Even though the Awesome Blossoms were playing in their first state championship, they were facing a familiar foe after playing the BOLD Warriors in last year’s state semi-final.
However, after losing by 30 points last year, this time it was Blooming Prairie who steamrolled BOLD 41-15 to earn their first state championship.
While the Awesome Blossoms’ offense was rolling having scored 40 or more points in each of their first two state tournament games, it was the defense that got the scoring started. It happened when defensive lineman Luke Larkoski pressured Warriors’ quarterback Jordan Sagedahl into throwing a pass that was batted by defensive end Gabe Hagen who then caught it and returned it 18 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
The Warriors responded with a touchdown of their own and a successful two-point conversion to take an 8-7 lead.
However, just a few minutes later, running back Matthew Pryor caught a nine-yard pass from quarterback Kaden Thomas to give the Awesome Blossoms a 14-8 lead.
Hagen recorded his second touchdown when he caught a 25-yard touchdown pass to increase Blooming Prairie’s lead to 21-8.
In the waning minutes of the second quarter, the Warriors added another touchdown to trim the Awesome Blossom’s halftime lead to just six points, 21-15.
However, in the second half, it was all Blooming Prairie as they scored 20 points and held BOLD scoreless thanks to their relentless defense.
It all began when Hagen made a juggling highlight-reel catch in the end zone to give Blooming Prairie a 28-15 lead.
After that, the Awesome Blossoms’ defense took over.
BOLD Head Coach Derek Flann said the Awesome Blossoms’ size advantage caused the Warriors to rely heavily on their passing game.
“They were physical up front,” he said. “When you go into a game and the other team’s wide receivers outweigh your offensive line it’s a tough task and being able to run the ball we knew would be a difficult thing.”
Blooming Prairie Head Coach Chad Gimbel added that his defensive line excelled at harassing Sagedahl.
“They were awesome. Our goal coming into the game was to get pressure on the quarterback, make him uncomfortable, and make him miss throws because if he had time, he was going to pick us apart,” he said. “They’ve been awesome all year and again today. They came up huge.”
With their defense shutting down the Warriors’ offense, the Awesome Blossoms’ offense kept momentum on their side by scoring their second touchdown of the second half, an 11-yard touchdown reception by Karson Vigeland.
After another defensive stop, Pryor added a six-yard touchdown run to put the finishing touch on Blooming Prairie’s undefeated season.
That last touchdown also meant that the Awesome Blossoms had won all of their games this season by 20 or more points.
However, all that mattered to the coaches and players was that they could now call themselves state champions.