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Blossoms lock down Springfield to advance to state semifinals

JANESVILLE — Blooming Prairie senior cornerbacks Karson Vigeland and Zach Weber may line up on opposite sides of the field, but they are highly aware of each other and sometimes they even try to out-do each other.

Vigeland and Weber each had crucial interceptions for the Awesome Blossoms as BP rolled past Springfield 42-20 in the Minnesota Class A State Football Tournament quarterfinals in Janseville-Waldorf-Pemberton High School Saturday.

With BP up 14-0, Vigeland picked off a pass in the first quarter at the BP 10-yard line and ran it back to the Springfield 28-yard line to set up a one-yard Matthew Pryor TD run to make it 21-0 with 29 seconds left in the first quarter.

“It’s a competition between (Zach Weber) and I. We like to stay competitive and stay on each other to make each other better,” Vigeland said. “We had to stay on our guys, even when (Springfield quarterback Decker Scheffler) scrambled. “We knew he could throw deep and find the open receiver.”

Blooming Prairie’s Karson Vigeland puts Springfield’s Ivan Hovland on the ground with a stiff-arm in the Minnesota State Football Tournament quarterfinals Saturday at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindialyherald.com

Right after Alex Baldwin hauled in a 39-yard TD strike from Kaden Thomas to make it 28-7 with 1:06 left in the first half, Weber pulled in an interception to set up a 15-yard TD grab for Baldwin that made it 35-7 with one second left in the half.

Vigeland and Weber, who added a fumble recovery in the second half, also each had key pass break-ups on deep throws by Scheffler. The play of BP’s secondary was key against a Springfield offense that ran plenty of trick plays.

Springfield scored on an 80-yard scramble by Scheffler in the first half and Scheffler lined up at receiver and hauled in a 80-yard TD pass from running back Mason Rummel to pull the Tigers within 35-14 with 9:34 left in the game.

Blooming Prairie’s Gabe Hagen pulls down the reception in the Minnesota State Football Tournament quarterfinals against Springfield Saturday at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindialyherald.com

“We knew they were going to throw some trick plays and things like that at us. We talked about staying with our assignments, but they got us on (a couple of) them,” BP head coach Chad Gimbel said. “They are super hard to prepare for and those aren’t common plays. I was super happy with the way our offensive line played in the first half and the way our secondary played the whole game. They have some great receivers, a great quarterback and to be able to play pass defense the way that we did, was awesome.”

BP’s was undersized up front in comparison to Springfield, but it didn’t stop players like Dylan Nirk and Colton Krell, who both have wrestled in the Minnesota State Wrestling Meet, from making things happen.

Blooming Prairie’s Matthew Pryor manages to hold on to the football after it was knocked loose in the Minnesota State Football Tournament quarterfinals against Springfield Saturday at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindialyherald.com

“Wrestling helps you learn how to wrap up when you make a tackle. That’s what some of these non-wrestlers need to learn. Wrestling helps you with tackling, staying low and hand fighting,” Nirk said. “We just knew we had to be more physical. Weight is not an issue. We brought the physicality to the table and with our quickness, that got us up on the defensive line and the offensive line. Once they’re on skates, they’re not going to stop.”

Baldwin, who finished with 103 receiving yards and two TDs was able to find his success on the outside after Pryor, who ran for 131 yards and two scores, established the inside game.

“Matthew’s a good runner and he hits the holes right away. I get my chances when I get them and Kaden has a hell of an arm,” Pryor said. “I just try to get open for him. That’s all it is.”

Blooming Prairie players celebrate Alex Baldwin’s touchdown reception in the Minnesota State Football Tournament quarterfinals against Springfield Saturday at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindialyherald.com

BP (11-0 overall) will play in the state semifinals against Ada-Borup in U.S. Bank Stadium at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

“We’re going to start Monday morning 0-0,” Nirk said. “We ended this week 1-0 and we’ve got to go right back to 0-0. It’s a clean slate and we’ll start right over.”

SCORING SUMMARY

BP 21  14  0  7    42

Springfield 0    7  0  13    20 

First quarter

(BP) Matthew Pryor 1 run (Collin Jordison kick) (6 plays, 56 yards) 9:15

(BP) Gabe Hagen 4 pass from Kaden Thomas (Jordison kick) (7 plays, 42 yards) 5:20

(BP) Pryor 1 run (Jordison kick) (5 plays, 28 yards) :29

Second quarter

(S) Decker Scheffler 74 run (Mason Leonard kick) (3 plays, 75 yards) 11:14

(BP) Alex Baldwin 39 pass from Kaden Thomas (Jordison kick) (6 plays, 82 yards) 1:06

(BP) Baldwin 15 pass from Thomas (Jordison kick) :01

Third period

No scoring

Fourth quarter

(S) Scheffler pass from Mason Rummel (Leonard kick) (2 plays, 82 yards) 9:34

(BP) Hagen 62 pass from Thomas (Jordison kick) (3 plays, 51 yards) 5:23

(S) Ivan Holland 10 pass from Scheffler (8 plays, 71 yards) 0:00

Blooming Prairie quarterback Kaden Thomas looks to the throw in the Minnesota State Football Tournament quarterfinals against Springfield Saturday at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindialyherald.com

BP STATS

Rushing: Matthew Pryor, 32-for-131, 2 TDs; Bradley Simon, 3-for-3; Thomas, 1-for-(-4)

Passing: Kaden Thomas, 24-for-39, 293, 4 TD, 1 INT

Receiving: Hagen, 7-for-122, 2 TDs; Alex Baldwin, 11-for-103, 2 TDs; Pryor, 1-for-24; Simon, 1-for-4

Defense: Karson Vigeland, 1 interception; Zach Weber, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery

Penalties: 4-for-30

SPRINGFIELD STATS

Rushing: 236

Passing: 144

Penalties: 6-for-55

Blooming Prairie’s Bradley Simon lunges forward for more yards in the Minnesota State Football Tournament quarterfinals against Springfield Saturday at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindialyherald.com