PHS Football: Jackets shutout Vikings in opener
By John George
For all of their amazing success the past two seasons, the Heart O' Lakes Conference titles and State Tournament appearances, there's one thing the Jacket gridders haven't done...win their season openers.
They reversed that trend Friday night as they opened the 2009 season with an impressive 32-0 win at Pelican Rapids thanks to an opportunistic defense and a quick-strike offense.
Perham's defense set the tone on the second play of the game, forcing and recovering a fumble at the Pelican Rapids 36 yard line. Three plays later, sophomore full back Harvey McMahon, who had recovered the fumble earlier, rumbled in from seven yards out to give the Jackets an early lead.
The Vikings next possession ended on another turnover, this time an interception by Cody Soderstrom, just three plays into the drive.
Two minutes later, quarterback Ben Bucholz connected with Soderstom on a 38-yard scoring strike. A two-point run by Charlie Schmitz made it 14-0 just five minutes into the game.
"Our coaches have been preaching all fall to get the ball back to our offense," Soderstrom said. "We've really been practicing attacking the ball on defense. Get turnovers. Get the ball back to the offense. Tonight we were able to do that early and scored a couple of touchdowns right away."
The same scenario was repeated the next time Pelican Rapids had the ball. This time, Ben Waldon picked up the interception, but the offense wasn't able to capitalize.
The Vikings finally got a drive going deep into Perham territory early in the second quarter, but the Jacket defense stiffened, and stopped Pelican Rapids on a fourth and one play at the 16 yard line.
That's when the Yellowjacket quick-strike offense struck again. Bucholz unleached a bomb down the sideline right into the arms of Soderstrom, who finished off the 73-yard touchdown without getting touched.
"We had kinda set them up earlier and we knew that I could make a break at the line," Soderstrom said of his second scoring catch. "The corners were playing up and Ben made a good read. Then it helps that he (Bucholz) has a monster of an arm and got it out there to me. The sun was in my eyes a little, but once I made the catch, I knew I could go all the way."
Bucholz added a third TD pass in the first half, a 24-yard strike to Waldon, and Perham had a 26-0 halftime lead.
The second half was all about the Jacket defense. They forced two more fumbles and allowed just 100 total yard after halftime. Charlie Schmitz, who finished with 10 tackles from his linebacker, put in Perham's final touchdown with a 10-yard run in the third quarter.
Head coach Howie Kangas said after the game that this team accomplished a lot with this season opening win, but they need to make sure they get better.
"We need to make sure we improve as individuals each week," Kangas said to his team after the game. "We have a chance to be an excellent team. But we're not there yet."
It's the fourth-straight season the Perham defense has posted a shutout. They blanked Warroad last season, 33-0, D-G-F, 28-0, in 2007, and Agassiz Valley 6-0 in 2006.
The Jackets will be on the road again this week as they make a trip to Thief River Falls. Perham and TRF have met in the last four Section 8AAA championship games, but this will be the first regular season meeting between the two teams with the Prowlers joining the Heart O' Lakes Conference North Division this fall. TRF opened their season with a 19-3 win over Crookston last week.
Perham's home opener at Meinhover Field will be Sept. 18 against Crookston.
Friday, September 4
Perham 32, Pelican Rapids 00
Home 0- 0- 0- 0-- 0
Per--Harvey McMahon 7 run (pass failed) 10:50
Per--Cody Soderstrom 38 pass from Ben Bucholz (Charlie Schmitz run) 7:00
Per--Soderstrom 73 pass from Bucholz (kick blocked) 6:18
Per--Ben Waldon 24 pass from Bucholz (run failed) :28
Per--Schmitz 10 run (pass failed) 8:05
1st Downs 20 10
Rush--yds 44-233 39-131
Pass yds 212 68
Return yds 15 90
Comp--Att-In 8-16-0 6-11-2
Sacks-yds 1-5 1-5
3rd Down 6-13 5-12
4th Down 3-5 0-1
Punts-ave 2-38.5 3-27.7
Fbles-lost 2-0 5-3
Pen-yds 3-30 1-15
Possession 23:53 24:07
Rushing--McMahon 12-64-1; Schmitz 3-40-1; Chris Scheidecker 3-38; Ethan Honer 2-34; Bucholz 8-32; Matt Dreyer 2-11; Gabe Pankonin 6-5; Mike Wiskow 3-4; Ty Haverland 1-3; Tim Hermann 1-2.
Passing--Bucholz 7-13-0, 197 yds., 3 TD; Pankonin 1-3-0, 15 yds.
Receiving--Waldon 3-41-1; Soderstrom 2-111-2; Schmitz 2-45; Sam Babler 1-15.
Defense--McMahon 11 tkl, FR; Schmitz 10 tkl; Dreyer 6 tkl; Andrew Muer 6 tkl; Waldon tkl, Int; Soderstrom tkl, Int.
HOL North Conf. All
Thief River Falls 1-0 1-0
Perham 0-0 1-0
Park Rapids 0-0 1-0
Roseau 0-0 0-1
Pequot Lakes 0-0 0-1
East Grand Forks 0-0 0-1
Crookston 0-1 0-1
HOL Classic Conf. All
D-G-F 0-0 1-0
Warroad 0-0 1-0
Staples-Motley 0-0 1-0
West Central Area 0-0 1-0
Breckenridge 0-0 0-1
Pelican Rapids 0-0 0-1
Wadena-Deer Creek 0-0 0-1