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Perham football to open season at rival Pelican Rapids

The Perham football team will open their season on the road Friday, Aug. 31, at Pelican Rapids attempting to snap a two-game losing streak to the rival Vikings and scratch a seven-year itch in which the Yellowjackets have won only once in seven meetings.

Pelican Rapids hung on for a tight 21-20 victory in last season's opener in Perham. The Vikings looked to have the game in hand up 21-6 after quarterback Devin Schell scored the third Pelican Rapids touchdown with 6:03 remaining in the game.

Perham quarterback Jordan Hein put the offense on his shoulders and marched the team for two scores in three minutes. Hein scored on a 1-yard run and a 4-yard touchdown run.

A two-point conversion to Gabe Pankonin cut the score to 21-14, before Hein's second touchdown run cut the lead to one point with 1:33 remaining.

The Yellowjackets elected to go for the win and a second point-after pass attempt to Pankonin was knocked down by Casey Bruggeman.

Bruggeman dove in front of Pankonin to get his hands on the ball at the goal line preserving the victory for the Vikings.

Perham was a second away from taking a 6-0 lead into halftime. A Hein 13-yard pass to Pankonin provided the only first half scoring until the final play before the break.

Schell heaved a 25-yard prayer to the front corner pylon and 6-foot-five-inch receiver Tucker Forsgren outstretched two Yellowjackets and came down with a miracle score at the buzzer to tie the game at six.

Perham kicker Jesse Hein's PAT had been blocked. Cris Molina booted his through the uprights sending momentum and a one-point advantage with the Vikings to the locker room at the break up 7-6.

Pelican Rapids won the season opener the year prior in Pelican by a score of 31-7.

Last season, Perham struggled early getting off to a 2-3 start with potential victories in each of the three losses. After a tough 25-14 loss at Pequot Lakes, another game which saw a hail mary completed against them, the Yellowjackets reeled off six consecutive victories, including a 10-3 rematch win over the Patriots at Alerus Center in the Section final.

The streak came to an end against Providence Academy at St. Cloud State, 28-19, in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.

The Yellowjackets have the opportunity to harness big momentum and a confidence boost from a victory. Another loss to such heated rivals gets the season off with a grim taste in the mouthguard.

Although, last year, Perham proved the first game does not mean everything in a season.

Pelican Rapids finished their season 3-6, bounced in a less than polite manner by 2A powerhouse Barnesville, 44-3, in the first round of the playoffs.

Pelican Rapids returns starting seniors Forsgren, who led the team on defense from his linebacker position, and Schell at quarterback. Lineman Ian Johnson and Marshal Ohe will also fill roles they had last season.

Perham finished with a record of 8-4 and a trip to the state quarters.

Full fall previews will be out in print Thursday, August 30.

Pelican Rapids versus Perham (last seven seasons)

2005-PR 21, PER 12

2006-PR 28, PER 20

2007-PR 14, PER 13

2008-PR 34, PER 6

2009-PER 32, PR 0

2010-PR 31, PER 7

2011-PR 21, PER 20



Fri, Aug 31 7:00 PM Pelican Rapids Pelican Rapids

Fri, Sep 7 7:00 PM Park Rapids Area Perham

Fri, Sep 14 7:00 PM Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Perham

Fri, Sep 21 7:00 PM Crookston Crookston

Fri, Sep 28 7:00 PM Pequot Lakes Perham

Fri, Oct 5 7:00 PM Thief River Falls Northland CTC

Fri, Oct 12 7:00 PM Detroit Lakes Perham

Wed, Oct 17 7:00 PM East Grand Forks East Grand Forks

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. 

(218) 844-1442