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Robert Williams / Forum News Service, Published October 12 2013

Perham blanks No. 4 Detroit Lakes in football

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Payton Jordahl and Eli Beachy each scored on 9-yard touchdown runs, and Perham shut out the No. 4-ranked team in Minnesota Class 4A Detroit Lakes 14-0 to create a three-team logjam atop the Heart O’ Lakes Conference heading into the final week of the season.

The game was scoreless when play was suspended Friday night with 1 minute, 31 seconds remaining in the first quarter due to repeated lightning in the area. It resumed at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The Perham defense held the powerful Lakers running game to just 68 yards and to 147 yards total.

On offense, the Yellowjackets controlled the line of scrimmage, earning 289 total yards, all on the ground.

“We had a lot of discussion this last week about trusting each other and playing as a team and playing with guts and determination, and that’s what happened,” Perham head coach Mike Jordahl said.

Payton Jordahl rushed for 119 yards and scored on a 9-yard run with 1:17 remaining in the first half to give Perham a 7-0 lead.

Beachy scored from 9 yards out with 1:32 to play for the 14-0 final. Beachy scored untouched, as the Lakers were forced to allow a score for any hope at getting the ball back.

The Yellowjackets could have elected to kneel on the ball at the 9-yard line and run out the clock. Instead, Beachy chose to ice the game with Perham’s second touchdown. Beachy also tipped the century mark rushing for 108 yards.

The wet conditions favored the Yellowjackets’ running game as Perham ate up small chunks of yardage to sustain drives, converting three of five times on fourth down.

“Today was our day,” Perham senior running back Nick Bahls said. “We played with a lot of heart. This was our game throughout yesterday and today. We controlled this entire game. It was a team effort on offense and defense.”

Perham stopped the Lakers four of five times on fourth down. Cole Schmitz led Perham with 10 tackles, two for a loss.

The Yellowjackets missed an opportunity to go up by two scores when a 19-yard field goal attempt by Bahls sailed just right of the upright with 3:50 to play.

An illegal motion flag on the Lakers and four Michael Herzog incompletions gave Perham the ball at the Lakers’ 22, leading to Beachy’s clinching score.

Detroit Lakes drove to the Perham 11 in the final minute, but a fourth down pass to Christian Hedstrom fell incomplete to preserve the shutout.

Perham more than doubled Detroit Lakes in time of possession 33:23 to 15:27, keeping the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer Herzog off the field for much of the game.

Despite the soggy conditions and wet footballs, neither team committed a turnover.

Herzog rushed 15 times for 76 yards and completed only 5 of 23 passes for 79 yards. The Yellowjackets held Lakers running back Jarett Nosal to only two yards on five carries.

“I think people on this team are going to look back in 20-25 years and they’re going to say, ‘Wow, what a change and what a shift,’ ” Jordahl said. “This is a great shift for us at a perfect time.”

Perham was routed at home last week by Thief River Falls 34-14.

The victory brings the Pigskin Paddle traveling trophy back to Perham. The road team has won all three matchups since the rivalry was renewed in 2011.

“They’re a great program,” Bahls said. “It’s going to be a battle no matter what.”

Park Rapids defeated East Grand Forks 6-0 in overtime Friday night to improve to 4-1 in the HOL, tied with Perham and Detroit Lakes.

The Lakers travel to Pequot Lakes on Wednesday night. Perham will play at Park Rapids. The outright HOL title is up for grabs for all three teams.

P 0 7 0 7–14

DL 0 0 0 0– 0

P–Jordahl 9 run (Bahls kick)

P–Beachy 9 run (Bahls kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: P, Jordahl 26-119, Beachy 19-108, Still 5-26, Bahls 4-19, Erickson 1-8, Schmitz 3-1. DL, Herzog 15-76, Schleske 1-2, Nosal 5-2.

PASSING: P, Beachy 0-2-0 0 yards. DL, Herzog 5-23-0 79.

RECEIVING: DL, Paskey 3-40, Hedstrom 1-32, Nosal 1-7.

Williams is the sports editor for the East Otter Tail Focus