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DGF grinds out win over Yellowjackets

After making a one-handed grab, Jordan Hein spins away from defenders for a 15-yard gain on a pass from Gabe Pankonin.1 / 2
Jordan Hein, #7, appeared to have crossed the plane of the goal line and was down with the ball in the end zone, but the referee ruled he was stripped and the fumble ended up a touchback for DGF taking six points off the board for the Yellowjackets. Senior Andrew Waldon, #3, attemps a recovery.2 / 2

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton running back Bennett Mercil was a given for the 100 yard mark in rushing after his first two performances of the year. He nearly rushed for 200 in a 20-6 victory over Perham on Hall of Fame night Friday.

Mercil's 192 yards on 25 rushes averaged 7.7 yards per carry. He provided some consistency in a turbulent defensive battle.

"Both defenses did a great job of putting up some big stands and stopping the offenses," said Perham Head Coach Mike Jordahl.

Aside from Mercil, all other nine players, from both squads, who ran the football were unable to eclipse 40 yards.

Gabe Pankonin and Jordan Hein led the Yellowjackets with 38 and 35 yards rushing respectively. Pankonin was 9-24 for 93 yards passing with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Mercil purloined one Pankonin pass and returned it 45 yards to add to his yards on offense. The Rebels kept the ball on the ground the entire game. Quarterback Tanner Dufault did not attempt a pass.

DGF would start the scoring late in the first quarter after picking off Pankonin on the Perham 26-yard line. A four-yard return by Shawn Johnson and a Perham facemask penalty put the Rebels at the 17. Four plays later Johnson would score from the four. Dufault's point-after was blocked.

The Yellowjackets would answer with a 13-play drive from midfield. A 15-yard pass from Pankonin to Hein put the ball at the one. Mike Wiskow would plunge over to tie the game at six. Jesse Hein's kick to take the lead was blocked by Johnson leaving the game knotted at six.

Alex DeConcini recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and the Jackets were in business take a scoreboard advantage into the locker room at half.

In the two-minute drill, with 2:03 on the clock, Perham went no-huddle and drove quickly from the DGF 37 to the 13-yard line. Pankonin hit Hein again and Hein stretched for the goal line only to have the ball knocked loose and recovered for a Rebel touchback.

There was some controversy as to whether Hein had crossed the plane of the goal line or was down but a conferring of the referees gave the ball back to DGF five seconds on the clock.

A scoreless third quarter gave way to a 13-play 92-yard drive by the Rebels consisting of Mercil pounding the ball. He would score at 6:15 and Dufault's kick would make it 13-6.

Perham went three and out attempting to even the score.

Mercil, in full stride, would score again finishing a 10-play 57-yard scoring drive for the 20-6 final.

"It was a fun game. We gained more experience. The big difference was we let them finish the game. We just fizzled at the end. We need to get sharper with our execution and focus on fundamentals again."

Perham drops to 1-2 on the season. DGF remains undefeated at 3-0. Perham travels to Crookston Friday to take on the Pirates. Crookston pounded Park Rapids 44-6, a team the Jackets beat 12-6 in week two.

"Crookston is kind of an up and down team. I think they might be in the same situation we are. We need to continue to be positive with each other. We're starting to understand and get it that we have to rely on each other."

Scores from around the Heart O' Lakes conference:

Breckenridge 59, West Central 0

Staples-Motley 28, Warroad 12

Pelican Rapids 20, Wadena-Deer Creek 6

Pequot Lakes 19, East Grand Forks 13

Thief River Falls 47, Roseau 8

Crookston 44, Park Rapids 6

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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