GOODHUE — Goodhue football knows one mode: Attack.
They're happy to ground and pound. They can throw. They're happy to throw a few wrinkles in the playbook to keep you on your toes.
"We don't like to be a one-dimensional team," said senior wide receiver Mariano Bigalk. "Any formation, any plays we can sneak in there, that's how we are."
And with seventh-ranked (Class 1A) Blooming Prairie visiting on Friday, the Wildcats used all facets of its attack to tame the Awesome Blossoms.
With battering-ram running back Mason Huemann churning out 270 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, combined with a defense that made Blooming Prairie's pass game erratic, fifth-ranked Goodhue opened the second half of the season with a convincing 35-13 victory.
"We had to prove ourselves against a really good team in Blooming," Huemann said. "They were good. They hit hard. We want to show the other teams we're legit and I think we showed that tonight."
Bigalk added, "This game was always circled on our schedule. It's always a big game and Blooming's always a good team. Getting this win was a very big step for us."
The beginning of Friday's game was startling for the Wildcats as a trick halfback pass was intercepted by the Blossoms' Karson Vigeland. Blooming Prairie then went on a 12-play, 76-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run from Max Romeo at the 7-minute, 26-second mark of the first quarter.
"We took that early shot and didn't work out," said Wildcats head coach Tony Poncelet.
Foregoing the tricks in the playbook, Goodhue pounded the ball on its next drive, which saw Huemann take a snap in the wildcat formation for a 3-yard scoring run to tie the game at 7-7. Then in an 80-yard drive that crossed over to the second quarter, Huemann scored again from 5 yards out to give the Wildcats a 14-7 lead. Right before halftime, Huemann punched in one more score from a yard out for a 21-7 halftime advantage.
A wrinkle the Wildcats decided to utilize, especially in the red zone, was a quick run up to the line of scrimmage followed by a fast snap before the Blossoms' defense could get their bearings.
"Our offensive line is smaller and quicker and they got a lot of stamina, so that's something we wanted to do against their defensive line," Huemann said of the quick snaps. "We wanted to wear them out, run to the outside, keep wearing them out in the second half and finish them off there."
Said Poncelet, "We had momentum and we didn't want to let it go. That was all about momentum."
The third quarter saw Huemann end another drive in the end zone with a 3-yard scamper. His final touchdown came with 1:58 to play from 1 yard out.
While Goodhue controlled the ground, Blooming Prairie had an up-and-down night in the air. With the Wildcats sticking to man-to-man coverage against the Blossoms' shotgun attack, quarterback Seth Peterson was 18 of 38 passing for 243 yards and one touchdown, a 21-yard connection with Tim Wolf early in the fourth quarter.
"The story of the game was our secondary," Poncelet said. "To have that many pass breakups against this high-powered offense is impressive. Deeper in the game, we got some pressure on 'em. ... It's tough covering that many deep routes in one night, especially when guys are going both ways."
Wildcats quarterback Jack Gadient was 6 of 8 passing for 79 yards and an interception, and Ryan Schoenfelder finished with 61 yards on four carries. Bigalk finished with 45 rushing yards on three carries with one catch for 10 yards and a perfect 5-for-5 kicking on extra points.
With one top-tier team in Section 1A down, Goodhue (5-0) will face its biggest test next week when the team travels to top-ranked Rushford-Peterson. The Trojans enter the matchup at 5-0 after beating Winona Cotter on Friday, 42-28.