Blossoms stay grounded before trip to the dome

Published 9:57 pm Thursday, November 19, 2009

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — If Blooming Prairie wants a good scouting report on its upcoming opponent in the Class ‘A’ state football semifinals, all it has to do is look in the mirror.

Minneota (12-0 overall) balances the run and the pass equally and features an aggressive defense, much like the Awesome Blossoms (11-1 overall) do.

“It’s pretty much two clones of each other,” BP head coach Chad Gimbel said. “We both have big wide receivers outside and we both look to run and throw equally.”

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No. 5 ranked BP will take on No. 3 ranked Minneota at the Metrodome in Minneapolis this Saturday at 10:15 a.m.

The one difference between the two teams is that Minneota has played in a few more blowouts. They average 51.3 points while allowing 9.4 per game and BP averages 35.4 points and allows 13.25 per game.

The Vikings were tested just twice all season, when they beat Dawson/Boyd 33-26 in the regular season and 22-13 in the Section 5A title game.

Minneota has a play-making quarterback in Sam Derynck, who was 14-of-19 passing for 205 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-17 win over unbeaten Barnesville in the state quarterfinals. Their running back Brandon Anderson has rushed for over 1,000 yards and 19 TDs.

The Blossoms, whose only loss came with starting quarterback Luc Zellmer out of the lineup, are unlikely to be intimidated as they are coming off a convincing 21-8 win over a New Ulm Cathedral team that was ranked No. 1 in Class ‘A’ and also had a lot of blowouts on its resume.

“I think we match up pretty well with them,” BP center Aaron Krejci said. “It should be a good, high scoring game, but hopefully our defense can step up and shut them down.”

The pressures of playing a game in an NFL stadium with their season on the line hasn’t shaken the Blossoms at all.

“As big a deal as it is, we’re trying to just keep it normal,” Krejci said. “Right now it really hasn’t sunk in how far we’ve gone. I’m sure when we get to the dome it’ll sink in.”

Gimbel said the Blossoms have stayed grounded this week and focused on football. The thoughts of playing in the dome have yet to rattle them or get them overexcited.

“We’ve stayed pretty focused and we know exactly what we’ve got to do,” BP wide receiver/defensive back Justen Ingvalson said. “We’ve got to be focused if we want to beat a good Minneota team. We’re ready to do it and we think we’ve got a good shot to keep going.”

While the Blossoms are focusing on football, the town of Blooming Prairie is focusing on supporting their team. Main Street is littered with signs supporting the Blossoms and the town put signs up in front of players’ homes.

“It’s pretty exciting to have every one behind us, along with the coaches and the entire school,” Ingvalson said. “It’s just been a fun week.”

Gimbel said his team’s biggest strength is staying grounded, so he thinks they’ll handle any nerves just fine. The Blossoms didn’t falter when they trailed Goodhue 14-7 at the half in the Section 1A title game.

“It starts with senior leadership and they’ve been unbelievable,” he said. “Before a game you almost think you’re going to a funeral. They don’t get real excited. But in situations like that, that’s what you need.”

Playing in the dome may be the ultimate test to see if this group can keep its cool.

“This is something different than either one of these teams has gone through all year,” Gimbel said. “You just don’t know what’s going to happen. It comes down to whatever team can keep their emotions in check.”

The winner of the BP-Minneota game will play in the Prep Bowl the Friday after Thanksgiving.