BP scores 8th straight conference crownPublished 11:07pm Saturday, October 13, 2012
FARIBAULT – It was a wild roller coaster ride for the No. 10 ranked Awesome Blossoms football team, but when it was over, they had an upset win over No. 3 ranked Faribault Bethlehem Academy and they had secured a share of their eighth straight Gopher Valley Conference Title at Bruce Smith Field Saturday.
BP (6-1 overall) clinched the 12-7 win when FBA threw a fade pass in the end zone on first and goal from the six-yard line to Tim Angell, their 6-3 wide receiver, and BP’s Michael Thomas out-jumped Angell and tipped the ball away. The tipped pass fell into the hands of BP corner Hunter Rudlong, who came up with the interception with under a minute to play and BP ran out the clock.
“With everything that happened and the way we’ve been playing, this is one of the sweetest (conference titles),” BP head coach Chad Gimbel said. “We haven’t been playing very well lately, but the kids fought and they kept their heads up. They pulled together and we showed a lot of heart and a lot of determination.”
Thomas was also involved in BP’s go-ahead TD, although not in a way he would’ve liked to. With the Blossoms facing a fourth and goal from the five, sophomore quarterback John Rumpza lobbed the ball under pressure to Thomas, who was stopped at the one-yard line. However, as he was lunging forward, Rumpza fumbled the ball into the end zone and Rudlong jumped on it for a score with 11:49 left in the game.
“I saw Mike turning all over the place, then I saw him flip back and the ball fell out,” Rudlong said. “I was just in the right spot I guess. Their coach was saying it was a touch back, but I knew it wasn’t a touch back. There’s no way.”
BP’s defense played a big part in the win, although it did yield 335 total yards, as it forced three big turnovers. The Blossoms forced a fumble and recovered it at their own eight-yard line near the end of the first half, Rudlong had his pick at the end of the game and Collin Yankoviak had an interception.
BP also stopped FBA, which averaged 35 points per game, when it had a second and goal from the BP 2-yard line early in the second half.
“We overhauled our defense this week,” Gimbel said. “They have a quarterback that’s elusive and for us to tackle and swarm the way we did, it was a good job. I give Matt Kittelson a lot of respect for coming up with the defense. He did a great job.”
FBA quarterback Kyle Filzen had just two rushes of 10 yards or more and he was held to less than five yards on his other eight carries. FBA’s other main ball carrier, Blake Langerud, had 17 carries with only two going for more than 10 yards. Langerud had zero rushing yards in the second half.
“Our linebackers really showed up today and our defensive ends contained them. We were worried about them getting outside,” said BP junior linebacker Weston Fiebiger. “Getting eight conference championships, that’s crazy. They’re a great team, but we just played really well.”
Fiebiger got the BP offense going as he had seven catches for 124 yards and a score. Fiebiger, who scored on a 36-yard pass in the first quarter, did most of his damage over the middle, which meant he took quite a few big hits from FBA’s safeties.
“I’ve got to do whatever for my team to win. It doesn’t matter if I get hit or not. You just get right back up,” he said. “(On the TD), I was kind of getting ready for another big hit, but I turned to the outside. I saw Tim Angell out in front of me, and then Hunter took him out and it was an easy walk into the end zone.”
For Rudlong, making the interception at the end of the game was a bit of redemption. FBA started its last drive at its own 27-yard line with 2:16 left, but it completed passes of 28 and 35 yards in Rudlong’s area to get down to the six.
“I kind of got burnt twice. I didn’t know where he was on the first one and I fell down on the second one,” Rudlong said. “At the end, I was just in the spot at that right time. This win means everything to us.”
The win was a big one for BP as it gives them a chance at the top-seed in the Section 1A tournament. If BP had lost to FBA, the Cardinals would’ve almost certainly had the top-seed.
Gimbel was also quick to point out that FBA has 17 seniors and the Blossoms started six sophomores – including Jake Decker, who ran for 58 yards, Scott Romeo, who played linebacker and ran for 32 yards, and Rumpza, who threw for 203 yards and didn’t turn the ball over.
“We told our sophomores to play like seniors and we saw some pretty big performances out of some kids today,” Gimbel said.
Rushing: Jake Decker, 10-for-58; Scott Romeo, 8-for-32; Cole Sunde, 1-for-0; John Rumpza, 14-for-(-12); Passing: Rumpza, 15-for-26, 203, TD; Receiving: Weston Fiebiger, 7-for-124, TD; Michael Thomas, 3-for-47; Sunde, 2-for-14; Hunter Rudlong, 2-for-12; Romeo, 1-for-6; Interceptions: Rudlong (1), Collin Yankoviak (1); Fumble recoveries: Romeo (1); Penalties: 3-for-30
BP 6 0 0 6 – 12
FBA 0 7 0 0 – 7
(BP) Fiebiger 36 pass from Rumpza (pass failed) (8 plays, 81 yards) 1:58
(FBA) Christian Von Ruden 33 pass from Kyle Filzen (kick good) (10 play, 70 yards) 9:25
(BP) Rudlong fumble recovery (pass failed) (10 plays, 69 yards) 11:49