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Yellowjackets practice under the lights

The Perham football team huddles together before it kicked off its annual Black and Gold Scrimmage on Aug. 23. Jason Groth/FOCUS1 / 2
Perham's Ty Moser makes the grab and cuts up field, breaking away from defenders. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 2

Area football fans got their first glance at the Perham Yellowjackets when they hosted the annual Black and Gold Scrimmage under the lights of the Ted Meinhover Field in Perham on Aug. 23.

“It went really well,” Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said. “It’s been a good night. We got to see who can step up and play and who is going to need some more work. We got our young guys in there and they are making some mistakes, but that’s what tonight is about. It’s a learning experience for our young kids, too.”

The Yellowjackets return a bevy of starters from last year’s squad and looked sharp as they prepped for a light scrimmage with each other. The Yellowjackets will be on the football field on Saturday when they travel to Barnesville for a scrimmage with Hawley, Park Rapids and Barnesville.

The Yellowjackets were one of the teams that were affected by the announcement of the forfeiture of the season by the Frazee football program. The Yellowjackets and the Hornets were expected to renew their rivalry on Aug. 31. However, with the cancellation of the season by the Hornets, the Yellowjackets are left searching for other plans, which have not yet been announced.

During the scrimmage, Knutson was pleased with the play of his offense and both quarterbacks, led by junior Jenson Beachy.

Jenson Beachy fires down field during the scrimmage.

“The guys are running hard and both quarterbacks are throwing a nice ball,” Knutson said. “I like how mobile they are. We looked really good offensively.”

Knutson said they had some confusion on the defensive line. He credited that to some inexperience on that side of the ball.

“We have thrown a lot at these guys the last two weeks,” Knutson said. “I am pleased overall, but I think, once you get your good on good, it’s a different story. I’m very happy with both sides of the ball.”

Instead of your typical ones against twos scrimmage, Knutson said they split both groups up evenly talent wise. He said the main goal was to come out of the scrimmage healthy and to work on their timing issues with the offense.

“We want to get the kinks worked out with our offense and work on our timing issues,” Knutson said. “We wanted to let these young kids know what their stunts are and let them make mistakes in a safe environment. It’s not a game pressure situation, which is kind of the goal tonight. We will clean some things up on Thursday and Friday and go into our scrimmage on Saturday with the same thing all over again. Next week, we are going to prepare for whatever comes our way, if anything does.”

There was a good contingent of fans and parents out. The Yellowjackets will host four home games, including the Battle for the Paddle game, which is the home opener against Detroit Lakes on Sept. 8.

“Parents, families and community members can come out and see what their team is going to look like for the year,” Knutson said. “It gives them a chance to see their kids and see how much they have improved since the last year. It also allows them to get out and get into the football spirit again.”

Leighton Rach breaks a tackle and turns up field.

Knutson said it was fun to get back under the lights after the disappointment from the season ending in last year’s section semifinal game with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.

“We were kind of disappointed with how it ended and you have to wait 300 and some days just to itch and get back,” Knutson said. “You grind it out for a week and a half during the day and now you finally get to experience it under the lights and it brings it all back. These kids are getting excited.”

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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