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Perham football clamps down on Pequot Lakes, snapping skid against Patriots

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Perham's Anthony Dahl and a swarm of Yellowjackets bring down Pequot Lakes' Blake Lane. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 3
Perham's Jack DeConcini lowers his shoulder into Pequot Lakes' Hunter Clement and drives him back for a gain in the fourth quarter. Jason Groth/FOCUS3 / 3

The last two times the Yellowjacket football team squared off with Pequot Lakes, it left a sour taste in their mouths. The Yellowjackets washed that taste away, avenging back-to-back losses to the Patriots with a 29-13 victory, spoiling homecoming for the second consecutive week for their opponents.

"I like the way it ended," Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said. "The kids played well. A couple of times they have struggled with some personnel things and some timing things, but, overall, they came back from that adversity and they played well."

Jack DeConcini rushed for a pair of touchdowns and caught one as well for Perham. Zach Peterson added a rushing touchdown, while Ty Moser put the finishing touches on the game with a sack in the end zone for a safety. It was the second sack of the game of Moser, who got to quarterback Max Tangen in the first half as well.

While the offense was fluttering in the third quarter, the Yellowjacket defense came up with several key stops, preserving a 20-13 lead, until the offense caught fire again in the fourth quarter.

"We talked about having to fix some things at halftime in the locker and that's what you saw in the third quarter. It was us trying to feel some things out and make those changes," Knutson said. "It probably wasn't an exciting game for our fans to watch at first, but that's what we were doing. We said defensively, we have to keep them where they are at and that's what they did. Once we got things figured out in the fourth quarter, we really sparked."

The Yellowjackets used a punishing ground attack, led by DeConcini and Moser in the fourth quarter to grind out the game. DeConcini gave the Yellowjackets the 27-13 lead with a 1 yard plunge.

"They were getting frustrated and we kept moving the ball on them and got some key first downs to keep the drives alive" Knutson said. "That's how you win football games.

While it was a strong finish for the Yellowjackets, it wasn't the start they envisioned when the Patriots returned the opening kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown. Calvin Maske rumbled 74 yards for the opening score, giving the Patriots the 7-0 lead after the extra point.

Perham answered with a DeConcini 5 yard plunge and tied the game at seven when Hunter Ditterich hit Perham's first extra point in more than two years.

A Reid Moser interception set up Perham's second score. Peterson capitalized on the turnover when he scampered 48 yards for the score. Ditterich added the extra point, giving Perham the 14-7 lead.

A miscue in the Perham defensive secondary allowed Blake Lane to find a wide open Zach Sjoblad for a 32 yard score, making it 14-13. The Patriots were stuffed on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt.

Perham extended the lead with 27.5 seconds to go in the second quarter when Beachy connected with DeConcini on a 5 yard reception. Perham elected to go for two and was stopped short, with Perham maintaining a 20-13 lead.

Both defenses stepped up in the third quarter, but it was Perham's offense that finally wore down the Patriots. DeConcini capped off a 47 yard drive with a 1 yard plunge, giving Perham the 27-13 lead late in the fourth quarter.

Perham had another opportunity to add to its lead but a turnover inside the Patriots 3 yard line gave the Patriots a chance late. However, on the first play from scrimmage, Moser sacked Lane in the end zone for a safety, giving Perham the 29-13 win.

The Yellowjackets avenged last year's 29-28 defeat in Perham and a 41-0 whitewashing from two years ago in Pequot Lakes with the victory. The victory came a week after spoiling the homecoming festivities for Thief River Falls as well.

The Yellowjackets improve to 3-1 overall on the season, 3-0 in the Midwest District Red Division. Perham returns to action for their homecoming game against Park Rapids Area on Sept. 30 at Ted Meinhover Field.

PER 14 6 0 9--29

PL 7 6 0 0--13

First Quarter

PL: Calvin Maske 74 yard kickoff return (kick good)

PER: Jack DeConcini 5 yard run (Hunter Ditterich kick)

PER: Zach Peterson 48 yard run (Ditterich kick)

Second quarter

PL: Blake Lane 32 yard pass to Zach Sjoblad (rush failed)

PER: Jenson Beachy 5 yard pass to DeConcini (rush failed)

Fourth Quarter

PER: DeConcini 1 yard run (Ditterich kick)

PER: Ty Moser Safety

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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