by Scott DCamp
Progress isn’t always measured by wins and losses. That was the case Friday night, when Perham hung a 49-18 homecoming loss on Thief River Falls.
While the defense was overmatched, allowing seven scoring drives and over 500 yards of offense, Thief River Falls’ offensive unit scored 18 points in a bounce back effort after being shut out the previous two weeks.
“I’m pleased with the effort, the kids worked hard,” said Head Coach Bryce Lingen. “You can’t question their effort. [Perham] made more plays than us, but I thought we battled for a quarter and a half and had a chance to go 12-12 on them.”
Early on, the Thief River Falls defense was up to the task of slowing down the juggernaut Perham offense. The Prowlers forced a three and out on the Yellowjackets’ first possession, forced a turnover on downs on their second possession and forced a fumble by Perham quarterback Jenson Beachy on the third possession that was recovered by the Prowlers at the Yellowjacket 18 yard line.
Thief River Falls made the most of the sudden change opportunity. Quarterback Grant Hartmann connected with Gunner Zutz for eight yards on first down. Running back Brenan Peralta carried for nine yards on second down, and Hartmann scored on a one-yard run on first and goal to put the Prowlers up 6-0.
The three-play, 18-yard scoring drive by Thief River Falls awoke the slumbering Perham offense. The Yellowjackets needed just 39 seconds to complete a four-play, 57-yard scoring drive that ended with an eight-yard scoring run by Beachy.
Following a Thief River Falls three and out, Perham’s offense stayed hot and put together a seven-play, 69-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 59-yard pass from Beachy to Colton Hackel on a third and 11 play from the Perham 41-yard line.
Thief River Falls briefly appeared to tie the game on its next possession. On third and five at their own 38, Hartmann connected with Myles Johnson on a catch and run that went 62 yards. A clipping penalty at the Perham nine-yard line erased the touchdown and brought the ball back to the Perham 24-yard line. The Prowlers would advance as far as the Yellowjacket 15-yard line before the drive stalled and ended with a pair of incomplete passes.
Perham didn’t wait for Thief River Falls to collet itself. On the first play of the series, Beachy connected with wideout Leighton Rach on a 51-yard post pattern to get into Thief River Falls territory. The Yellowjackets ended up scoring two plays later on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Beachy to Ty Moser. Beachy kept it on the two-point conversion to put the Yellowjackets in front 20-6.
Perham answered another Thief River Falls three and out with a nine-play, 60-yard drive that reached pay dirt on a four-yard run by Dawson Kellogg. With the two-point conversion, the Yellowjacket lead ballooned to 28-6.
Thief River Falls moved the ball on its next possession aided by a combination of defensive penalties by Perham and Hartmann completing passes Zutz and Aaron Bruggeman for a combined 15 yards. The drive concluded with an interception on a third and one play at the Perham 30-yard line. Hartmann left the game with an apparent injury and did not return.
With just over a minute left in the half, Perham’s quick strike offense had one more score in it. The Yellowjackets needed just four plays to go 63 yards, with Beachy completing a 30-yard pass to Hackel before calling his own number on a 17-yard touchdown run.
Senior backup quarterback Justin Anenson replaced Hartmann in the second half and provided a spark. The Prowlers’ opening possession went 46 yards and stalled at the Perham 19-yard line, where a Leo Mendonca kick sailed wide right.
Thief River Falls got the ball back in great field position following a three and out by Perham on its first possession of the second half. The Prowlers took advantage of the short field, with Anenson hitting a wide open Bruggeman for a 26-yard touchdown pass to make it 34-12.
“Justin came in and did a nice job,” Lingen said. “Hopefully Grant is healthy, but Justin came in and played with confidence.”
Much like they had in the first quarter, the Yellowjackets answered the Prowlers’ score with one of their own. Moser capped an eight-play, 45-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run. He also broke the plane on the two-point attempt to make it 42-12 in favor of the Yellowjackets.
A pair of 15-yard penalties by Perham – a personal foul for a late hit on the kickoff return and a pass interference penalty on first down – set Thief River Falls up inside the Perham 30-yard line. Two plays later, running back Brenan Peralta broke loose on a 33-yard touchdown run to make it 42-18.
Perham rounded out its scoring with a 10-play, 76-yard drive, with backup quarterback Finn Diggens scoring on a five-yard run to make it 49-18.
1 2 3 4 T
Perham…………………6 28 15 0 – 49
Thief River Falls…. 6 0 12 0 – 18
TRF – Grant Hartmann 1-yard run, kick failed.
Perham – Jenson Beachy 8-yard run, pass failed.
Perham – Colton Hackel 59-yard pass from Beachy, pass failed.
Perham – Ty Moser 21-yard pass from Beachy, Beachy run
Perham – Dawson Kellogg 4-yard run, pass successful.
Perham – Beachy 17-yard run, kick failed.
TRF – Aaron Bruggeman 26-yard pass from Justin Anenson, kick failed.
Perham – Moser 5-yard run, Moser run.
TRF – Brenan Peralta 33-yard run, kick failed.
Perham – Finn Diggens 5-yard run, kick good.
First downs – Perham 20; TRF 9
Fumbles (total-lost) – Perham 6-2; TRF 2-0.
Punts (number-average) – Perham 2-27.5; TRF 6-30.6.
Rushing (attempts-yards) – Perham 52-273, 5 touchdowns; TRF 21-43, 2 touchdowns.
Passing – Perham 12-for-24, 240 yards, 2 touchdowns; TRF 13-for-30, 177 yards, touchdown, 2 interceptions.
Total yards – Perham 513; TRF 220.
Rushing – (Perham) Jenson Beachy 14-105, 2 touchdowns; Ty Moser 8-49, touchdown; (TRF) Brenan Peralta 7-68, touchdown.
Passing – (Perham) Jenson Beachy 11-for-22, 222 yards, 2 touchdowns; (TRF) Grant Hartmann 7-for-18, 113 yards, interception; Justin Anenson 4-for-7, 51 yards, touchdown, interception.
Receiving – (Perham) Colton Hackel 6-149, touchdown; Ty Moser 2-28, touchdown; (TRF) Aaron Bruggeman 5-65, touchdown; Myles Johnson 1-53.