Yellowjacket scoring barrage caps off Homecoming week
PERHAM -- The Yellowjackets put up double digits in each of the first three quarters cruising through the final quarter to a 46-31 Heart O' Lakes-North conference victory on Homecoming Friday.
The victory gives Perham (2-0, 2-2) sole possession of first place in the conference after Park Rapids (2-1, 2-2) upset Pequot Lakes (2-1, 3-1) 29-28 at home to send the ranked Patriots to 2-1 in HOL play.
Three touchdowns in the first quarter gave Perham a cushion of 21-7.
"It was a fun game to play for our homecoming," Head Coach Mike Jordahl said. "We were able to start out of the gates fast and put some points on the board."
Field position was in Perham's favor all game. Josh Still took the opening kickoff 55 yards to open Perham's drive at the Crookston 34.
Mike Wiskow ran around the left end 20 yards for the opening score on Perham's fourth play from scrimmage.
Josh Nordick ended the opening Pirate drive intercepting Ryan Bittner at the Perham 14-yard line.
Jordan Hein proved he can score from anywhere on the field sprinting 86 yards on the first play of the drive to open a 14-0 lead with the help of brother Jesse Hein's point-after kicks.
Jordan Hein, Wiskow, Gabe Pankonin and Jacob Still all found big holes made by the offensive line led by Jesse Hein.
The quartet combined for 318 of Perham's 333 yards on the ground. Jordan Hein led the way gaining 162 yards on 21 carries.
Eric Brauch rounded out Perham's first quarter scoring catching a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Hein.
Sophomore kicker Nick Bahls had an eventful first quarter kicking off twice and making the tackle on both kicks.
Bahls came in for the extra point attempt after Jesse Hein tweaked an ankle trying to make a tackle on Crookston's second scoring drive.
Hein walked off the field for a re-taping and was back in the game quickly.
Payton Jordahl led the defense with nine solo tackles and three assists.
"Defensively, we made some big plays that we were able to capitalize on."
Perham intercepted Crookston starting quarterback Ryan Bittner three times. Back-up Dylan Klatt threw an interception, as well.
According to statistician Ron Berns, the four interceptions by the Perham team ties a team record set on Oct 27, 2009 versus the Park Rapids Panthers.
"We still need to read first, then react quickly. We are improving in that area, but will continue to strengthen that part of the game. Our tackling could have been better and we intend to work on that during practice to become a complete defensive package."
Perham turned the ball over on one fumble on fourth down in Crookston's red zone.
Crookston cut Perham's first half leads to 14-7 and and 28-14, but the Yellowjacket offense just kept scoring.
Pankonin and Nordick hauled in passes from Hein to score in the second quarter as Perham headed to the break up comfortably 34-14.
Jordan Hein threw the ball 11 times, completing six for 124 yards in a game that could have seen far more passing yards had the score dictated a need to throw.
Instead, the Yellowjackets grounded the game out, taking advantage of the score to substitute some underclassmen for some experience on the field.
Still put a fork in the Pirates with 8:11 to go in the third quarter on a 53-yard burst up the middle to the end zone making the score 40-21.
Jordan Hein put the final dagger in on a seven-yard run to end the third quarter and extended the Jacket lead to its largest at 46-21.
Crookston added a safety and a Bittner 52-yard touchdown run for the only fourth quarter scoring.
The Pirate safety came after Perham took the ball over on their two-yard line after making a goal line stand. Crookston had first and goal from the six but two tackles for losses and a false start penalty all led to Brady Sazama knocking down a Bittner pass attempt to Kody Kawleski on fourth and goal.
Perham hits the road to face Pequot Lakes Friday in a battle for the top of the HOL-North.
The Patriots played Park Rapids without starting running back Logan Lange, who missed the game with a high ankle sprain.
The Patriots have been a team of late-game, low-scoring heroics this season. They defeated Detroit Lakes 8-7 after a two-point conversion with 58 seconds remaining. A week later they broke a 7-7 tie on a Nevin Greer touchdown pass with 23 seconds left to defeat East Grand Forks.
Before the loss to Park Rapids, the Patriots were ranked #5 in Class 3A, but are sure to drop in this week's poll.
Last season, the Patriots came to Perham ranked #3 and left town with a hard fought 14-7 victory.
The Yellowjackets frustrated the Patriots with the best defensive showing of the season. Lange and Greer scored for the Patriots. Perham got its lone TD from a Desmine Duffy 27-yard run.
Jordan Hein has proven in four games to be the key to Yellowjacket gridiron success.
Hein has 485 yards rushing for an average of 121.2 per game, to go along with 580 yards passing, a 145 yard per game average. Combined, he has 1,065 net yards from scrimmage in four games.
Statistics courtesy of Ron Berns.