Blooming Prairie Rides Defense, Big Plays to State Title
An amazing game. A fantastic season. An awesome team. Blooming Prairie is the state champion after winning the Class A Prep Bowl Friday at US Bank Stadium 41-15 over BOLD for their first football title. BP's defense was stellar, dominating the top-ranked team in a collision of powerhouse programs.
Gabe Hagen caught eight passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, one of which landed on the ESPN Top Ten list. On defense he tipped a pass from the BOLD quarterback to himself and ran it in for an 18-yard interception return touchdown for the opening score of the game. In the post game television interview, coach Chad Gimbel said big players need to make big plays in a game like this one.
Defensive lineman Jarrett Larson was named the MSHSL Most Valuable Teammate award winner for BP after a magnificent game with multiple sacks. The team sacked BOLD's Jordan Sagedahl, a Mr. Football finalist, six times in the first half alone. On offense, the BP line protected Kaden Thomas to allow him to throw for four touchdowns.
While it took a while to get the ground game going for Blooming Prairie, they were able to salt away most of the fourth quarter, leading to Matthew Pryor's second touchdown to put an exclamation point on the victory.
Hagen's interception return put the Blossoms up 7-0 barely two minutes into the game. BOLD later took a short-lived 8-7 lead with 4:35 to go in the opening quarter. BP responded three-and-half-minutes later with a middle screen to Pryor for a nine-yard touchdown. A big pass to Mitchell Fiebiger set up the score. BP went up 14-8 and never trailed again.
Blooming Prairie extended the lead to 21-8 with about four minutes to go in the first half on a Thomas-to-Hagen connection from about 25 yards that included Hagen breaking a tackle. BOLD's ensuing drive was helped along by a penalty that negated back-to-back sacks and the Warriors pulled within 21-15 at halftime.
Dylan Nirk and other members of the BP defensive line spent plenty of time in the offensive backfield making sacks and tackles for a loss. BOLD had minus-17 yards rushing in the first half.
Just before the second half, Gimbel said they wanted to keep pushing the pace and wear out the BOLD defensive line. BP briefly knocked Sagedahl out of the game early in the second half. Pryor made a great play while breaking up a pass in the red zone shortly after that.
BP took over on downs and drove the field. Bradley Simon made a big catch along the way. The drive ended with the Play of the Game. Hagen, who will play Division II football at Minnesota State University-Mankato, jumped in the air to fight a defended for the ball, then fell to his back on the turf in the end zone and tipped the ball to himself, securing it with his left hand for the touchdown. BP's lead grew to 28-15 with 5:44 to go in the third quarter with the play, which earned a spot on ESPN's nightly countdown.
The Awesome Blossoms added a Thomas-to-Karson Vigeland 11-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter for a 34-15 lead.
On Saturday's KRFO Coaches Show, Gimbel mentioned Zach Weber did a great job defending BOLD's top offensive threat at receiver.
The title is the third team championship for Blooming Prairie High School, joining the 1984 girls track team and 2013 fast pitch softball team in the school's trophy case.