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Yellowjackets secure the top seed for Section 8AAA

The Perham football team gathers together before their game against Pequot Lakes. The Yellowjackets earned the No. 1 seed and will open with either East Grand Forks or Thief River Falls on Oct. 28 at Ted Meinhover Field. Jason Groth/FOCUS

The Perham football team secured home field advantage and the No. 1 seed for the Section 8AAA playoffs with its 40-6 drubbing of Park Rapids Area on Oct. 18.

What comes with the No. 1 seed is a first round bye and an opportunity to get healthy in time for the Section 8AAA semifinals.

The Yellowjackets will play the winner of East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls in the semifinals. The No. 1 seed was crucial as they avoid either Pequot Lakes or Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton until the finals, if they were to advance.

The Yellowjackets finished with a 6-2 mark and have been led by a dynamic offensive attack that has seen quarterback Jenson Beachy pass for 1853, with 782 of those yards coming in their last two games. Beachy has completed 113 of his 178 attempts.He completed 35 of 45 attempts against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, which was a new school record and one shy of the Minnesota State record. He followed that up by hitting 23 of his 36 attempts in the 40-6 win over Park Rapids Area.

Beachy has spread the ball out throughout the season, hitting 10 different receivers in the process. Ty Moser leads the team in receptions with 33 for 605 yards and 10 touchdowns, four  of them coming in the win against Park Rapids Area. Martin LaFond is second on the team in receiving with 25 receptions for 453 yards. Zack Zajac has 17 receptions for 368 yards and a score.

The Yellowjacket defense rebounded from a tough game with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, shutting Park Rapids Area and holding them to 279 yards of total offense. They forced five turnovers in the win as well.

The Yellowjackets have been led up front by Logan Richter. He has 29 total tackles on the season with 11 of them for a loss. He has seen constant double teams from the opposition during the season. Zack Peterson leads the team in tackles with 61, while Jace Kovash has 44. Tanner Knutson leads the Yellowjackets with six interceptions of the season. He has half of the team’s 12 picks on the year. LaFond has three as well.

The first round features Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks squaring off for the right to play Perham in the semifinals. Thief River Falls is 1-7 with their lone win being a 7-6 victory over Park Rapids Area. They hung tough with East Grand Forks, losing 13-6, in their regular season match up. East Grand Forks enters with a 2-6 record. Their other win was a victory over Park Rapids Area.

The other matchup features the defending section champion, DGF Rebels, taking on Park Rapids Area. The winner will face off with Pequot Lakes, who earned the No. 2. Seed. In their previous meeting, DGF rolled Park Rapids Area, 50-6. The semifinal round games are on Oct. 28 with the time to be decided at a later date. The Section 8AAA Championship game is set for 8 p.m. at the Fargodome on Nov. 2.   

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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