The Perham wrestling team is peaking at the right time and they showcased it with their biggest performance of the 2018-19 regular season when they defeated the second-ranked Simley Spartans 38-23 at the Hive in Perham on Feb. 2.

Perham head coach Robb Moser said he was a bit shocked at how well the Yellowjackets performed in the win. He said assistant coach Wayne Werner talks about being in the moment and Moser said it was the best he has seen his team do that during the season.

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“I think this was the best I’ve seen our kids be in a moment, keeping their composure and wrestling really solid third periods.” Moser said. “That was gratifying as a coaching staff to see kids rise to this occasion and wrestle well. We wrestled well even in our losses.”

Jack Fudge against Antonio Everett.
Jack Fudge against Antonio Everett.

Perham captured nine of the 14 matches, including three upsets based on the recent rankings, on its way to the win.

The event featured several key matches with the anticipated battle between No. 1 ranked Ty Moser and the No. 2 ranked Bennett Tabor at 195. Moser trailed 5-4 heading into the third period, but was able to get a takedown and stayed on top of Tabor to get the pin in the third period. Moser’s pin secured the dual win for Perham and continued Moser’s undefeated season.

“When you have the No.1 rated guy in the state and he is undefeated, you have to go after everybody. He needs to be challenged and certainly he was,” Robb Moser said. “I’m really proud of how Ty for not being used to be in that situation, to get the reversal and put him on his back. What a moment for a senior. How can you ever have something better than have one of your biggest matches and have a big win.”

Owen Werner opened with a 6-0 decision win at 106, which was followed by a pin from Blaze Brady at 120. Top-ranked Chase DeBlaere earned a 12-1 major decision win over Blake Lorentz at 120, but a key win for Perham came at 126 with Gabe Bellefeuille. Bellefeuiile defeated Ruben Saldivar by technical fall 18-3.

Moser said Bellefeuille was explosive and on his game in the match. Moser said if he continues to wrestle like that, he will be tough to beat and that was a real momentum swing.

Simley earned back-to-back wins at 132 and 138, but Perham answered with Jack Fudge and Dylan Fudge at 145 and 152, respectively.

Jack Fudge, ranked No. 7, picked up a key upset win at 145. He led 7-6 after two periods but was able to hold off a late surge from Antonio Everett, ranked No. 4. Fudge held off in the final seconds as Everett was going for a takedown to tie the match. Fudge earned the 12-10 decision win.

Dylan Fudge, ranked fourth, found himself in a predicament in the third period against No. 2 ranked Gavin Nelson. However, Fudge was able to get a quick takedown and turn it into three nearfall points, giving him a 7-5 lead. He was able to hold off Nelson in the closing seconds to secure a key decision win.

“Those two are always exciting. Even though they have different styles, they are always exciting,” Moser said. “Jack is smart and slick and he might get caught because he is a little young, but he has some toughness. Dylan was in a tough spot because his opponent wrestled a lot like him. I told our coaches for Dylan to hit that lateral drop against a kid who is very good upper body, is incredibly hard to do and that’s cool.”

After a major decision win at 160, Brian Ramos picked up the biggest upset for Perham. He was able to defeat Nolan Wanzek, ranked fourth, 14-12. Wanzek tied the match late in the third with a takedown, but Ramos quickly got the reversal for the win. It started a string of four straight wins for Perham. Peterson defeated Esiquo Diaz by technical fall 23-8. Quayin Short, the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 182, did not wrestle in the dual for Simley.

After Moser’s victory, Dawson Kellogg secured an 11-0 victory over Freddy Rivera. Simley’s Daniel Kerkvliet defeated Perham’s Dom Gottwalt by fall at 23 seconds.

Robb Moser said he wished the playoffs would start tomorrow, but Perham has a bit of a break before the Section 8AA Championships in Thief River Falls. Moser said it is a statement win for the program, but realizes they have some potential strong matches ahead.

“We know Detroit Lakes is in our section and they are no slouches at all,” Moser said. “We haven’t punched our ticket to the state tournament and we have to perform. It’s good for the notoriety of the program statewide once you can beat a team like this. Beating Apple Valley and beating Simley has been really good for the program. At the beginning of the day we talked about these seniors and their impact and this just contributes to that legacy.”


Perham vs. Simley

106: Owen Werner (PER) def. Peyton Spychalla (SIM) (Dec. 6-0)

113: Blaze Brady (PER) def. Cory Primeau (SIM) (Fall 3:05)

120: Chase DeBlaere (SIM) def. Blake Lorentz (PER) (Maj. Dec. 12-1)

126: Gabe Bellefeuille (PER) def. Ruben Saldivar (SIM) (Tech Fall. 18-3)

132: Ryan Sokol (SIM) def. Leighton Rach (PER) (Maj. Dec. 22-9)

138: Cael Berg (SIM) def. Coltan Satter (PER) (Tech. Fall 24-9)

145: Jack Fudge (PER) def. Antonio Everett (SIM) (Dec. 12-10)

152: Dylan Fudge (PER) def. Gavin Nelson (SIM) (Dec. 7-5)

160: Jacob Hageman (SIM) def. Matthew Bush (PER) (Maj. Dec. 11-3)

170: Brian Ramos (PER) def. Nolan Wanzek (SIM) (Dec. 14-12)

182: Zach Peterson (PER) def. Esiquo Diaz (SIM) (Tech Fall 23-8)

195: Ty Moser (PER) def. Bennett Tabor (SIM) (Fall 5:40)

220: Dawson Kellogg (PER) def. Freddy Rivera (SIM) (Maj. Dec. 11-0)

285: Daniel Kerkvliet (SIM) def. Dom Gottwalt (PER) (Fall :23)