Football fans craving a defensive battle were left disappointed when the Perham Yellowjackets defeated the East Grand Forks Green Wave 60-44 at the Ted Meinhover Field in Perham on Oct. 4 in the Section 8AAA Championship rematch.
The two teams combined for 959 yards of total offense and 104 points, setting a Perham record for highest combined points in a game. The two teams combined to score 74 points in the second half. Perham head coach Kyle Knuton said he was dissatisfied with how the team played on both sides of the ball.
“We did some good things, and we are a good squad, a talented team, but we didn’t show up to play,” Knutson said.
Knutson said the team didn’t have the focus they needed to have during the week of practice with the effects of a tough defeat to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton still looming over the team.
“We looked back and reflected on our practice for the week, and I don’t think we had the focus we needed to have,” Knutson said. “For the talented group that we have, we have to find that focus again because the games are only going to get harder from here on out.”
However, Knutson said he was proud of his team and that they worked hard, they need to find their focus next week as they prepare for Pequot Lakes.
The offense caught fire in the second quarter and scored on three straight possessions and seven of their final nine possessions of the game.
“No doubt about it, we can put up points with the best of them,” Perham’s Finn Diggins said. “Our offense is our key point in why we win. We can put up points.”
Colton Hackel accounted for seven touchdowns in the game, rushing for three and passing for four. Hackel finished with 261 yards rushing on 26 carries, while passing for 129 yards.
Diggins finished with four receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Diggins rushed for a score as well.
“He (Hackel) is a great quarterback. He knows who to throw to and knows when to find you,” Diggins said. “He knows all of the reads, and he is amazing all-around.”
While the Yellowjackets have the ability to score quickly and often, they realize they can’t keep allowing the opposition to march down field if they want to have success in the playoffs.
“We can’t allow 44 points in two straight weeks if we are going to make it back to state,” Diggins said. “I think in practice, we hung our head about the loss to DGF. We have to prepare for the next week, the next game and get ready for Pequot Lakes this week.”
East Grand Forks received a strong game from the duo of Sam Votava and Nathan Willett. Votava passed for 222 yards and rushed for 86. He connected for four touchdowns, two of them to Willett. Willett finished with six receptions for 183 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Hackel and Noah Rooney formed an early connection in the first half, striking for touchdowns of 26 and 2 yards in the first half, which sandwiched a Micaiah Peterson 57-yard score for East Grand Forks.
FB: A nice play fake sets up the pitch and catch for the score. Hackel to Rooney for a 2-yard TD pass to make it 14-8. pic.twitter.com/nHp2yQiO3s— Jason Groth (@PerhamWDCSports) October 4, 2019
Perham closed with momentum when Diggins found the pylon for a 12-yard touchdown run with 49 seconds to go in the first half, helping Perham take a 22-8 lead in the half.
FB: Finn Diggins to the corner for a late touchdown run. The 2-point try by Diggins is good. It was a 12-yard run to make it 22-8. pic.twitter.com/nvEHpYddyt— Jason Groth (@PerhamWDCSports) October 5, 2019
The second half featured 10 combined touchdowns with the longest scoring drive taking just two minutes and 31 seconds. It all started when Hackel hit a diving Diggins in the end zone for a 32-yard score. East Grand Forks answered with a 75-yard touchdown pass to Willett and a 6-yard touchdown pass to Brody Schultz.
Hackel answered back with a 56-yard touchdown run and an 11-yard touchdown run, before Willett scored with a 37-yard reception. Hackel followed with a 40-yard run, which was countered by a Brandon Anderson 4-yard score.
FB: Colton Hackel with an 11-yard TD run to make it 44-22 with 11:52 to go in the fourth quarter. pic.twitter.com/02UO5fgCNu— Jason Groth (@PerhamWDCSports) October 5, 2019
Diggins broke free for a 34-yard touchdown reception, before Votava finished the scoring with a 25-yard run.
Dawson Kellogg eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground when he rushed for 102 yards on 15 carries. Diggins added 27 yards on nine carries. Rooney finished with three receptions for 42 yards, with two of them finding the end zone.
Defensively, Diggins led the team with 12 total tackles, three of them for a loss. He recorded two sacks and forced a fumble. Maddux Kovash and Isaac Lung got to the quarterback as well in the game. Kovash blocked a punt on special teams for Perham. Hackel picked off one of Votava’s passes as well on defense and Gabe Bellefeuille recovered a fumble.
The Yellowjackets improve to 5-1 on the season and 4-1 in the Midwest District, Red Division. Next up for Perham will be the Pequot Lakes Patriots on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. at Ted Meinhover Field. The Patriots are 4-2 overall and are coming off an 18-0 victory over Thief River Falls. The Patriots have won two straight since losing back-to-back games to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and Detroit Lakes.