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Second chance field goal lifts Perham past Park Rapids

By John George sports@eot.com Everyone knew coming into Meinhover Field Friday night they were going to be treated to a spirited battle on the gridiron. Perham and Park Rapids came into the game with identical 5-1 records and defenses allowing le...

By John George

sports@eot.com

Everyone knew coming into Meinhover Field Friday night they were going to be treated to a spirited battle on the gridiron. Perham and Park Rapids came into the game with identical 5-1 records and defenses allowing less that 10 points per game each.

In the end, it took 47 minutes and 45 seconds for a team to hit double digits and for the game to be decided.

Perham's Mac Stoll connected on a 20-yard field goal with just 15 seconds to play, to give the Jackets a 10-8 win.

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It was Stoll's second shot at the game-winner.

Stoll lined up for a 23-yard attempt with 22 seconds left. He missed, but Park Rapids was called for roughing the kicker. Stoll lined up again and made the most of his second chance, splitting the uprights.

"Thank goodness for second chances," Stoll said. "I was a little nervous going for the game-winner, but I was still confident."

After stuffing the Park Rapids offense for most of the game, the Jacket 'D' had it's only real miscue of the game late in the fourth quarter. They let Panther running back Kevin Vaadeland loose for a 52-yard TD run with just 2:31 to play, capping a nine-play, 80 yard drive. Vaadeland then went in for the two-point conversion, giving Park Rapids a 8-7 lead.

The Perham offense was in the hands of sophomore quarterback Ben Bucholz. He was an emergency starter after HOL Conference MVP candidate Marcus Hendrickson suffered a partially torn calf muscle in practice Thursday.

Bucholz had played very well in his first start, and he had the confidence of the upper classmen for the game winning drive.

"I knew Buch could get us down there," Stoll said. "He really stepped up for us tonight."

Perham started at their own 35 with 2:31 to play. Stoll began the drive with a 13-yard run. Nathan Schmitz took the next three carries 16 more yards. After a time out and incomplete pass, Bucholz hit Nick Dockter on a 25-yard pass to the 11-yard line. After Jordan Woessner got them to the six with a five-yard run, Perham stalled. They attempted their first field goal from the six, then moved half the distance to the goal for the game-winning kick by Stoll.

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"He ran into me and I looked for the flag," Stoll said. "When we decided to kick again, I knew I'd make it that time."

Perham had already missed two previous field goal attempts in the second half.

Bucholz was awarded the game ball for his effort handling the Perham offense. He finished 9-for-24 for 178 yards. Not a high completion percentage, but no interceptions, and he took no sacks. He also rushed five times for 15 yards.

"I think he was a little nervous at first," Stoll said of the sophomore QB. "I knew he could run the offense, he's gotten better and better every week in practice."

Stoll also said the receiving corps knew they had to make the extra effort to help Bucholz. It showed. Stoll finished with four catches for 63 yards. Dockter had three catches for 57 yards, including a diving catch at the sideline that set up Perham's first score, a four-yard run by Stoll midway through the first quarter.

Schmitz provided the running game Bucholz needed to be comfortable in the backfield. He finished with 138 yards on 20 carries. Schmitz also led the Jacket defense with13 tackles.

Dockter, Andrew Muer and Charlie Schmitz each had seven tackles. Sam Rutten had four tackles and an interception, Nick Stoll, filling in for Hendrickson at free safety, had three tackles and an interception.

The win secured the Heart O' Lakes North Championship for Perham (6-1, 5-0). It's the team's first conference title since 2003.

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Perham's defense came into the game allowing 9.7 points per game, the Park Rapids defense averaging just 8.6 per game. Hendrickson is expected to return for the Jackets first round playoff game.

Week ahead

The Jackets final regular season game was Wednesday night at the FargoDome against HOL Classic champion Breckenridge. Check EOTIllustrated.com for up-to-date scores.

The Cowboys (7-0, 5-0 HOL Classic) have beaten Warroad 31-8 and D-G-F 26-8 in their last two games.

The Section 8AAA playoffs will begin Oct. 23. The Jackets are currently seeded No. 2 and will host a playoff game at Meinhover Field starting at 7 p.m.

Perham's likely opponent will be either Pequot Lakes or East Grand Forks. The Jackets have played Pequot Lakes in the playoffs four of the last five years, winning all four. Last year, Perham came from behind to win at Pequot Lakes, 33-22, in the 8AAA semifinals. The Jackets beat EGF 42-19 in last year's section quarterfinals.

The section's top team, #2 AAA Thief River Falls, lost their first game of the season to Detroit Lakes last week, 32-13. TRF had allowed just 41 points in their previous six games.

Friday, October 12

Perham 10, Park Rapids 8

Park Rapids 0-0-0-8--8

Perham 0-7-0-3--10

Second Quarter

Per--Mac Stoll 4 run (Kurt Weber kick) 7:58

Fourth Quarter

PR--Vaadeland 52 run (Vaadeland run) 2:31

Per--Stoll 20 FG, :15

Perham P.R.

1st Downs 16 13

Rush--yds 37-201 41-212

Pass yds 178 27

Return yds 36 45

Comp--Att-In 9-24-0 3-10-2

Sacks-yds 0-0 0-0

Punts-ave 3-24.0 3-37.7

Fbles-lost 0-0 0-0

Pen-yds 2-15 2-8

FG 1-3 0-0

3rd Down 6-14 3-10

4th Down 1-2 2-3

Possession 25:36 22:24

Individual Statistics

Rushing--Nathan Schmitz 20-138; Stoll 6-31-1; Jordan Woessner 6-17; Ben Bucholz 5-15.

Passing--Bucholz 9-24-0, 178 yds.

Receiving--Stoll 4-63; Nick Dockter 3-57; Woessner 1-49; Sam Rutten 1-9.

Defense--N. Schmitz 13 Tkl; Andrew Muer 7 Tkl; Stephen Sweere 7 Tkl; Dockter 7 Tkl; S. Rutten 4 Tkl, Int; Nick Stoll 3 Tkl, Int.

HOL North Conf. All

#8-AAA Perham 5-0 6-1

Park Rapids 4-1 5-2

Roseau 3-2 5-2

Crookston 2-3 3-4

Warroad 1-4 2-5

East Grand Forks 0-5 0-7

HOL Classic Conf. All

#10-AA Breckenridge 5-0 7-0

D-G-F 4-1 4-3

Pelican Rapids 3-2 5-2

West Central Area 1-4 2-5

Wadena-Deer Creek 1-4 1-6

Pequot Lakes 1-4 1-6

Section 8AAA Section All Points

#6-AAA TRF 1-0 6-1 89

#8-AAA Perham 5-0 6-1 75

Roseau 4-2 5-2 70

Park Rapids 4-1 5-2 69

Crookston 2-4 3-4 58

Warroad 2-4 2-5 53

Pequot Lakes 0-2 1-6 42

East Grand Forks 0-5 0-7 41

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