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Perham clinches Section 8AAA Championship with 42-28 win over EGF

Perham team members celebrate their win over East Grand Forks Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, during the Minnesota Class 3A, Section 8 football championship at the Fargodome. David Samson / The Forum1 / 4
Perham quarterback Jenson Beachy turns the corner past East Grand Forks' Luke Vonesh Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, during the Minnesota Class 3A, Section 8 football championship at the Fargodome. David Samson / The Forum2 / 4
Perham fans celebrate a fouth down stop late in the game against East Grand Forks Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, during the Minnesota Class 3A, Section 8 football championship at the Fargodome. David Samson / The Forum3 / 4
Perham wide receiver Colton Hackel races past East Grand Forks' Sam Votava for a second quarter touchdown Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, during the Minnesota Class 3A, Section 8 football championship at the Fargodome. David Samson / The Forum4 / 4

The last time the Perham Yellowjackets stepped on the Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, they left with an empty feeling, falling 56-22 to Pequot Lakes. The senior crew remembered that feeling throughout the season and ensured it wouldn’t happen again when they defeated East Grand Forks 42-28 in the Section 8AAA Championship on Nov. 1.

“I’m just so pumped and it’s been a long time coming,” Perham’s Ty Moser said. “It’s been a year since we have been here and played in this building and that feeling when we left the field last year resonated over the course of the whole season. It feels awesome to get in here, get a win and punch our ticket to the state tournament.”

Perham’s Noah Rooney sealed the win with a 3-yard interception return for a score which put the finishing touches on a back-and-forth contest. Jenson Beachy passed for four touchdowns and rushed for another.

“We came into this week and knew it would be a tough battle. We beat them 30-7 and knew they weren’t going to just give it to us. We had to come out ready to play,” Beachy said. “We started slow, but we battled back and played through adversity. That was great to see out of our players and our team of brothers. It was just awesome.”

Perham head coach Kyle Knutson celebrates the win over East Grand Forks.

Beachy showcased his leadership, spreading the ball out to a variety of players. Josh Jeziorski, Ty Moser, Zach Peterson, Dawson Kellogg, Colton Hackel and Finn Diggins all caught passes from Beachy, who finished with 133 yards passing and 99 yards rushing, unofficially.

“He (Beachy) is poise as ever and we have a lot of good athletes on this team,” Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said. “They are great kids and I’m just so happy, for not only our senior class, but for everyone.”

The Green Wave were thinking upset when Jackson Galstad and Ethan Trebil gave the Green Wave a 14-0 first quarter lead. Galstad went 78 yards, while Trebil punched in from seven.

“We knew they were going to come out fast and we had to stop them right away,” Beachy said. “We knew that we had to battle back and face the adversity. We looked into each other’s eyes and knew this game wasn’t over.”

Perham responded when Beachy hit Moser for the first of three first half touchdowns. After Beck sprinted 40 yards for a touchdown, Beachy hit Colton Hackel for a 10-yard score and Moser for an 11-yard score. Perham took a 22-21 lead into the half.

A short field allowed East Grand Forks to regain the lead when Julian Benson plunged in from 8 yards out, giving East Grand the 28-22 lead.

Perham's Finn Diggins grabs a reception in front of  East Grand Forks' Kaden Robinson.

Perham responded with 20 straight points with a 12-yard run by Beachy, a 5-yard pass touchdown pass to Hackel and Rooney’s interception return.

“It feels great and these kids deserve it,” Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said. “They have been working so hard for this. I’m so proud of them.”

East Grand Forks had an opportunity late as they marched down to the Perham 6-yard line, but the Perham defense responded with a stop of Julian Benson on fourth-and-short.

“Our defense stepped up late in the game and that’s what our kids do,” Knutson said. “Our philosophy is we prepare to play our football. It doesn’t matter if it’s East Grand Forks or Park Rapids. We make some adjustments, of course, but we focus on doing what we do and play our positions right. After the second half, they started to do that. I believe in these guys and they came through.”

Perham's Josh Jeziorski slips away from East Grand Forks' Brody Schultz after grabbing on option pass from Colton Hackel.

Perham improves its season mark to 8-2 overall and will play on Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. at Brainerd High School against either Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin or Two Harbors in the Class AAA Tournament.

EGF 14 7 7 0--28

PER 8 14 6 14--42

Scoring

First Quarter

EGF- Jackson Galstad 78-yard run (Ben Kern kick)

EGF- Ethan Trebil 7-yard run (Kern kick)

PER- Jenson Beachy 4-yard pass to Ty Moser (Beachy pass to Moser)

Second Quarter

EGF- Carter Beck 40-yard run (Kern kick)

PER- Beachy 10-yard pass to Colton Hackel (Moser run)

PER- Beachy 11-yard pass to Moser (pass failed)

Third Quarter

EGF- Julian Benson 8-yard run (Kern kick)

PER- Beachy 12-yard run (conversion failed)

Fourth Quarter

PER- Beachy 5-yard pass to Hackel (conversion failed)

PER- Noah Rooney 3-yard interception return (Moser conversion)

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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