Awesome Blossoms offense vaults BP football into Class AA ratings

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 19, 2002

Blooming Prairie football coach claims his football team is a second-half team, but the Blossoms are off to a fast start.

At 3-0, Blooming Prairie is the only undefeated team in Section 2AA and one of two teams still without a loss in the Gopher Valley Conference. The other is United South Central, and the Rebels host BPHS in a clash of top-tier teams in the league this Friday night.

Blooming Prairie debuted on the Class AA state rankings furnished by The Associated Press, standing in a tie for ninth behind traditional powerhouse Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, who is 2-1. USC is not in the top 10, but the Rebels did receive votes this week for the first time all season.

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Coach Gimbel does not put all his stock into state rankings, but he knows Friday's football game in Wells will tell a tale.

"We're proud of being ranked, but we really have a lot to prove," Gimbel said. "We really don't have any easy games.

"USC is always physical on the offensive and defensive line. It'll be our open-field running against their power game."

Blooming Prairie's personnel has permitted Coach Gimbel to adopt a run-and-shoot offensive style made famous by the Houston Oilers teams of the late 1980s. The Blossoms have averaged 30.3 points per game in running to 3-0, but the defense has surrendered just under 23 points per outing.

"They love it," Gimbel said of the wide-spread offensive attack. "We have pretty good personnel for it.

"There's a long ways to go yet. The offense is playing well, but we've got some things to improve."

The Blossoms, behind junior quarterback Kraig Olson, have averaged 224 yards passing per game. USC is a slam-it-down-your-throat ground-gainer that has allowed less than nine points per game.

"Even though our offense is playing well, I'd say our offensive line play needs improvement," Gimbel said. "Kraig did a nice job of scrambling and keeping his eyes down the field (last week)."

With USC on the outside of the AA rankings, Coach Gimbel knows his team is marked.

The Blossoms escaped last week's tilt with Maple River on a deflected touchdown pass with 11 seconds remaining. Olson found Lynn Chheang for the score to give the Blossoms a 27-21 edge and a 3-0 record, boosting BPHS into the rankings and onto the firing range.

"That's about right, whenever you get ranked it's like you kind of put a bullseye on your back," he said.

Call Ross Thede at 434-2234 or e-mail him at