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Explosive opening quarter leads to Perham rout

Perham's Ty Moser brings a defender across the line with him for one of his two receiving touchdowns in the first quarter of Perham's 65-20 victory over Thief River Falls. Jason Groth/FOCUS

The Perham Yellowjackets wanted to strike early and often when they squared off with the Thief River Falls Prowlers for homecoming on Sept. 22. The Yellowjackets completed that mission when they scored 36 first quarter points, rolling to a 65-20 victory over the visiting Prowlers.

The Prowlers were no match for the Yellowjacket attack which featured several quick striking drives in the first quarter. Along with a defense that was flying around the field, it spelled doom for the visitors from the opening kick.

“It was fun. I like the fact that our kids came out strong right away on both sides of the ball,” Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said. “We played with intensity and enthusiasm right from the get-go and that is something we have been working on. I was glad to see that they did that.”

Jensen Beachy completed all nine of his pass attempts for 184 yards and four touchdowns. Finn Diggins completed three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Martin LaFond rushed for 104 yards on four carries with a touchdown. Diggins finished with 81 yards and a touchdown.

Martin LaFond makes a catch in traffic.

The offense started strong and never looked back. Perham had first quarter scoring drives of four, two, five, three, one and eight plays.

“It caught them off guard. It wasn’t a surprise to us and that was our mentality going in. We were going to hit them hard, hit them fast and hit them as many times as we can right away to set the tone,” Knutson said. “That’s what we did.”

The Yellowjackets found success through the air, setting a team record for passing efficiency at 391.5 and completing a team record 100 percent of their passes. They also tied for the most touchdown passes through the air by a team with five.

“Typically teams try to come in and dominate on the run and force you to pass. We have a mixture of both,” Knutson said. “We have a tremendous crew of receivers. Jensen is a poised kid in the pocket and he is much more patient this year which is nice. He reads better and you throw that in with a good receiving core, that’s a good deal.”

Ty Moser finished with two receiving touchdowns, while Tanner Knutson and Jace Kovash added touchdown receptions. Josh Jeziorski was credited with a touchdown through the air when he recovered a fumble a completed pass in the end zone. Zach Peterson, Logan Richter, LaFond and Diggins finished with rushing touchdowns in the win.

Zach Peterson breaks a tackle and drives forward.

The Yellowjacket defense held Thief River Falls to 199 yards of total offense while forcing three turnovers in the game.

“We have been a second half team defensively, only allowing six points in the second half up to this point,” Knutson said. “That was one of the points of emphasis I had was to be that type of team right away and not wait till the second half. The kids responded well and played hard.”

The Yellowjackets improve to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the Midwest District Red Division. They return home to take on Fergus Falls on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m at the Ted Meinhover Field in Perham.

The Otters enter with a three game winning streak. They defeated East Grand Forks, 33-3. They earn a pair of wins over Pequot Lakes and Detroit Lakes. Both teams sit atop of the Red Division with 3-0 records.

Logan Richter pushes the pile towards the end zone for the score.

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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