Perham holds off upset-minded Vikings in home opener
PERHAM — Payton Jordahl took the ball on the final drive and single-handedly put away an upset-minded Pelican Rapids Vikings football team in a 36-27 opening night Yellowjacket victory Friday at Ted Meinhover Field.
Up 29-27 with less than three minutes to play, Jordahl rushed five consecutive times moving the ball from his own 43 to the goal line where quarterback Eli Beachy cashed in from a yard out to seal the win on a wild night of big plays.
“It’s always great to beat Pelican, obviously, but we’ve got to clean up a lot of things and get back to the drawing board,” said Beachy.
“One way we might look at it is we get all the mental faux pas out and hopefully get better and sharper,” Head Coach Mike Jordahl said. “Physically, I think we’re there.”
Perham struck early scoring in two plays on their first drive of the game. Josh Still hit CJ Mulcahy for 63 yards on a halfback pass down to the Pelican seven-yard line. Jordahl scored easily on the next play rushing for the first of his three touchdowns.
Pelican Rapids answered swiftly. Ryan Bruggeman took the Vikings’ first play around right end 65 yards to the house. A fake kick two-point conversion failed. Perham led 7-6 with 45 seconds expired on the game clock. The two opening touchdowns were 12 seconds apart.
Eli Beachy added to Perham’s lead capping a five-play 60-yard drive minutes later. Beachy found daylight around the right end and coasted 35 yards untouched for a touchdown. Nick Bahls’ kick was good for a 14-6 Perham lead midway through the first quarter. Bahls was a perfect 4-4 kicking point after tries in the game.
Bruggeman struck again with two minutes to play in the first quarter taking a Brandon Olson punt 57 yards for a touchdown. Pelican Rapids’ two-point attempt to tie was no good keeping Perham ahead 14-12.
Pelican Rapids took control of the second quarter and on the scoreboard. Pelican recovered a fumble at the Perham 40 and eight plays later Robert Mazariegos trotted in from 11 yards out to give the Vikings their only lead of the game, 19-14.
Perham stalled in the redzone and the Vikings drove 13 plays to the Perham 20 knocking on the door in the waning seconds of the half. Taking a lead into the halftime break would have been enough momentum for the shorthanded Vikings, as it was. Pelican Rapids was looking at going up a dozen points at the break.
Jordahl again stepped up to turn momentum back to the Perham sidelines.
With time expired, Blaine Gorton dropped back to pass and was sacked by Andrew Johnson, who caused a fumble. Jordahl picked it up and rumbled 73 yards for a miraculous score to give Perham the lead at halftime 22-19.
A wacky first half ushered in a more controlled and slower-paced second half of play.
“Our brand of football is the triple option,” Coach Jordahl said. “I thought we were moving the ball well.”
Jordahl rushed for his third touchdown from 25 yards out early in the third quarter to put Perham up 10 points 29-19 and the only score of the third quarter.
Pelican again inched back to within a deuce at 29-27 after a Gorton 11-yard touchdown run and Mazariegos good for the two-point conversion with 8:41 remaining in the game. Pelican got a defensive stop and had the ball near midfield with 6:11 to play but were unable to press deep into Jacket territory taking four minutes off the clock.
Jordahl did the rest eating up yards and time on the clock setting up Beachy’s one-yard game-clinching score and the 36-27 final.
Jordahl and Bruggeman battled all game. Jordahl rushed for 179 yards and scored three TDs, one on defense. Bruggeman rushed for 147 yards and scored twice, once on special teams. Beachy also cleared the century mark rushing 12 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
Perham’s offensive line was the star of the show creating a lot of holes and opening up plenty of room for both players to get over 100 yards on the ground.
“There were a lot of holes tonight,” Beachy said. “Our offensive lineman stepped up really well, just great blocking tonight.”
“They really did a nice job,” Jordahl said. “I’m very proud of them. They’re very experienced and they work well together and are smart kids.”
Beachy was also part of a greater subtext to the game in filling the enormous shoes left by one of, if not the best, Perham football players in school history Jordan Hein. Getting a first win under Beachy’s belt is a nice boost in confidence and should allow the senior to concentrate on his own strengths going forward.
“I was trying not to worry about that too much,” Beachy said. “I knew I had to fill a big role because Jordan Hein was a great player and did a lot of great things. I just tried not to think about it and tried to play my game.”
Perham outgained Pelican in total yards 418-333 and did so on only 41 offensive plays to 67 from the Vikings. Perham had eight penalties for 76 yards. Pelican garnered five flags for 30 yards. Neither team passed often. Beachy was 2-4 for 20 yards. Still was 1-1 for 63 yards on the opening play to Mulcahy. Gorton was 4-12 for 49 yards making most of his attempts when the clock dictated play. First downs were 21-15 in favor of Pelican Rapids. The Vikings were in the red zone four times scoring twice. Perham converted on two of three chances inside the 20.
Time of possession was a lopsided 30:58 for the Vikings, 17:02 for the Yellowjackets. Pelican Rapids was 6-13 converting on third down, but failed three times out of four on fourth down. Perham converted on third down two of three chances in the first quarter and were 0-2 the rest of the game. The Yellowjackets were 0-1 on fourth down.
Dan Ingebrand led Perham on defense with 10 tackles, five solo and one tackle for a loss. The Perham defense sacked Gorton four times. Andrew Johnson had two sacks, including causing the big turnover that Jordahl turned into six points. Jonathon Siira and Brekden Kovar each had a sack.
Jordahl’s 73-yard fumble return was the second-longest in school history to Jordan Hein’s memorable 92-yard game-winner at Detroit Lakes in 2011.
Work was completed on the new paint job of the water tower for opening night and provided a new and improved backdrop to the press box at Meinhover Field.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
PR 12 7 0 8 - 27
PER 14 8 7 7 - 36
1st 11:27 PER - Payton Jordahl 6 yd run (Nick Bahls kick) 2 plays, 69 yards, TOP 0:33, PEL 0 - PER 7
11:15 PEL - Ryan Bruggeman 65 yd run (Ryan Bruggeman) 1 play, 65 yards, TOP 0:12, PEL 6 - PER 7
6:00 PER - Eli Beachy 35 yd run (Nick Bahls kick) 5 plays, 60 yards, TOP 2:19, PEL 6 - PER 14
2:01 PEL - Ryan Bruggeman 57 yd punt return (Ryan Bruggeman rush failed) PEL 12 - PER 14
2nd 09:09 PEL - Rob Mazariegos 9 yd run (Hobet Diaz kick) 8 plays, 40 yards, TOP 3:47, PEL 19 - PER 14
00:00 PER - Payton Jordahl 73 yd fumble recovery (Payton Jordahl rush) PEL 19 - PER 22
3rd 03:56 PER - Payton Jordahl 25 yd run (Nick Bahls kick) 5 plays, 82 yards, TOP 2:09, PEL 19 - PER 29
4th 08:41 PEL - Blaine Gorton 11 yd run (Rob Mazariegos rush) 15 plays, 76 yards, TOP 7:15, PEL 27 - PER 29
1:02 PER - Eli Beachy 1 yd run (Nick Bahls kick) 7 plays, 58 yards, TOP 1:41, PEL 27 - PER 36