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PHS Football: Full mettle Jacket

Perham quarterback Ben Bucholz has 337 passing yards and four touchdowns in the first two games this season. Last season he threw for 1,650 yards and 14 touchdowns, while scoring six more times on the ground. Photo by John George / EOT Illustrated

Howie Kangas likens his football team's offense to that of a basketball team. If that's the case, 6-foot-7 quarterback Ben Bucholz is a perfect guy to have running the show.

Bucholz has commanded the Yellowjackets to a 2-0 start this season behind 337 passing yards and four touchdowns while completing 56.5 percent of his passes.

"We're pretty much just out there setting screens and letting people shoot," Kangas said. "And Ben is running every facet of our offense very well."

With Bucholz leading the way, the Yellowjackets have outscored their opponents 78-14 in their two games this season, combined.

Despite his big frame, Kangas has no reservations about letting Bucholz get out and run their dynamic attack.

"I'm comfortable with it, but I've always been taller than everybody, so I don't know any different," Bucholz said. "One thing about it is that I can see everybody when I get up to the line because I can see over everybody.

"That's pretty nice."

This is Bucholz's second season as the starter. He threw for 1,650 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, and he also ran for six more scores.

Bucholz had a pretty good mentor in Marcus Hendrickson - who is a redshirt freshman at the University of North Dakota.

But Hendrickson got hurt late in his senior season, tossing Bucholz into the starting spot as a sophomore for Perham's final two games.

"I learned a lot from him. He was faster than me, but he showed me what this offense could do," Bucholz said. "That sophomore year, I was able to get in there and get comfortable

"Everything went a lot smoother."

The result of having an experienced quarterback opens things up for the Perham offense, Kangas said. The Yellowjackets run a lot of option, but they know Bucholz can stretch the field in the passing game, too.

"Are we going to reduce the playbook to minimize mistakes? Absolutely not," Kangas said. "We don't have to do that with Ben."

Bucholz is the son of a dairy farmer, so he knows all about hard work. The senior also oozes confidence, and he said he's happy that the coaching staff has confidence in him to open things up.

"We feel like we can score in one or two plays, and we're not scared to throw it out there," Bucholz said. "It doesn't matte where the receiver's at. If they're open, then I'm going to let it hum."

Perham lost in the state quarterfinals last year, falling 41-32 to Holy Family Catholic.

A lot of players are back from that team, and Bucholz's supporting cast also contributes to his confidence.

Four different Yellowjackets have scored a rushing touchdown this season, and six different players have caught passes.

"My offensive line is awesome, and we definitely have a lot of well-rounded athletes on this team," Bucholz said. "Those guys are all pretty studly at what they do."

Bucholz is also a pretty good basketball player, and he's been drawing attention from colleges to play both sports.

But he's still with Perham for now.

"We've been pretty lucky to have the quarterbacks we've had, and we haven't had to change the offense much," Kangas said. "Ben understands the offense and he throws the ball very accurately.

"It's a definite plus to have someone in that position with his ability and experience."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-554