Beachy breaks Perham passing records in 40-6 victory over Park Rapids
Park Rapids' defense didn't have an answer on how to stop Jenson Beachy and the Perham passing attack in the regular-season finale on Oct. 18.
Beachy broke school records for passing yards (435), touchdown passes (six) and total offense (485) in a game in leading the Yellowjackets to a 40-6 Section 8AA and Midwest Blue District football victory at Perham.
"I knew they would throw the ball on us. Our run defense is tough, but we continue to work on our secondary," said Park Rapids head coach Aaron Morris. "We changed some things up in practice so hopefully they will just start to react and not think."
The Yellowjackets set the tone for the game on the opening series by marching 59 yards in only four plays to open the scoring. Beachy hit Ty Moser on a 43-yard route and Colton Ditterich kicked the extra point as Perham led 7-0 just 53 seconds into the game.
Park Rapids marched into Perham territory on its opening series as a 10-yard run by Tristin Persons and an 11-yard carry by Jason Haas led the Panthers to the Yellowjackets' 49. Three plays later, Tanner Knutson intercepted a pass and returned it 55 yards to the Park Rapids 11.
Two plays later, Beachy and Moser connected on an 11-yard TD pass and Ditterich added the conversion kick to give Perham a 14-0 lead with 9:37 to play in the first quarter.
Both teams exchanged punts and fumbles before Perham extended its lead early in the second quarter.
Jake Reish had a 13-yard reception on Park Rapids' third series, but that drive stalled and resulted in a punt. Martin LaFond's 37-yard return set the Yellowjackets up at the Park Rapids 28, but a fumble on the next play ended that threat.
Cameron Hoyt had an 18-yard catch on the ensuing series, but that drive also stalled. A 54-yard punt by Zach Severtson pinned the Yellowjackets at the Perham 2.
The Panthers' defense held and forced a punt, starting their next series at the Perham 49. A fumble on the first play from scrimmage gave Perham possession at the 48.
A 12-yard catch by Dylan Fudge on second-and-15, a 14-yard run by Beachy and a 20-yard catch by LaFond set up an 11-yard TD pass from Beachy to Josh Jeriorski. That pushed Perham's lead to 20-0 with 11:44 to go in the first half.
Haas hit Nathan David on a 24-yard route and rushed 6 yards on third-and-2 as the Panthers marched to the Perham 28. Three incomplete passes ended that drive at the 25.
After exchanging punts, the Yellowjackets used a 16-yard catch by Zach Zajac and an 11-yard catch by Fudge to reach the Park Rapids 37. Spencer Fritze recovered a fumble at the Park Rapids 41 to stop that drive.
Perham's defense forced another punt, which led to a four-play, 77-yard scoring drive. Jeriorski's 42-yard reception set up a 35-yard TD pass from Beachy to Moser. Ditterich's kick made it 27-0 with 4:01 left before the break.
Haas stopped Perham's next series by intercepting a pass at the Park Rapids 48 and returning it to the Perham 20. A penalty for an illegal block during the return gave the Panthers possession at the Perham 30. LaFond ended that threat with an interception in the end zone.
The Yellowjackets then went 80 yards in only three plays to pad their lead. Beachy hit Zajac for a 25-yard gain to begin the drive before Beachy and LaFond connected on a 50-yard scoring route. Ditterich's kick was blocked, but the Yellowjackets led 33-0 with 1:27 left in the first half.
Park Rapids was forced to punt for the seventh time, but Jack Hensel recovered a fumble at the Perham 20. David's 9-yard catch on third down was followed by an 11-yard TD run by Haas as the Panthers cut the gap to 33-6 with 31 seconds showing.
LaFond returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards and Beachy followed with a 15-yard run as the Yellowjackets marched to the Park Rapids 25 before an incomplete pass ended the half.
Perham's defense sealed the win by stopping two Park Rapids drives on downs and forcing two turnovers in the second half.
The Panthers opened the second half with a 10-play, 62-yard drive as a 21-yard reception by Severtson, a 12-yard run by Haas and a 23-yard run by Severtson led to a first down at the Perham 17. That drive stalled at the 10.
Severtson returned a short punt 9 yards to the Perham 25, but a sack ended that Park Rapids drive at the 31.
On Perham's third play after taking over on offense, Beachy hit Moser for a 66-yard TD and Ditterich added the extra-point kick for a 40-6 advantage with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter.
Both teams exchanged punts before the Panthers put together another scoring drive. Cody Dravis followed a 21-yard run with a 15-yard gain and a pair of 6-yard carries as the Panthers marched 57 yards in eight plays. Wyatt Guck stopped that threat with an interception at the 4.
Park Rapids' defense forced a punt as the Panthers regained possession at their own 39. A 13-yard run by Persons and an 8-yard run by Joey Klein gave Park Rapids a first down at the Perham 37, but a fumble ended that drive.
The Yellowjackets took over at their own 39 and used a 22-yard run by Finn Diggins to run out the final 4:44.
Five turnovers proved costly for the Panthers, who finished with a season-high 274 offensive yards to top the previous high of 249 against Fergus Falls in Week 7. Haas completed 10 of 29 passes for 102 yards, Dravis rushed seven times for 53 yards and David had six receptions for 60 yards as the Panthers compiled 17 first downs and held the ball for 23:53.
Moser broke school records for receiving yards (178) and TD receptions (four) while tying the school record for passes caught (nine) in a game. The Yellowjackets also finished with 753 all-purpose yards to set another school record. Beachy led Perham's ground game with six carries for 50 yards while Diggins added 49 yards on seven carries.
"I thought we moved the ball all night, but it came down to mental mistakes, which have affected us all year. We need to find a way to avoid these so we can play a full mistake-free game," said Morris. "We've stressed all year how important it is to keep our offense on the field. We need to take better care of the ball and make decisions that will give us a chance to win."
The win lifted Perham to 4-1 against section teams and 6-2 in the district and overall. Park Rapids fell to 0-5 in section games and 0-8 in the district and overall.
In the other regular-season finales, Pequot Lakes blanked East Grand Forks 27-0, Fergus Falls defeated Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 30-13 and Detroit Lakes defeated Thief River Falls 46-7.
Fergus Falls topped the district standings at 7-1 while Pequot Lakes and D-G-F joined Perham at 6-2. Detroit Lakes finished at 3-5 with East Grand Forks (2-6) and Thief River Falls (1-7) following.
Perham earned the No. 1 seed for the section playoffs and Pequot Lakes earned the No. 2 seed to earn first-round byes. D-G-F hosted Park Rapids and East Grand Forks hosted Thief River Falls as the section playoffs began on Oct. 24. The winner between Park Rapids and D-G-F travels to Pequot Lakes for a semifinal game Saturday.
"These players have held their heads high all season and never gave up. Things did not go our way, but every time they stepped on the field, they gave it their all. I am very proud of them as going winless is hard, but you need to find the positives and build on them," said Morris. "We talked about how the new season starts now and right now we are 0-0. I know a lot of people look at records, but in my mind I look at attitude, effort and character. It's a new season and things start over."
Park Rapids 0 6 0 0...6
Perham 14 19 7 0...40
PER--Moser 43 pass from Beachy (Ditterich kick)
PER--Moser 11 pass from Beachy (Ditterich kick)
PER--Jeziorski 11 pass from Beachy (kick failed)
PER--Moser 25 pass from Beachy (Ditterich kick)
PER--LaFond 50 pass from Beachy (kick failed)
PR--Ja. Haas 11 run (pass failed)
PER--Moser 66 pass from Beachy (Ditterich kick)
RUSHING. Park Rapids: Dravis 7-53, Persons 9-39, Ja. Haas 15-33, Severtson 3-13, Klein 2-11, Benson 1-5, Je. Haas 2-4, S. Fritze 1-0, Vang 1-(-6). Perham: Beachy 6-50, Diggins 7-49, Peterson 5-21.
PASSING. Park Rapids: Ja. Haas 10-29-2 for 102 yards; Severtson 3-10-1 for 20 yards. Perham: Beachy 23-36-1 for 435 yards.
RECEIVING. Park Rapids: David 6-60, Sevetson 1-21, Reish 2-17, Hoyt 1-15, Persons 2-12, S. Fritze 1-(-3). Perham: Moser 9-178, LaFond 5-129, Zajac 3-50, Fudge 3-28, Jeziorski 2-53, Peterson 1-(-3).
KICKOFF RETURNS. Park Rapids: Benson 4-49, Klein 1-13, S. Fritze 1-6, K. Brandt 1-(-4). Perham: LaFond 1-42, Moser 1-28.
PUNT RETURNS. Park Rapids: Severtson 2-28, Je. Haas 1-3. Perham: LaFond 1-37, Zajac 1-1, Knutson 1-(-6).