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Perham defeats Pelican Rapids 21-14

Josh Still, 21, made a huge play getting Perham on the board the instant the ball touched Yellowjacket hands on this opening kickoff touchdown return. Photos by Robert Williams/FOCUS2 / 6
Payton Jordahl prepares to meet Linebacker Tanner Grahn in the hole.3 / 6
Carlos Gutierrez rushed for 65 yards and two touchdowns to lead Pelican Rapids.4 / 6
CJ Mulcahy hauled in this fourth down pass from Jordan Hein good for 39 yards and the eventual game-winning score.5 / 6
Jordan Hein cuts back behind the blocking of Dan Ingebrand. Hein rushed for over 100 yards. Ingebrand had a big night defensively with 18 tackles.6 / 6

PELICAN RAPIDS, Minn. - Josh Still took the opening kickoff 89 yards to the house to get Perham jump started and the Yellowjackets scored all the points they would need by halftime in a 21-14 victory at Pelican Rapids.

"The blocking was great," Still said. "Huge hole, we practiced it a lot."

"We worked very hard on our special teams the past couple weeks," Perham Head Coach Mike Jordahl said. "We were expecting something big from our special teams this week and to have it happen right away is a great way to start."

"When he busted that open that really got the train rollin', I felt," Jordan Hein said.

Still's sprint to the end zone was a huge boost for Perham momentum and the Yellowjackets' cause was aided minutes later when Pelican Rapids' starting quarterback Devin Schell left the game after a big hit on the first play of the Vikings' second drive of the game.

Schell engineered a game-tying drive on the Vikings first possession. Pelican Rapids scored on a three-yard run by Carlos Gutierrez capping a 12-play 65-yard drive to even the score at seven.

Perham drove 61 yards on 10 plays ending in a Payton Jordahl two-yard run to go up 14-7 early in the second quarter.

Josh Nordick picked off a pass from Pelican backup quarterback Devon Hensch at the Perham 39 and returned it to Pelican Rapids 38-yard line seven minutes before half.

Perham turned that turnover into seven important points.

Perham quarterback Jordan Hein connected with a wide open CJ Mulcahy from 40 yards out on fourth-and-11 with 6:10 remaining for the eventual game-winner.

"At halftime, we felt like we should be up 35-0," Hein said. "We couldn't get everything on full cylinders. We just couldn't finish. We hit 'em in the mouth right away and had our bruises in the middle but I thought we played pretty well."

A turnover led to Pelican Rapids' final score of the game.

Tucker Forsgren blocked a Perham punt attempt with 1:07 remaining in the third quarter giving the Vikings the ball at the Perham 29.

Three plays later, Gutierrez scored his second touchdown of the game in the opening minute of the fourth quarter cutting Perham's lead to 21-14.

Perham kicker Nick Bahls missed a 33-yard field goal late giving the Vikings a chance to tie in the final minutes.

Pelican Rapids drove past midfield but stalled on fourth down at the Perham 43-yard line.

Hein knelt on the ball to tick away the final minute of play.

Halftime adjustments by both teams led to a scoreless third quarter. Perham's drive that ended in the missed field goal chewed half the fourth quarter clock away.

Both the offensive and defensive lines were question marks coming into the season for Perham. Both sides held their own in a game that was relatively even after Still's opening shocker.

"I thought they did a nice job," Jordahl said. "They made some mistakes but that's just growing pains we're willing to work through and know that they're going to be getting better every week."

"I thought they played pretty well," Hein said.

Perham snaps a two-game skid to Pelican Rapids and got their second victory in eight meetings.

Hein rushed 19 times for 112 yards. He was 7-14 passing for 136 yards and a TD. Hein's 39-yard score was the longest completed pass of the evening. Six receivers caught at least one pass.

Payton Jordahl rushed 13 times for 48 yards and eight tackles on defense.

Linebacker Dan Ingebrand had a big defensive night with 18 tackles, nine solo and three for loss.

Pelican Rapids led in time of possession 26:54 to 21:06.

Offensively, the game was even by the numbers. First downs were 16-15 Perham. Total yards 289 -273, Perham with the slight advantage.

Perham (1-0) will face Park Rapids Area (0-1) in the Yellowjackets' home opener Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.

Park Rapids lost at home to Hawley 27-6.

Pelican Rapids (0-1) travels to Breckenridge (0-1) next week.

The Heart O' Lakes North division had an edge over Classic on opening week. Of the seven teams in HOL-Classic, only Hawley came out of week one with a victory. In the North, only Park Rapids suffered a loss.

In other regional action, former Perham Head Coach Howie Kangas had a successful opening week at the helm for Wadena-Deer Creek. The Wolverines downed West Central Area 28-16 snapping a 17-game losing streak.

Other HOL scores:

Thursday, Aug. 30

Pequot Lakes 38, Staples-Motley 6

Detroit Lakes 22, Hermantown 7

Hawley 27, Park Rapids Area 6

Crookston 41, Warroad 14

Thief River Falls 43, Roseau 22

East Grand Forks 22, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 6

Wahpeton, N.D. 38, Breckenridge 7

Game statistics

PER 7 14 0 0 -- 21

PEL 7 0 0 7 -- 14

P-Still 85 return (Bahls kick)

PR-Gutierrez 3 run (Diaz kick)

P-Jordahl 2 run (Bahls kick)

P-Hein 40 pass to Mulcahy (Bahls kick)

PR-Gutierrez 10 run (Diaz kick)

Full statistics are attached to this story.

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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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