Turnovers hand game to Patriots
Perham put the ball on the ground seven times; losing four fumbles and was victimized for the second time this season by a lofted prayer at halftime in a 25-14 defeat at Pequot Lakes.
"We certainly had our chances in this game," Head Coach Mike Jordahl said. "We will do a better job of hanging onto the football in the future to put ourselves in a better position to be successful."
In the waning moments of the first half only trailing by five points, 19-14, Patriots quarterback Jordan Redmond completed a 30-yard touchdown pass as time expired. The ball tipped off the fingers of Jordan Hein and into Peter Harrison's hands.
The touchdown was the final score of the game as halftime adjustments by both teams stymied opposing offensive efforts.
In the season opener at Perham, Pelican Rapids' quarterback Devin Schell hit Tucker Forsgren from 25 yards out at the halftime buzzer for six.
"Jordan Hein made a great effort, had the ball in his hands, and it slipped out--tough way to end the half," Jordahl said. "We just had one of those games where things didn't go our way. We will turn it around to a positive."
The game started positively for the Yellowjackets forcing a three-and-out and taking the ball on their own 25-yard line.
The first drive began with a negative rush for three yards by Jacob Still. Hein fumbled on the second play and it was recovered by Tyler Jorgenson at Perham's 19.
From that moment, the Patriots concentrated their offensive attack on avoiding Jesse Hein, who led the Yellowjackets with eight tackles, two for losses.
Nolan Michaelson rushed three yards on third and goal for the first of his three touchdowns on the game. Conner Leagjeld's kick was good and capitalizing on Perham's first turnover, the game was 7-0 early.
Perham answered with an 11-play, 78-yard drive capped off by a three-yard pass from Hein to Gabe Pankonin. Jesse Hein tied the game with the point after kick.
Michaelson returned Nick Bahls' kick to near midfield. Five plays later Michaelson scored from 31 yards out. Jacob Still blocked Leagjeld's kick leaving Perham down only six, 13-7.
The Yellowjackets moved into Pequot Lakes' territory but the drive ended on a Hein fumble recovered by Michaelson.
The Patriots capitalized on the turnover turning it into six more points when Michaelson scored again from the three capping a nine-play, 54 yard drive to up the lead to 19-7.
Both defenses stiffened for two drives before Perham took the ball with 3:13 remaining. Hein ran the drive from the shotgun gaining one first down to the 48-yard line. On second and six, Hein hit Mike Wiskow for a 48-yard touchdown pass and Jesse Hein made the kick cutting the lead to 19-14.
The Yellowjackets threatened late in the game driving into the Patriots' red zone but were stopped both instances on downs, the final time, at the three-yard line when Jordan Hein was stopped on fourth and one.
Perham led in almost all offensive statistical categories. Time of possession was 26:46 to 21:14. First downs were 18-11. Total yards were 339-313. But the key statistic was turnovers, four fumbles for Perham versus two interceptions for Pequot Lakes.
Pequot Lakes capitalized turning two giveaways into points. Wiskow's touchdown reception came in response to a Jordan Hein interception of Nevin Greer.
A Ty Haverland interception late in the third quarter turned into a Pankonin fumble recovered by the Patriots' Narveson in Pequot Lakes' territory.
Add in the Harrison Hail Mary reception for six points and divine luck was not on the side of the visitors.
The victory puts Pequot Lakes at the top of HOL-North standings at 3-1. Detroit Lakes, Thief River Falls and Perham all sit at 2-1, but with victories over DL and the Jackets, a match-up with the Prowlers on MEA Wednesday, the 19th, could keep the conference title in Pequot Lakes for the fourth consecutive year. Perham was the last team to win the conference outright in 2008.