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Perham marches into 8AAA finals with win over EGF

Perham's Zach Peterson dives for the end zone for the game's first touchdown against the East Grand Forks Green Wave. Jason Groth/FOCUS

Jenson Beachy passed for four touchdowns and rushed for another helping the Perham Yellowjackets cruise to a 43-13 victory over East Grand Forks on Oct. 28.

The Yellowjackets controlled the game from the onset and stamped their name into the Section 8AAA Championship game with the victory. The Yellowjackets will be making their first championship appearance since they won the section title in 2012, advancing to the state semi-finals that season.

“I was pleased. We had some things we needed to fix on the defensive side and gave up yardage up the middle. They ran the option well of our edge,” Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said. “We made some adjustments off of that and they seemed to work.”

The Yellowjackets will line-up against a familiar foe in Pequot Lakes. The Patriots defeated Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 34-0 in the other semi-final. The Patriots allowed just seven points in two games against the Rebels.

The Yellowjackets defeated the Patriots 32-19 in a game that was finished over a span of three days due to the weather. Perham used a big fourth quarter to erase a deficit from the Friday prior.

“They are a good opponent for us. We have had some close games with them,” Knutson said. “I’m pretty sure there won’t be a lightning delay with this one.”

Beachy said the team had a great week of practice and they were prepared for East Grand Forks. Beachy has passed for 11 touchdowns in the last three games. He has spread the ball out to many different receivers in the process. He connected with four different receivers for scores.

“I have a special connection with not just one, but every single person on this team,” Beachy said. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without my line either.”

The offensive line gave Beachy plenty of time to work in the victory. Beachy was quick to credit their play all season long.

“They did a good job and they have done well all season,” Beachy said. “They don’t get recognized as much as they should and they have really stepped it up this year.”

The defense made some key adjustments and forced three turnovers in the game. They struggled in the second quarter, but came up with momentum changing plays when needed.

“Turnovers will kill momentum and they worked out in our favor,” Knutson said. “We had some nice reads on the ball in the air and we recovered a fumble. Football is about opportunity and making the most out of the opportunities we get when we get them.”

Perham raced ahead in the first quarter when Zach Peterson powered his way through the EGF defense for an 11-yard score. Beachy hit Josh Jeziorski for the conversion, making it 8-0.

Perham wasted little time on their second possession of the game. Beachy hit Ty Moser with a quick pass and he sprinted 79 yards for the touchdown. Beachy ran in the conversion and the Yellowjackets built up a 16-0 lead.

After a Carter Beck 8-yard touchdown run for the Green Wave, the Yellowjackets struck again when Beachy hit Dawson Honer over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown. Perham added to the lead when Beachy hit Zack Zajac for a 24-yard touchdown, giving the Yellowjackets a 30-7 lead at the half.

Knutson said it’s nice to have multiple weapons on offense. The Yellowjackets have continued to show different ways to find the end zone. Perham added to the lead in the third quarter with a 1-yard run by Beachy. Beachy found Jace Kovash open in the third quarter for a 27-yard catch and run as well.

“It’s nice when you have some weapons to use. It makes it hard for teams to prepare and they have to prepare for all of us. That works in our favor a bit,” Knutson said. “We are glad we have the bodies that we have.”

While Martin LaFond did not find the end zone, he impacted the game in many different ways, showcasing his speed from the backfield and a wide receiver spot, while making plays on defense. LaFond had a touchdown catch-and-run erased by a pair of penalties in the third quarter as well.

The Yellowjackets are 7-2 overall on the season, while East Grand Forks finishes with a 3-7 record. The Yellowjackets will take on Pequot Lakes at 8 p.m. on Nov. 2 at the Fargodome in the Section 8AAA Championship.

EGF 0 13 0 0--13

PER 16 14 13 0--43

First Quarter

PER-Zach Peterson 11-yard touchdown run (Jenson Beachy to Josh Jeziorski)

PER-Beachy 79-yard pass to Ty Moser (Beachy run)

Second Quarter

EGF-Carter Beck 8-yard run (Rudy Juarez kick)

PER-Beachy 15-yard pass to Dawson Honer (kick failed)

PER-Beachy 24-yard pass to Zack Zajac (Beachy to Martin LaFond)

EGF: Beck 12-yard run (run failed)

Third Quarter

PER-Beachy 1-yard run (Dylan Johnson kick)

PER-Beachy 27-yard pass to Jace Kovash (kick failed)

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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