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Football: Patriots' season ends in Perham

Running back Nic Kotaska rushes into the end zone in the Patriots' game against Perham on Saturday, Oct. 27. Jason Groth / Perham Focus 1 / 3
Zach Jorgens looks to rush past the Perham defense on Saturday, Oct. 27. Jason Groth / Perham Focus2 / 3
Bode Magnuson, left, and Tim Ryan celebrate a Patriot victory over Park Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Dan Determan / Echo Journal 3 / 3

Cale Wolf passed for 211 yards and three touchdowns but the No. 4-seeded Pequot Lakes Patriots were outscored 53-33 by the top-seeded Perham Yellowjackets in the Section 8-3A semifinals Saturday, Oct. 27.

"We did not back down," head coach Bill Magnuson said. "I'm just really proud of the effort. They just never gave up. We cut (the lead) to 33-27 just at the end of the third quarter, and we thought 'Holy cow, this is exactly where we want to be,' but then Perham lined up and just pounded us with their run ... They got a few more touchdowns and we had to take some chances with blitzes, and they got a big, long run through. It was a great effort by the Patriots and by the seniors."

Nic Kotaska opened the game's scoring with a 5-yard run in the first quarter and a 3-yard run by Zach Jorgens had the Patriots within 16-13 in the second quarter. However, the Yellowjackets seized a 32-19 halftime lead scoring two TDs sandwiched around a 42-yard pass from Wolf to James Brennan.

Wolf found Brennan again in the third with a 17-yard strike that brought the Patriots back to within 32-26.

The fourth quarter belonged to Perham as it outscored Pequot 21-7. A late Wolf to Bode Magnuson 12-yard pass accounted for the final Patriot score.

Jorgens led the Pequot ground attack with 98 yards on 20 carries as the Patriots finished on the short side of total yards 578-335.

Perham senior quarterback Jenson Beachy ran for 163 yards and a score on 23 carries and completed 12 of 19 passes for 154 yards and two more TDs.

The Patriots finish the season with a record of 5-5.

"This group has been hiding behind the group that graduated last year - which was extremely talented - but they waited for this opportunity to show what they can do, and I think they showed people that they know how to play football too," Magnuson said. "To finish 5-5, to beat Fergus Falls for the first time in program history, to take on the top three teams in the section and only lose by a total of seven points showed that we could play with anybody ... I thought they really did an outstanding job."

Pequot Lakes 6 13 7 7—33

Perham 16 16 0 21—53

First quarter

PL-Nic Kotaska 5 run (kick fail)

P-Jenson Beachy 9 run (Beachy run)

P-Colton Hackel 11 pass from Beachy (Ty Moser run)

Second quarter

PL-Zach Jorgens 3 run (Daltin Ackerman kick)

P-Moser 3 run (Zack Peterson pass from Beachy)

PL-James Brennan 42 pass from Cale Wolf (run fail)

P-Hackel 14 pass from Beachy (Peterson pass from Beachy)

Third quarter

PL-Brennan 17 pass from Wolf (Ackerman kick)

Fourth quarter

P-Moser 4 run (Josh Jeziorski pass from Beachy)

P-Dawson Kellogg 6 run (run fail)

PL-Bode Magnuson 12 pass from Wolf (Ackerman kick)

P-Moser 61 run (Beachy kick)

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: PL 36-124, P 53-379

Pass comp-att-int-yds: PL16-36-0-211, P 13-20-3-199

Total offense: PL 335, P 578

Individual leaders

Rushing: PL-Zach Jorgens 20-98, Bode Magnuson 3-21, Nic Kotaska 7-15; P-Jenson Beachy 23-163, Ty Moser 12-110

Passing: PL-Cale Wolf 16-36-0-211; P-Jenson Beachy 12-19-2-154

Receiving: PL-James Brennan 5-100, Tyler Larson 1-49, Nic Kotaska 1-33, Bode Magnuson 7-32; P-Josh Jeziorski 3-96

Overall: PL finishes 5-5.

Patriots top Panthers in section quarters

The Patriot football team overcame a strong rushing attack and a series of mental errors to top the Park Rapids Panthers Panthers 19-14 in the team's first postseason game of the year.

"We had some great leadership from our seniors," quarterback Wolf said. "This was their last game on this field, so they stepped up big. That is a tough team in Park Rapids. They play very hard, so I'm glad we could come out with the win."

"We knew it was going to be physical," Magnuson said. "We kind of shot ourselves in the foot with 12 penalties for 87 yards and a touchdown called back. We haven't done that for most of the year, so it was a little surprising. I'm proud of our kids. It was a playoff game, so you don't care if it's pretty or ugly. It was a win."

While the Panthers took the lead early, the Patriots responded fairly quickly with a touchdown pass from Wolf to Bode Magnuson. Though the play likely should have ended with a gain of roughly five yards, the sophomore receiver doubled back and took the ball to the opposite side of the field before marching down for an 85-yard score.

Roughly 12 minutes later, the Patriots would score again when Wolf pitched the ball to Nic Kotaksa, who then passed it to Dylin Ackerman for a 32-yard touchdown as Pequot Lakes went into halftime with a 13-7 lead.

A few minutes into the second half, Wolf saw an opening in the Panther defense and marched the ball into the end zone from 33 yards out.

"I stepped up in the pocket and no one was there, so I decided to take it," Wolf said. "It doesn't happen very much - I don't run the ball very often - so it was a fun time for me."

Pequot Lakes would allow one more touchdown in the fourth quarter, but would intercept a Park Rapids pass with 7 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Pequot Lakes 7 6 6 0—19

Park Rapids 7 0 0 7—14

First quarter

PR-Cody Dravis 18 run (Zach Fritze kick)

PL-Bode Magnuson 85 pass from Cale Wolf (Dylin Ackerman kick)

Second quarter

PL-Dylin Ackerman 32 pass from Nic Kotaska (kick failed)

Third quarter

PL-Cale Wolf 33 run (PAT failed)

Fourth quarter

PR-Tristin Persons 4 run (Zach Fritze kick)

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: PR 56-208, PL 15-67

Pass comp-att-int-yds: PR 6-12-0-45 PL 13-17-0-195

Total offense: PR 68-253, PL 32-262

Individual leaders

Rushing: PR-Tristin Persons 19-117; PL-Nic Kotaska 3-45

Passing: PR-Spencer Fritze 6-12-45; PL-Cale Wolf 12-16-163

Receiving: PR-Tristin Persons 2-29; PL-Bode Magnuson 4-96

Dan Determan

Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.

(218) 855-5879