Fairmont tops Perham in Minnesota football semifinals

Perham's Jenson Beachy eludes a tackler during Saturday's Minnesota Class 3A state semifinal football game at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Jason Groth / Forum News Service

MINNEAPOLIS - The connection of Garrett Myren and Dustin Schultz gave Fairmont the spark it needed defeating Perham 29-14 in the Class 3A state football semifinals at US Bank Stadium Saturday.

Perham marched down field to score on the game’s opening drive, but Myren and Schultz turned the momentum with a fourth-down touchdown pass for 32-yards and sparked the Fairmont offense in the first half.

“That was really big,” Myren said. “That was a juice-booster for us. We got the 2-point conversion and we were up 8-6 and we just thought we were in a ballgame and let’s just keep pushing it. “

Myren passed for 171 yards and two touchdowns in the win, both of the touchdowns going to Schultz. Myren completed 10 of his 15 passes, with five of them going to Schultz for 83 yards.

Fairmont head coach Mat Mahoney said it was a play that really got the Cardinals going.

“It was one of those plays that really sparked us. Once our team gets sparked, we really feed off of that energy and continued to build on it,” Mahoney said.

The Myren-to-Schultz connection struck again in the second quarter, giving Fairmont a 15-6 lead on an 11-yard touchdown.

The Yellowjackets had success at times against a stingy Fairmont defense, however, turnovers hurt the Yellowjackets in the game. They finished with three turnovers, including Daniel Reiter’s 39-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter.

“We didn’t want to come out on that end of it, obviously. We had some crucial turnovers at certain points in the game and that killed some of the drives,” Perham head coach Kyle Knutson said. “Initially, in the first half, they were getting to our line a bit. Our kids came back in the second half and fought hard inside, it turned out to be not enough.”

Jordan Wolter had a big second half on the ground for Fairmont in trying to grind down the clock. He rushed for 159 yards, with 139 of them coming in the second half, including a 74-yard scamper after a Perham punt.

Perham cut into the lead with a Colton Hackel 1-yard touchdown run. Jenson Beachy hit Hackel for the 2-point conversion to make it 29-14 in the fourth quarter.

Perham had an opportunity to get back into the game in the fourth after a Fairmont turnover, its only turnover in the game. However, a stingy defense tightened up and stopped the high-powered Perham offense.

“They are a good football team and we knew coming into this game it wasn’t going to be easy,” Beachy said. “They were sending a lot of pressure on every single play. It was tough to sit back in the pocket for super long and find open receivers. They played good defense.”

Fairmont improved its mark to 11-1 and will take on Rochester Lourdes in the Class 3A championship game. Perham ends its season with a 9-3 mark.

“Obviously, we didn’t get to where we wanted to be, but coming into the season our goal was to get to the state championship game. We stopped just a little short this year,” Beachy said. “Ever since we were seventh graders, people always said we had a great group of guys and we could do great things in the future. We knew coming into the senior year that we could do it. We had to dig down deep, play with a lot of heart and energy of every single game.”

P 6 0 0 8–14

F 8 7 14 0–29

P - Moser 3 run (run failed)

F - Myren 32 pass to Schultz (Nuss pass from Myren)

F - Schultz 11 pass from Myren (Hested kick)

F - Wolter 74 run (Hested kick)

F - Reiter 39 interception return (Hested kick)

P - Hackel 1 run (Hackel pass from Beachy)