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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Just 11 days from a 36-0 victory at New York Mills to clinch the Prairie Conference-South title, the #6-1A Browerville Tigers (8-1) gave a repeat performance in a 33-0 defeat of New York Mills (1-8) in Section 6A playoffs action. The shutout is the fourth in a row for the Tigers over the Eagles. "Browerville is an excellent team that did what they do best and that is run the football and play tough defense," NY Mills Head Coach Matt Radniecki said. The game got off to a good start for the Eagles when Shane Novak made an interception to end the Tigers' first series.
There is no love lost between #6-seeded Pelican Rapids and #3-seeded Perham Yellowjackets and this season in volleyball, the joy of defeating a big rival goes the Perham after a 3-1 controlled performance in the opening round of 8AA South-Sub-section playoffs. Sets two and three were both close games with game two going to Pelican Rapids 25-23.
The #8-seeded New York Mills Eagles volleyball team defeated the #9 Ulen-Hitterdal Spartans 3-2 in the opening round of 6A section playoffs Thursday night. "The first two games were really close and the girls capitalized on some big plays to end those," Head Coach Amy Koskela said. In the pivotal, momentum charging, first game, Ellie Rutten was a dominating presence at the net blasting balls back at Spartan hitters and making kills at key points during some long rallies. None more important than at set point with the Eagles up 24-23--Rutten, while falling away from the net, got the ball dow
The #12A-ranked Perham girls cross-country team finished in second place at the Section 8A meet, a mere three points behind #11-A Park Rapids, both teams qualifying for the state meet next week. This will be the eighth straight state meet appearance for the Yellowjackets. Confusion early in the race may have affected the outcome, due to an incorrect lead of the four-wheeler driver who directs the runners.
In a field of 118 racers at the Section 8A cross-country meet, the #2-ranked, defending state champion Yellowjackets placed all seven runners in the top 14, including the top five scoring runners all in the top 10, to run away, quite literally, with the section title and their 10th consecutive trip to the state meet. The victory keeps an amazing span of dominance going for the Perham boys team. Pack leader Brady Speicher directed this year's section effort. "Everyone of us are leaders," Speicher said.
Three Perham first half turnovers allowed the Staples-Motley Cardinals (0-9) to hang with Perham (6-3) in the first half of the opening game of the Section 8AAA football playoffs. Perham came out ready to play in the second half and put the game away with three third quarter touchdowns en route to a 34-12 victory. The Cardinals scored a touchdown with 33 seconds remaining in the first half via a 35-yard touchdown pass from Blake Petrich to Colton Borders. Borders caught the ball at the height of his leap behind and over Gabe Pankonin.
The New York Mills Eagles, the eight seed, will host ninth-seeded Ulen-Hitterdal Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the opening round of Section 6A volleyball playoffs. The two teams met in Ulen at the Ulen-Hitterdal tournament in September. The Eagles prevailed 2-0 in a shortened three-set max match. Both sets were close (25-22, 25-21). The winner has the tall task of traveling to face top-seeded Ada-Borup (26-1) the following night in second round play. Ada-Borup received a bye in the first round.
As expected, the Perham Yellowjackets are the #3 seed in Section 8AA volleyball playoffs. They will host #6 seed Pelican Rapids Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. at Prairie Wind Middle School. The two teams met in Perham Oct. 11. Perham prevailed 3-0, (25-12, 25-23, 25-18). Miranda Lockhart and Katrina Moenkedick had 11 kills to lead the Yellowjackets. Brooke Mickelson added 10. Perham finished regular season play 4-2 in the Heart O' Lakes Conference and 12-14 overall.
Section 6A The path to the Fargodome and the Section 6A playoffs is stacked up to run through #2-A Mahnomen (QRF-2), the undefeated top seed. The Indians have walloped their opponents to the tune of a 45-3 average point differential. The West Central Area Knights (2-6) (QRF-51) have the unenviable task of traveling to Mahnomen Tuesday, Oct. 25. Mahnomen should prevail easily.