Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
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The Yellowjacket volleyball team got a rude start to the week's play against #2 ranked Wadena-Deer Creek. The Wolverines used a height advantage and superior passing to down Perham 3-0, by scores of 25-18, 25-14 and 25-8. The Wolverines picked up momentum throughout the match and it showed on the scoreboard. "Our kids are playing outstanding defense and getting the ball to center," said WDC Head Coach Sue Volkman. "Anytime you play Perham it's going to be a good game.
Desmine Duffy got a chance to use his speed at Crookston connecting on an 82-yard pass from Jordan Hein to get the Yellowjackets on the scoreboard early, but Crookston's Mark Bittner would lead a ground-heavy attack for a comeback 34-14 victory. According to Statistician, Ron Berns, the Hein to Duffy pass play of 82 yards was the second longest in school history, behind a 90-yard pass from Charlie Nelson to Jon Toedter in the 1989 State Final game vs Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop. Crookston would surpass the early 6-0 Jacket lead on a 3-yard run by Austin Proulx.
The red zone was unkind to the Eagles on homecoming night. New York Mills unveiled a more pass-orientated attack to move the ball into scoring position but failed to finish drives in a 16-6 loss to the United North Central Warriors. "On offense, we just couldn't get anything going on the ground," said Head Coach Matt Radniecki. "The line played very well and we had trouble adjusting to their stunts and just being physical with them.
Sam Babler and Mikaela Eickschen were crowned Perham-Dent High School's Homecoming King and Queen at coronation Monday night. To show support for the upcoming school levy, Tom Meinhover unleashed Marty, the world's largest dragonfly, as the anchor float in the Perham-Dent High School Homecoming parade. East Otter Tail's symbol of quality environment traversed the parade route with a banner stating, "Mart, The World's Largest Dragon Fly supports quality environment and quality education.
The Eagles tennis team dropped all seven matches in a tough dual at Park Rapids. The Panthers surrendered only five games in four singles matches and six games in the three doubles contests. "The Panthers have a very good team this year," said Head Coach Gary Bach. "They should make a strong bid for the section title later this season." The number two doubles team of Jen Maki and Krista Guldseth nabbed five games from Karly Dickinson and Allie Girtz in a straight set loss three and two. Combined, the Panthers netters won seven of 14 played sets at love.
The Bemidji girls swimming and diving team swept Grand Rapids and Perham in a double-dual at the BHS pool. Perham beat Grand Rapids by a score of 163-142. Bemidji posted a 188-124 win over Grand Rapids and downed Perham 175-134. Bemidji dominated Grand Rapids from the outset but trailed Perham after three events. The Lumberjacks overtook their guest during the 50 free as Steph Frey and Maris Jahner went 1-2. Frey set the pace with a time of 25.98 while her teammate was second at 27.32. The Lumberjacks widened the gap with a 1-3-4 performance in diving.
Sisters Missy and Stephanie Hendrickx won a tight championship match over runners-up Nikki Perala, assistant tennis coach, and Focus Sports Editor Bob Williams 4-3 in the second annual Mills Open "Celebrity" Tennis Classic Saturday in front of an amused crowd in perfect hamstring pulling 40-degree weather. "It was a great day and a lot of fun for everyone," Head Coach Gary Bach said. Proceeds from the tournament benefited the Eagles tennis team and the Wadena-Deer Creek high school athletic department. Williams had championship point on his racquet, but pure exhaustion and a glaring lack of
Sincerity and humor were shared in equal amounts from all speakers at the Perham Hall of Fame induction ceremonies held at Mulligan's Pub and Eatery Friday night after the football game. First to speak was Yellowjacket coach Larry Hauer. Hauer coached from 1959-1985. Hauer took over the football program from Perham legend Ted Meinhover.
There is no trophy in atrophy and it was proven on the tennis courts of New York Mills last Saturday. Kudos to Head Coach Gary Bach, his tennis team and the volunteers and fans, who came out to watch the second annual Mills Open "Celebrity" Tennis Classic. The NY Mills Lady Eagles Tennis team is donating $100 to Wadena-Deer Creek Athletics from fund raising at the tournament. A portion of those funds came directly out of my pocket, as I stuffed rice krispie bars, hot dogs, waters and pops down my cakehole in an effort to force my body to keep moving after the first match. It had been three
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.