Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since April of 2010. During that time, Williams has had the privilege of covering multiple state championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools. For the most up to date information, more photos, and live game coverage, follow @PerhamSports on Twitter.
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As one of the more athletically successful small towns in the state of Minnesota, Perham is missing one thing. The sport of the state: hockey. Trent Swanson and the Perham Area Youth Hockey Association (PAYHA) are out to change that from the ground up. In hockey, the ground up starts with the mites and squirts: the little guys and girls. "If you give kids another outlet to do something, it's better for the community," Swanson said. PAYHA is in its fifth year of instructing kids ages 4-9 in the fundamentals of hockey. Indoor practices are scheduled to begin Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 6-7 p.m.
The New York Mills Eagles got off to a quick start at home versus Pillager in the final game of the season but a quick momentum change led to a 36-14 loss to end the Eagles' season. "We lost a tough game tonight. We came out and put together a great drive to score to go up 7-0 only to see Pillager come back with a kick return to take the momentum back," Head Coach Matt Radniecki said. Tanner Wegscheid, returning at quarterback after missing nearly three games with a broken nose, scored from three yards out.
The Yellowjackets and East Grand Forks played to a 14-all stalemate at halftime, but two third quarter Green Wave touchdowns ended regular season play for Perham with a 28-14 loss. Jordan Hein hit Chris Ruther from seven yards out and Eric Brauch from 24 yards for the two Perham scores. Both Jesse Hein extra point kicks were good. Turnovers and missed tackles played a major role in the final score. "Those are areas we can fix by focusing more," said Head Coach Mike Jordahl. Jordon Hein was picked off five times.
In a tune-up race for the upcoming section meet in Bagley, both cross-country teams ran away from competition in the season finale at Park Rapids. "This was a great tune-up for sections, because we saw basically every team in the section today minus one or two," Head Coach Jeff Morris said. "All the teams we know are going to be a factor for the team titles were there." The varsity squads ran a practice round at Bagley earlier in the season during an underclassmen race and are familiar with the course. "Bagley is a course we know pretty well.
The final regular season match failed to provide the victory the New York Mills volleyball team has been searching for all season. Browerville took the match 3-0, by scores of 27-25, 25-10 and 25-19. Senior Megan Cole led the Eagles with 11 kills. Lexie Rankka moved the ball around with 14 assists and Jackie Imsande defended the net with 10 blocks. The loss drops the Eagles to 0-25. NY Mills enters the Pigtail round of Section 6A playoffs as the #11 seed and will travel to Halstad to face the Norman County West Panthers, the #6 seed, on Thursday, Oct. 28.
The Perham volleyball team needed a victory in the season finale versus Detroit Lakes to have any chance at a home first round playoff match. The Jackets got the win defeating the Lakers 3-1, by scores of 25-17, 25-21, 19-25 and 25-18. "This was a must win for us as far as seeding is concerned," Head Coach Dan Christenson said. The victory garnered the Yellowjackets the #4 seed and they will face #5 Breckenridge at the Prairie Wind Middle School Thursday, Oct.
Like clockwork, the boys and girls cross-country teams continued their reign at the top of the Heart O' Lakes Conference winning both titles in Warroad. The boys were chasing their ninth straight title and the girls were after their seventh in a row. By the end of the day, both teams had once again captured the HOL crowns and did it in blazing fashion. The girls team went out poised and with confidence running the first half of the race with patience. They started out in a nice pack right in the top 15 and slowly worked to the front.
All season Head Coach Mike Jordahl has stated his offense needs a few more reps to get in synch and start really moving the football. That came to pass at home versus Roseau, as Perham put the hurt on the Rams in a 46-20 blowout. "We were looking for this break out game and they broke it wide open," Jordahl said. The starting defense gave up only one score in the second quarter. The remainder of Roseau's points came against the back-ups late in the game.
The Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels clinched this year's Heart O' Lakes conference volleyball championship with a 3-1 victory over the Yellowjackets. "Even though we didn't win the match it was very competitive and came right down to the wire," Head Coach Dan Christenson said. The Rebels finished conference play undefeated at 7-0.
The Eagles football team faced a tough task matched up against undefeated Browerville. The Tigers entered Friday's game ranked third in the state 1A rankings and proved it with a 27-0 shutout. "There's a reason why they're undefeated," Head Coach Matt Radniecki said. "They have a lot of experience and tradition over there." The Tigers are a grind it out football team and pounded the ball on the ground against NY Mills. The longest play from scrimmage was 11 yards and the Eagle defense did a good job of defending against big plays. "I'm really proud of our kids.