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Yellowjackets ready for homecoming game with Park Rapids

The Perham Yellowjackets have grown accustom to playing in and spoiling homecoming football games. This Friday, the Yellowjackets hope to reverse the role and prevent Park Rapids Area from spoiling the evening's festivities.

The Perham Yellowjackets have grown accustom to playing in and spoiling homecoming football games. This Friday, the Yellowjackets hope to reverse the role and prevent Park Rapids Area from spoiling the evening's festivities.

The Yellowjackets have earned back-to-back homecoming wins with victories over Thief River Falls and Pequot Lakes. Friday's contest with Park Rapids is one that's fresh in the Yellowjackets' minds as well. Last year, The Panthers knocked off the Yellowjackets, ending their 2015 season with a first round playoff upset. Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said that will be a focal point of theirs during the week of practice.

"They are a scrappy team and they always play us tough," Knutson said. "The program has been pretty solid the past few years. We are planning on seeing a pretty good team."

Both the Panthers and the Yellowjackets enter the contest with identical 3-1 records, however, it's the Yellowjackets coming in with a three game winning streak. The Panthers are coming off a crushing 49-0 defeat to Detroit Lakes, while the Yellowjackets avenged a tough loss to Pequot Lakes, with a 29-13 win on Sept. 23.

The Panthers played that game without leading rusher Zach Severtson. He was out with a sprained ankle. He leads the team with 239 yards on 29 carries. Quarterback Jake Dickinson is second in rushing with 205 yards on 50 carries. He has completed 13 of 42 passes on the season with one interception. The Panthers have struggled on offense lately. They gained 193 yards against East Grand Forks and 120 yards in the loss to Detroit Lakes.

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However, the defensive side of the ball has been outstanding for the Panthers. They held United North Central to 167 yards, Thief River Falls to 90 yards, East Grand Forks for 135 yards, before yielding 474 yards against Detroit Lakes.

In last year's playoff matchup, Jordan Yliniemi stole the show for the Panthers. He rushed for four touchdowns and 156 yards on 32 carries. The Panthers did not complete a pass in five attempts in the upset win.

Knutson said the defense will need to play well and the team will need to be in better physical condition than they were on Saturday. It's a short week for the Yellowjackets, with the game against Pequot Lakes being played on a Saturday. The Yellowjackets suffered an injury to a member of the offensive line, Jonathan Staebler, and a couple of nagging knee injuries at the moment. Staebler is questionable for the game on Friday.

Against Pequot Lakes, the Yellowjackets were able to keep their offense on the field, especially in the fourth quarter. Knutson said keeping them on the field and the Panther offense off the field will be a key as well.

The Yellowjacket offense is scoring a 36.8 points per game clip, while the defense has been stout, allowing just 13.2 points per game. The Yellowjackets enter the contest with four rushers having more than 100 yards. Jack DeConcini leads the way with 381 yards on 60 carries, while Zach Peterson has 276 yards on 23 carries. Jenson Beachy has rushed for 151 yards, while Anthony Dahl has added 125 yards. The Yellowjackets added another weapon to their backfield arsenal with Ty Moser. Moser has 78 yards rushing on just eight carries.

Beachy has completed 22 of his passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns. Reid Moser has been the top receiver for Perham. Moser has eight receptions for 104 yards. Ty Moser has four receptions while DeConcini has three. DeConcini has 14 total touchdowns on the season.

The Yellowjacket defense continues to be led by Peterson with 27 tackles. Roo Schmitz has 23 tackles, while DeConcini has 20. Ty Moser leads the Yellowjackets with three sacks, while Reid Moser has three interceptions.

The Yellowjackets hope to gain revenge from last year's Section 8AAA playoff loss to Park Rapids Area, while they hope to continue their run in homecoming games. The Yellowjackets enter the game with a 3-0 record in the Midwest District Red Division. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Ted Meinhover Field in Perham.

Related Topics: PARK RAPIDS
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