Perham wins thriller 12-6
The fat lady was warming up her voice late in the fourth quarter as Park Rapids held on to a tenuous 6-0 lead with under two minutes on the clock.
Perham had trouble all night moving the ball against a stingy Panther defense and had to fight through nine penalties.
"We ended up with a couple breaks and had to overcome some adversity," Head Coach Mike Jordahl said. "We've talked all season long about game experience."
The Yellowjackets got plenty of that late in the fourth quarter on Friday night.
Facing fourth down and ten, the Panthers lined up to punt Perham deep into their own half of the field, but the snap would sail over the punter's head. In the scramble for the ball, Perham's Mike Wiskow recovered on the Park Rapids 34-yard line.
Wiskow is proving to be a playmaker early in the season. He returned a kickoff for the only score in Perham's opener, along with making the game-changing recovery Friday night.
"Mike is a wonderful person and has a polite way of being a "coach" on the field. The other guys like and respect him as a positive role model. Mike is gifted athletically and is also a smart young man. He understands the game and plays hard. Friday night, in addition to carrying the ball and recovering a long snap, Mike also was a solid performer at his defensive end position. The best thing about Mike is that we get to coach him again next, being only a junior."
Jordahl is quick to stick to the team concept linking individuals, even standouts, as part of the whole.
"We emphasize that we don't have any superstars. We are ordinary people trying to do extraordinary things as one unit on the field and off."
Perham would traverse the 34 yards to the end zone in three plays taking up only 37 seconds on the clock. Gabe Pankonin rushed for nine yards, and then hit Jordan Hein for 22 yards down to the Park Rapids three-yard line. A time out and a Pankonin plunge up the middle tied the game at six.
Jesse Hein trotted on the field to attempt the point after but his kick was blocked leaving the score knotted at six with 1:11 remaining on the clock.
The Yellowjacket defense had come up big all game and in the final drive of regulation play the Panthers were sent backwards.
"Our goal is to get the defense off the field. We didn't' do that as much as we'd like to, but we bent and didn't break. They did a nice job for us."
The Yellowjackets won the toss for overtime and elected to send the defense out first.
"That was a lot of fun. We got into a huddle before 'OT' started, I said 'we want to put our defense out there.'"
Jordahl was confident the defense would stop Park Rapids and the offense would put the ball in.
"I could see it in their eyes; they were ready for it," he said of his players.
The Park Rapids attempt from the ten-yard line would stall at the seven after three plays and rather than kick a field goal, they elected to attempt to pass for the score.
Defensive back Desmine Duffy raced through the line and batted Ian Johnson's attempt. The deflected ball bounced into the hands of Ty Haverland at the 12-yard line ending Park Rapids' scoring threat.
Coach Jordahl took the most direct route between the backfield and the end zone-a straight line. Jordan Hein pounded the ball up the middle for seven and two yards leading to third and goal from the one.
Gabe Pankonin would plunge into a pile of players and come out victorious on the sneak.
Like the scoreboard, game statistics were similar for both teams. Park Rapids held a small edge in total yards 204 to Perham's 177, and almost doubled up on first downs 15-8. But the differences stuck out in turnovers. The Panthers put the ball on the ground six times losing fumbles twice and Ian Johnson threw the only interception of the game.
The Yellowjackets did not turn the ball over.
Next up for Perham is Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at home this Friday night. DGF is undefeated after wins of 17-0 and 28-7 over East Grand Forks and West Central Area respectively.