Perham powers past EskoQuarterback Jordan Hein ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in powering the Yellowjackets past Esko 42-8 in a Class AAA state quarterfinal Saturday at a cold, windy, misty Public Schools Stadium in Duluth.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
DULUTH – Quarterback Jordan Hein said he and his Perham football teammates observed plenty of film featuring Esko during their week-long preparation for the state tournament.
Hein’s latest film wouldn’t be too bad to watch, either.
Hein ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in powering the Yellowjackets past Esko 42-8 in a Class AAA state quarterfinal Saturday at a cold, windy, misty Public Schools Stadium in Duluth.
Hein, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior, found teammate Payton Jordahl on a 36-yard screen pass to cap the game’s opening drive; he later added a pair of 9- and 5-yard scores in the second quarter. Hein finished with a game-best 131 yards rushing and 95 more through the air, explaining the climate was never an issue.
“We read all about Esko in the papers and watched them on film, but we played well here tonight,” said Hein, dripping wet after the game. “But the weather definitely helped us with that.”
Weather was hardly a factor in a game that Perham (10-1) led 28-0 by halftime and never trailed, sending things into running time in the final quarter. The Yellowjackets now face Blue Earth Area in a state semifinal Saturday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Hein, being recruited by nearly 30 Division I and II colleges, will lead the way.
“He’s amazing; but he’d be the first to tell you that he couldn’t do it without his teammates,” Perham Coach Mike Jordahl said. “He definitely is the fuel to the fire, that’s for sure.”
“He’s a gifted athlete,” said Esko Coach Bill Hudspith. “We’re hearing that he might be going to [the University of] Wisconsin.”
As Hein had his way with the Eskomos, Hudspith noted his team failed to establish themselves against the fifth-ranked Yellowjackets. Esko’s only score came on Earl Brinkley’s 25-yard touchdown run in the last two minutes. Brandt Hintsala added the two-point conversion.
“[Perham] was dialed in; they’re used to that level of play,” Hudspith said. “They had some horsepower on defense and we just never got going. We never got in sync.”
Esko senior Riley Mudek agreed.
“We had a pretty strong offense, both running and passing, all year, but they just shut us down,” said Mudek, a running back with roughly 40 yards on 15 carries Saturday. “They were a tough team. I give them credit. They were one of the best teams we played all year. We just couldn’t stop them.”
The Eskomos finished 8-3, making their first trip to state since 2005. Mudek, a three-year varsity player, focused on the positives after the game.
“State was an accomplishment; we haven’t been there in a while,” he said. “We gave it our all. That’s kind of the Esko way.”
“We were not really a big team, or a fast team, but we found a way to hang around, and play well when we needed to,” Hudspith added about his Eskomos. “This was a very resilient team. I think there are a lot of people who didn’t think we would get this far.”