The Perham Yellowjackets knew they needed to find away to slow down Pequot Lakes running back Nathan Traut if they wanted to advance to the Class AAA State Tournament. However, Traut would not be denied, lifting the Patriots to a 56-22 victory over the Perham Yellowjackets at Gate City Bank Field in Fargo, N.D., on Nov. 2.
Traut rushed for 160 yards and three touchdowns. He had a receiving touchdown as well and helped the Patriots take control of the game with a 28-point second quarter.
“Traut is a dude,” Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said. “We knew that going in. We knew he was the guy we needed to stop. We just couldn’t put a bead on him.”
It started well for Perham when they took the opening possession and marched down field. Jenson Beachy connected with Zack Zajac for the game’s first score. He hit him for a 29-yard touchdown, giving Perham the 7-0 lead.
However, the Patriots answered right back. Traut capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, knotting the game up at seven.
Turnovers would haunt the Yellowjackets in the second quarter. The first one came on fourth down, after it appeared they had picked up the first down when Pequot Lakes recovered the fumble. The Patriots turned it into points when Blake Lane hit Maxx Schindel for an 18-yard touchdown reception, making it 14-7.
The Yellowjackets found themselves on the wrong end of a questionable call. Beachy flipped a shovel pass to Noah Monson. The officials ruled it was a catch and a fumble, while it appeared that he never caught the ball. Pequot Lakes recovered the ball and quickly capitalized. Traut rushed into the end zone from 6 yards out, making it 20-7.
Perham quickly responded with a touchdown run from Zach Peterson. He found a hole and rushed it in from 20-yards out, making it 20-14.
Yet, Pequot Lakes answered with two late touchdowns to close out the half. Lane hit Traut from 27-yards out and Lane plunged in from a yard out, making it 35-14 at the break.
“We got outplayed. We had turnovers and we couldn’t get a bead on their toss,” Knutson said. “That’s not a good recipe for success.”
Traut and Deven Pysck added third quarter touchdowns, before Beachy rushed in from 5-yards out in the fourth quarter. Pysck closed the scoring with a touchdown run of his own, making it 56-22.
The Patriots were eight-of-nine on their offensive drives with their final drive of the game ending with a kneel down.
The Yellowjackets finish the season with 7-3 overall. Pequot Lakes improves to 8-2 and will play in the Class AAA quarterfinals in Alexandria on Nov. 11.
Despite the loss, it was a strong season, which saw the Yellowjackets reach the section final for the first time since 2012.
“I love these guys and a loss today doesn’t take away from their accomplishments over the course of this season,” Knutson said. “I have to remind them of that when I go in there and they have to keep their head up.”
PL 7 28 14 7--56
PER 7 7 0 8--22
PER- Jenson Beachy 29-yard pass to Zack Zajac (Zach Peterson kick)
PL-Nathan Traut 1-yard run (Chase Larson kick)
PL-Blake Lane 18-yard pass to Maxx Schindel (Larson kick)
PL-Traut 6-yard run (kick failed)
PER-Peterson 20-yard run (Peterson good)
PL-Lane 27-yard pass to Traut (Traut run)
PL-Lane 1-yard run (Larson kick)
PL-Traut 1-yard run (Larson kick)
PL-Deven Pysck 28-yard run (Larson kick)
PER-Beachy 5-yard run (Beachy to Moser)
PL-Pysck 5-yard run (Larson kick)