This was much more to Fairmont's liking.
The Cardinals' six-point victory over Cannon Falls in the snow and cold of the Class 3A quarterfinals last week was more of a chore than they liked.
"The conditions weren't ideal for us," Fairmont coach Mat Mahoney said. "We're kind of a finesse passing team."
Out of the elements and operating on fast turf, Fairmont relaxed and play its style in defeating Perham 29-14 in a 3A semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Perham drove 69 yards on its opening possession and scored on Ty Moser's 3-yard dive to take a 6-0 lead.
Fairmont struck back quickly, scoring on a 32-yard, fourth-down pass from quarterback Garrett Myren to wide receiver Dustin Schultz. The duo had narrowly failed to connect on a similar route one play before.
"I just know he's always open," Myren said.
Leading 8-6, Fairmont stiffened on defense, shutting down Perham running lanes and tormenting Yellowjackets quarterback Jensen Beachy when he was looking to pass.
The Cardinals increased their lead on their next possession after Myren's 58-yard pass to running back Jordan Wolter put them deep into Perham territory. Three plays later, Myren and Schultz hooked up again, this time for an 11-yard touchdown and a 15-6 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Cardinals scored twice in a span of just over four minutes. Wolter's 74-yard touchdown run was followed by cornerback Daniel Reiter's 39-yard interception return for a commanding 29-6 lead.
Perham added a touchdown to cut the deficit to 29-14.
Although too young then to remember much, Myren said the 2011 team — the only other Fairmont team to play in a Prep Bowl (it lost to St. Croix Lutheran) — was a standard the Cardinals have strived to reach.
"Coach is always talking about that 2011 season, and that pushed us all year," he said. "Every single week, 2011 this, 2011 that. We want to be the new 2011."