Blooming Prairie's Michael Thomas converts on a fake punt in the first quarter against Goodhue in the Section 1A semifinals in Blooming Prairie last Saturday. BP hosts Faribault BA for the Section 1A title. -- Herald File Photo

Blossoms are back in the title game

Published 8:22pm Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — The Awesome Blossoms football team is about to play in its sixth straight Section 1A title game, and while it may seem a like it’s becoming a little bit of a routine, that’s probably a good thing for Blooming Prairie.

A lot of BP’s younger players haven’t been on this big of a stage before, BP head coach Chad Gimbel said they’re pretty familiar with how to handle it from watching BP teams do it in years past.

“The big thing is the atmosphere around the school helps to make it more like just another game,” Gimbel said. “It used to be that all that was talked about the entire week before the section title game was the game, now there isn’t a lot of hype about it around the school. That helps the kids stay focused and relaxed.”

BP (9-1 overall) will see a familiar opponent on the opposite sideline as it will host No. 2 seeded Faribault Bethlehem Academy (8-2 overall) in BP Friday at 7 p.m.

The Blossoms beat FBA 12-7 Oct. 13 in a game that saw both offenses contained. FBA is averaging 31.1 points per game, but it allows just 7.6 per contest and BP averages 37.7 per game and allows 20.5 per game.

The Cardinals did a number on BP’s passing game in the first meeting as they brought a lot of pressure on quarterback John Rumpza and held Michael Thomas, who had 3 TDs in a semifinal win over Goodhue, to just 46 yards receiving.

FBA had its own chances denied as it couldn’t score on a second and goal from the two and the Cardinals threw an interception from BP’s six yard line to end the game.

“Both team’s defenses have been very stingy down in the red zone,” Gimbel said. “Better execution is the key (for our pass protection),” Gimbel said. “They did a good job with a push pull technique that we haven’t seen before. We have been working on keeping our base and getting a better punch on them.”

BP played a Goodhue team that runs a similar offense to FBA this past Friday, but Gimbel said that the Cardinals will take it to another level.

“Goodhue was a very good test for us, BA’s line is more physical so we are going to have to match that physicality,” Gimbel said.

The winner of the BP-FBA game will advance to the Class ‘A’ state football quarterfinals and would play the winner of Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s (9-0 overall) and New Ulm Cathedral (7-3 overall) Nov. 10 at Rochester Community and Technical College at 6 p.m.

BP has played in two of the last three Class ‘A’ state football tournaments and it lost to the eventual champ in the semifinals both years.

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