The Pequot Lakes Patriot football team earned its first state tournament berth since 2009 with a 56-22 victory over the Perham Yellowjackets in the Section 8-3A championship game at the Fargodome Thursday, Nov. 2.
"We have been wanting this game since our freshman year," quarterback Blake Lane said. "Everyone came out with a ton of heart, and that's all we wanted to do."
The Patriots kicked off to Perham to start the game, and the Yellowjackets got a quick touchdown on a 29-yard passing score with 10:15 left in the first quarter.
The Patriots tied the score roughly six minutes later when Nathan Traut went in for a one-yard score. Chase Larson followed with a successful extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
Two minutes later, the Patriots recovered a Perham fumble and proceeded to maintain possession for nearly six minutes, culminating with a 18-yard touchdown pass from Lane to Maxx Schindel and a successful extra point, giving the Patriots a 14-7 lead.
The Patriots quickly got the ball back when Garrett Wolf recovered another Yellowjacket fumble. That was followed by Calvin Maske picking up a 21-yard rush, bring the ball down to the 7-yard line. On the next play, Traut ran it in for the touchdown. A failed extra point brought the score to 20-7.
The Yellowjackets came right back with a score of their own when they scored on a 20-yard rush to bring the score to 20-14. That was as close as they would come the rest of the way.
The Patriots scored twice more in the first half, with the first one coming when Lane passed 34 yards to Traut for the touchdown with 3:19 left in the half. Traut ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 28-14.
The Yellowjackets picked up a few first downs on the ensuing drive, but failed to convert on fourth down, giving the Patriots the ball on downs.
Traut ran the ball 22 yards to the 16-yard line, then Deven Psyck ran it to the 1-yard line. With 23 seconds left, Lane ran it in from there to give the Patriots a 35-14 lead at halftime.
The Patriots started the second half with a 16-play, 61-yard drive that covered nearly seven minutes, with Traut capping the drive with another one-yard touchdown run with 5:10 left in the third quarter, making the score 42-14 after a successful point after by Larson.
They added one more score in the third quarter when Psyck rambled 28 yards for another score with four seconds left to make the score 49-14.
Perham added one more score in the fourth quarter on a six-yard run and successful two-point conversion.
The Patriots scored their final points with 4:49 left on a five-yard rush from Psyck and an extra point, bringing the final score to 56-22.
"We lost to Perham earlier this year, and I think everyone got a wake-up call," coach Chip Lohmiller said. "They dedicated themselves and they paid attention at practice. It's great because they guys are giving 100 percent, and that's all you can ask. They get along. They have great leadership from the seniors and I'm just proud of them and grateful to have these kids."
The Patriots rushed the ball 53 times for 359 yards, with Traut getting 160 on 25 carries and Psyck rushing for 102 on 14 tries.
Lane threw five completed passes for 138 yards, with Austin Young catching two for 80 yards.
The Patriots will play Mora in the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, in Alexandria.
"We need to keep up that aggressiveness and cut down on our penalties, and we should be good," Lane said.
Perham 7 7 0 8—22
Pequot Lakes 7 28 14 7—56
Per-Zack Zajac 29 pass from Jenson Beachy (Zack Peterson kick) 10:15
PL-Nathan Traut 1 run (Chae Larson kick) 4:26
PL-Maxx schindel 18 pass from Blake Lane (Larson kick) 8:46
PL-Traut 7 run (kick failed) 7:27
Per-Zack Peterson 20 run (Peterson kick) 5:26
PL-Traut 34 pass from Lane (Traut run) 3:19
PL-Lane 1 run (Larson kick) :20
PL-Traut 1 run (Larson kick) 5:10
PL-Deven Psyck 28 run (Larson kick) :04
Per-Beachy 6 run (Zajac pass from Beachy) 7:16
PL-Psyck 5 run (Larson kick) 4:49
Rushes-yards: PL 53-359, Per 24-129
Pass comp-att-int-yds: PL 5-7-0-138, Per 19-27-0-200
Total offense: PL 60-497, Per 51-329
Rushing: PL-Nathan Traut 25-160, Blake Lane 8-47, Austin Young 1-5, Calvin Maske 4-19, Deven Psyck 11-102, James Brennan 4-26; Per-Jenson Beachy 10-38, Ty Moser 1-14, Martin LaFond 3-22, Zack Peterson 9-53, Dawson Kellog 1-2
Passing: PL-Lane 5-7-138; Per-Beachy 19-26-200, LaFond 0-1
Receiving: PL-Maxx Schindel 2-29, Traut;1-34, Young 2-80, Per-Zack Zajac 9-102, Peterson 3-13, Josh Jeziorski 4-57, LaFond 1-12, Dylan Fudge 1-3