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Perham football team sent halftime message, responds with runaway victory over Thief River Falls

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Perham's Ty Moser, No. 8, Evan Guck, No. 14, and Ryan Dahl, No. 87, swarm to Thief River Falls' Brayden Johnson for the sack. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 3
Perham's Logan Richter, No. 64, Jack DeConcini, No. 42, and Roo Schmitz, No. 52 bring down the Thief River Falls running back for a loss. Jason Groth/FOCUS3 / 3

After a sluggish first half, a message was sent to the Perham Yellowjacket football team. The Yellowjackets answered the bell when Ty Moser returned the second half kickoff 82 yards, helping Perham pull away from Thief River Falls, 36-7, at Northland Community College on Sept. 16.

“Our kids came out and played a horrible first half and they knew it,” Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said. “That was not their type of football. We made some adjustments at halftime. They came out and wanted to pound us. It was a real close first half. Our kids faced adversity and they didn’t like it. They responded well.”

Knutson told the team they defined themselves with how they handled the adversity. He said the team handled it the right way. It started out of the gates with Moser’s touchdown return.

“That was huge. Ty ran hard and he had blocks,” Knutson said. “When you work together, that’s what happens and that’s what we keep trying to teach these guys.”

The Yellowjacket defense swarmed to the ball, slowing down the Prowler offense. The Prowlers entered the game scoring 14 points in their first two games. The Prowlers hit on one big play, which was a deflected pass which Christian Larson caught and ran 55 yards for the scoring in the opening quarter.

Perham's Connor Breitenfeldt and Thief River Falls' Christian Larson go up for the pass.

From that point on, it was the Yellowjacket defense putting the hammer down on the Prowlers. Domonic Erdman keyed a strong defensive night in the middle of the field for the Yellowjackets.

“He is a workhorse,” Knutson said. “Defensively, I thought they played a much better second half.”

The Yellowjackets found themselves with their backs against the wall after the Larson touchdown. A big punt return and a penalty gave the Prowlers excellent field position with a chance to take a two score lead. Yet, it was the defense coming up with the big play. Reid Moser stepped in front of a high arcing pass for an interception in the end zone.

The momentum switched and stayed with the Yellowjackets when Jenson Beachy connected with Ryan Dahl for a 58 yard reception, setting up one of Jack DeConcini’s three rushing touchdowns. DeConcini powered in from the two, giving Perham the 8-7 lead after he rushed in the conversion.

The offensive line for the Yellowjackets took over after the opening touchdown, opening big holes in the backfield for DeConcini, Anthony Dahl, Beachy and Zach Peterson.

“Our offensive line when they decide to play football, they do a really nice job,” Knutson said. “During the preseason you heard the talk about us not having an offensive line; I don’t know what team they were thinking about, because our line is doing pretty good.”

The defense continued its bounce back from the season opening loss to Hawley. The Yellowjackets have given up seven points since the opener, while outscoring their opponents, 86-7. The Yellowjackets keyed on the interior running game of Thief River Falls and held it in check.

“We knew that was their game. We knew they were going to bring that to the table, so we prepared all week to shut that down,” Knutson said on slowing down the inside running game of the Prowlers.

DeConcini added a pair of touchdowns after his opening score in the first quarter. He pounced in from two yards and one from a yard out. Peterson put the finishing touches on the victory, rushing in from 12 yards.

The Yellowjackets improve to 2-1 overall on the season and 2-0 in district play. The Yellowjackets travel to Pequot Lakes to take on the Patriots on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 1:30 p.m. The Patriots are coming off a 44-26 victory over Roseau.

Perham's Reid Moser makes a leaping catch.

Check out Thursday's edition of the Perham Focus for more on this game.

PER 8 8 14 6--36TRF 7 0 0 0--7First QuarterT: Brayden Johnson 55 yard pass to Christian Larson (Brayden Ivaniszyn kick)P: Jack DeConcini 1 yard run (DeConcini run)Second QuarterP: DeConcini 2 yard run (Jenson Beachy pass to Reid Moser)Third QuarterP: Ty Moser 82 yard kickoff return (run failed)P: DeConcini 2 yard run (DeConcini run)Fourth QuarterP: Zach Peterson 12 yard run (rush failed)Midwest Red Division StandingsFergus Falls (3-0)2-0Park Rapids Area (3-0)2-0Perham (2-1)2-0Detroit Lakes (2-1)1-1Pequot Lakes (2-1)1-1East Grand Forks (1-2)0-2Roseau (0-3)0-2Thief River Falls (0-3)0-2(overall record in parenthesis)
Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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