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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It was the New York Mills volleyball teams' turn to take on the number two state-ranked and undefeated Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines. The Eagles dropped all three varsity matches to the talented Wolverines group but played hard against a far superior foe. "I'm definitely satisfied with how the girls played against Wadena last night," said Head Coach Amy Koskela. According to Koskela, set one wasn't so pretty, but set two saw the Eagles ahead up to eight points. "Our serving was 93 percent as a team, which really helps. The front line got their hands on quite a few of their hits too.
The Perham volleyball team got off to a good start against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Tuesday taking the first set 25-19, before dropping the next three 25-15, 28-26 and 25-21 in a Heart O' Lakes Conference loss. "Poor blocking cost us the match tonight," said Head Coach Dan Christenson. "27 block errors with only 5 team blocks - that ratio has to change if this team plans to be a HOL conference or 8AA Section contender." Blocking was part of the game Christenson stressed would be addressed in practice looking for improvement.
For the second game in a row, Desmine Duffy sprinted to the end zone for an early score and Perham grabbed momentum, but Duffy's 27-yard scamper would be the only Yellowjacket touchdown in a 14-7 homecoming loss to the #3 state 3A ranked Pequot Lakes Patriots. "It was a big confidence booster and we just need to back it up with a few more trips to the end zone," said Head Coach Mike Jordahl. The Yellowjackets had other opportunities to get in the end zone but were unable to finish drives and capitalize on turnovers. Both teams battled defensively in the first half with Perham shutting down
The Osakis Silverstreaks shut down the visiting New York Mills Eagles football squad holding the Eagle offense to only 43 total yards in a 49-0 shutout. "There is not much to say other than we got the tar kicked out of us," said Eagle Head Coach Matt Radniecki. "Osakis was a very physical football team and we didn't match their intensity and physical play, at all." Aside from the scoreboard, statistical numbers showed a distinct gap between the two teams. First downs were 22-2. The Silverstreaks put up nearly 400 more yards than the Eagles totaling 417; 331, of which, were on the ground.
Both the Perham seventh and eighth grade football teams picked up victories Monday afternoon at home versus Staples-Motley. The seventh graders score of 20-6 featured a two-prong attack on offense, both passing and running the ball with success. The final touchdown was scored by the defense after swarming the Staples quarterback, stealing the ball and sealing the win with a sprint for six. The eighth-graders had a defensive battle on their hands with both teams moving the ball at midfield but sputtering in the red zone.
With the nice weather comes make up games and both the NY Mills and Perham tennis teams will see a lot of action this week. To get it started the teams faced off in NY Mills Monday with the home squad coming out victorious in a close one-point win 4-3 on Parent's Day. "This was a great start to busy week, mostly on the road," said Head Coach Gary Bach. "It was nice to begin with a Parents Day win. There was some good competitive tennis on every court, as is usually the case when the Eagles play the Yellowjackets." The Eagles swept the singles matches.
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.