4, Pankonin 2-43, Nordick 2-19, Shipman 2-10, Mulcahy 1-9
Bob Williams contributed to this story. Game and season statistics courtesy of Ron Berns.