Perham rolls Fergus Falls, snaps losing streak against Otters

Perham's Colton Hackel fires a pass down the sideline against Fergus Falls. Hackel completed 10 of his 13 passes for 179 yards in the 44-6 victory over Fergus Falls. Jason Groth/FOCUS

The Perham football team was hoping to exorcise some demons when they took to the field on Sept. 20 against the Fergus Falls Otters. The Yellowjackets did that and in a big way when they cruised to a 44-6 victory over the Otters in Fergus Falls.

The Yellowjackets snapped a four-game losing streak to the Otters, which included last year’s 42-32 defeat. Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said the streak against the Otters was on the forefront of the team’s minds heading into the game.

“It was in front of all of our minds, and we put it in front of all of our kids,” Knutson said. “It’s been five years that we have been playing them, and we finally got them. It was a little redemption from last year. We had that game won too, but we just missed some opportunities and I think that fueled tonight.”

Colton Hackel rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two, while Dawson Kellogg and Josh Peterson added rushing touchdowns as well in the win.


Perham's Colton Hackel tries to break the tackle and pick up some more yards against Fergus Falls during Perham's 44-6 victory over the Otters. Jason Groth/FOCUS

The Yellowjackets rushed for 254 yards and threw for 179. One of the keys to the success for the Yellowjackets was their ability to win the battle in the trenches against the Otters.

“The dogs in the trenches got it done tonight on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively,” Knutson said. “They were hogs and they did what we asked them to do. It was hot down here, and they were drained, but they never quit and that was the key to the game, I think.”

Both teams struggled to get on track offensively in the first quarter. Perham turned the ball over a couple of times, but the defense came up strong when needed.

“We came out of the gate a little slow and made some mistakes with missed assignments and had a couple of fumbles. It seemed like they were out of focus, but our kids are tremendous kids and they are great athletes,” Knutson said. “They overcame and persevered through that adversity and I’m proud of them.”

The defense came up with a key stop which set up Perham in good field position after a pair of fumbles and a punt. Perham struck when Hackel broke through the defense and scampered 34 yards for the score. Finn Diggins converted the try, giving Perham an 8-0 lead.

Perham's Finn Diggins breaks a tackle and gets a block from Dawson Kellogg when he drives forward for positive yards during Perham's road win over Fergus Falls. Jason Groth/FOCUS


Perham added to the lead when Kellogg bulldozed his way through a group of Otter defenders for a 4-yard touchdown run. Hackel converted the 2-point conversion, giving Perham a 16-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The defense came up with another stop and forced the Otters to punt. However, the snap went through the end zone for a safety and an 18-0 lead.

On fourth down, Perham struck when Hackel hit Maddux Kovash breaking down the farside of the field for a 29-yard score to make it 24-0 after a failed 2-point conversion.

The dominant effort by the Yellowjacket defense limited the Otters to 108 yards rushing and 76 yards passing.


Perham's Isaac VanWatermulen and Brian Ramos converge on Fergus Falls' Ethan Olson for the quarterback sack during the second half of Perham's 44-6 victory over Fergus Falls. Jason Groth/FOCUS

“We knew what their weapons were, and we made some adjustments according to those weapons,” Knutson said. “For the most part, I thought we did really well. We had a couple of missed assignments, and they gained some yards. When you have quality athletes on a team, they are going to do that to us once in awhile when we are not playing perfect.”

Hackel connected with Noah Rooney early in the second half for a 30-yard pitch and his second passing touchdown of the game. Hackel completed 10 of his 13 attempts for 179 yards and two scores. He led the team in rushing with 157 yards on 24 carries and two scores.

Hackel spread the ball around, connecting with five different receivers. Rooney had four receptions for 68 yards, while Dylan Lysne had two for 50 yards. Diggins had two receptions for 30 yards, while Kovash and Kellogg had a reception each.

Perham's Dylan Lysne makes the catch and gets wrapped up by Fergus Falls' Dustin Portales after trying to find a lane to run through against Fergus Falls. Jason Groth/FOCUS

Hackel added a third quarter touchdown run, before Peterson took his lone carry of the night into the end zone in the fourth quarter.

Logen Schake broke the Perham shutout bid with a 1-yard touchdown run with 12 seconds to go in the fourth quarter.

Ethan Olson completed five passes for Fergus Falls for 76 yards. He was sacked four times by the Perham defense. The Yellowjackets recorded five sacks in the game with Isaac VanWatermulen getting to the quarterback three times. Finn Diggins recorded two and Rian Solberg got to the quarterback once as well. Brian Ramos led the team in tackles with seven, while Kellogg and Diggins finished with six each.

The Yellowjackets improve their season mark to 4-0 and 3-0 in the Midwest District Red Division. Perham will now take on Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Sept. 27 in Glyndon. The Rebels enter with a 4-0 mark as well having allowed just 14 points in four games. The Rebels are coming off a 47-0 victory over Thief River Falls. The Rebels have not scored less than 40 points in a game this season and are averaging 47 points per game.

Perham's Gabe Bellefeuille brings down Fergus Falls' Abel Aho after a reception during Perham's victory over Fergus Falls. Jason Groth/FOCUS

PER 8 16 14 6--44
FER 0 0 0 6--6
First Quarter
PER-Colton Hackel 34 yard run (Finn Diggins run)
Second Quarter
PER-Dawson Kellogg 4 yard run (Hackel run)
PER-Team Safety
PER-Maddux Kovash 29 yard pass from Hackel (run failed)
Third Quarter
PER-Noah Rooney 30 yard pass from Hackel (run failed)
PER-Hackel 6 yard run (Kellogg run)
Fourth Quarter
PER-Josh Peterson 7 yard run (run failed)
FER-Logen Schake 1 yard run (kick failed)

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