Column: Reasons to watch Blossoms and Rebels square off

Published 10:43 pm Monday, October 31, 2011

Before the high school football season even started, I wrote a column saying that I hoped to see the Blooming Prairie and Southland football teams square off in the postseason.

After Saturday’s results, that matchup will happen Friday at 7 p.m. in BP. Here are some reasons to go watch this much anticipated matchup.

It’s playoff football

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There’s nothing more exciting in sports than a do-or-die game, especially in football. Emotions run high, everything is magnified and the men are separated from the boys.

I’ll tell you right now that neither BP or Southland is expecting to lose on Friday and somebody has to walk away with their season over. That’s riveting stuff.

Speed to burn

I don’t know who’s faster between Southland’s Mike Goergen and BP’s Gabe Kartes, but maybe we’ll finally find out. Both players have spread out opposing defenses all season long as they are a threat to go long on returns and out of the offensive set.

While both are threats in the return game, Kartes usually does his offensive damage through the air and Goergen does it on the ground.

The beauty of the running game

If you want to see football the way it was played in the early years, the Rebels put on a pretty good clinic of how to do it. They love to run first, second and third and they spread it out between Goergen, and two other deadly backs in Tyler Kressin and Nick Schmitz.

The Rebels will ground it out until the defense is either beaten down or giving up.

While it does create some big plays, the passing game is used as little as possible.

The beauty of the passing game

They ran for over 300 yards against Goodhue, but the Awesome Blossoms have also had one of the most potent passing attacks in the state in the past few years. Quarterback Luc Zellmer has 94 career TD passes and is seven touchdowns from tying the all-time Minnesota record.

He has options all over the field he can throw to and when BP is in its rhythm, it can spread the field and pick apart a defense.

Feel good stories

Speaking of Zellmer, the senior quarterback had to sit and watch BP for five games as he suffered a hand injury in BP’s only loss of the season. Backup Isaiah Toqaum held down the position for Zellmer while he was out, but now, after returning against Goodhue, BP’s all-time leading passer gets to decide his own fate.

For Southland, the second round almost seemed like a curse for head coach Shawn Kennedy. The team had never get able to advance past that round and usually their own mistakes led to their demise.

In fact, Southland hasn’t played in a section title game since 1991.

After playing a complete game on Saturday, it’ll be interesting see how the Rebels handle what will be their biggest game in the last two decades.

Intensity vs. Intensity

You have to watch Kressin run to know how bad he wants to win. While he’s not the biggest back in the world, he throws his body into piles of defenders much larger and doesn’t back down from anyone.

On the other sideline, you have Ryan McCabe, who played nose tackle last season, despite being very undersized. This season, he’s brought passion on both sides of the ball.

McCabe and Kressin aren’t the biggest players on either sideline, but they both play with a lot of heart.

It’s a long time coming

For the last five years, these two squads have been amongst the top 11-man squads in the area and they’ve never played each other.

Needless to say, there’s probably a lot of fans from both towns who can’t wait to see what happens.

Friday night lights

There’s something about the lights on Friday nights that seem to bring out the best in small town communities.

You’ll see parents, siblings, friends, teachers, alumni, business owners, and local residents all coming out to cheer on their town’s team as if they were watching an NFL game.