Blossoms are stepping up on defense

Published 6:49 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2013

From left: Blooming Prairie linebackers Scott Romeo, Weston Fiebiger and Ryan Doerhoefer have given the Awesome Blossoms a boost on defense this season. -- -- Rocky Hulne/

From left: Blooming Prairie linebackers Scott Romeo, Weston Fiebiger and Ryan Doerhoefer have given the Awesome Blossoms a boost on defense this season. — — Rocky Hulne/

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Usually when the Blooming Prairie football team comes up in conversation, the subject is their high powered offense that produces big points in the passing game.

This season the defense is making its case to be the focal point for BP.

The No. 5 ranked Awesome Blossoms (3-0 overall) showed how far they have come when they held Lester Prairie-Holy Trinity, which scored 29 and 34 points in its first two games, to 15 points in a win last Friday night.

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“We know we can score a lot, but there will be people that can score just as well as us,” BP linebacker Weston Fiebiger said. “We need our defense to stop them so we can give our offense a break.”

The LPHT game was a big change from last season, when BP surrendered 328 yards rushing to LPHT quarterback Alex Heigl in a 61-32 loss.

This time around, BP had an answer for Heigl and the defense also stepped up in its first two contests as its allowed just three total TDs in three games.

BP is starting strong on the defensive end, but head coach Chad Gimbel knows the team’s hardest work is ahead of it.

“As of right now we’re improved, but the real test will be to see how we hold up the whole season once teams get used to what we’re doing,” Gimbel said. “We have to keep improving. We felt we played our worst defensive game against Lester Prairie. We weren’t aggressive and we were a little bit more tentative than we had been.”

BP will have another test this Friday as it hosts Waterville-Elysian-Morristwon (1-2 overall), which is averaging 36 points per game and in two weeks BP will play at Maple River (3-0 overall), which is averaging 35 points per game.

BP’s defensive approach relies on its linebackers to make plays and Fiebiger, Scott Romeo and Ryan Doerhoefer have enjoyed playing in the aggressive 3-3 scheme.

“The defense has gotten a lot better and the switch to the three-three is a big part of it,” Romeo said.

Doerhoefer, Fiebiger and Romeo are able to take turns blitzing because BP’s defense has a wall by the name of Brett Wacek up front to clear space. Wacek played linebacker last season, but he’s made the move to defensive line this season and he has opened up a lot of things.

“Wacek swallows up like three blockers at least and if he doesn’t, that means he’s coming through to make the play,” Fiebiger said.

Gimbel said BP’s goal is to take away its opponent’s running game first and then stop the passing game. It’s a very aggressive approach and it does put some pressure on the BP secondary.

“If there’s one spot where we need to improve at, it would be the secondary. We’re forcing teams to throw the football and they’re going to get more opportunities in the back end,” Gimbel said. “We feel like if we can hold any team under 14 points, we have a great chance to win the game. If the defense can get the ball back, it just gives the offense more opportunities.”

One advantage BP has on defense is that Romeo and Doerhoefer don’t play a lot on offense. That gives them a chance to stay fresh and it gives them chance to go through plays with the coaches while the offense is on the field.

Doerhoefer said he likes the system and he loves playing linebacker.

“I definitely like hitting people and we’re looking to get better with every game. That’s the plan,” he said.

BP will host WEM Friday at 7 p.m.