Area Football: Goodhue falls to Blooming Prairie in section title game
ROCHESTER – Goodhue and Blooming Prairie are no strangers to Section 1A championship games. It seems like every year one of the two, or both, are battling for a spot in the state tournament. Saturday was no different, though the end result was not the same for the defending section champion Wildcats.
The Awesome Blossoms withstood a flurry of Goodhue points in the third quarter to pull out a 21-18 win and a spot in the Class A state tournament next week.
“I loved the heart we showed in the second half,” said Wildcats head coach Tony Poncelet. “It would have been real easy to roll over. But not our seniors, they wouldn't allow it.”
Blooming Prairie scored the only points of the first half with Kaden Thomas throwing a pair of touchdown passes to give the Blossoms a 14-0 lead at halftime. Both scores, a 3-yard connection to Matthew Pryor and a 20-yard strike to Payton Simon, came after two of Blooming Prairie's four defensive interceptions.
With the temperature dropping and the rain coming in sideways thanks to a frigid breeze, the third quarter had to be Goodhue's. And the Wildcats caught fire.
Capitalizing on two Blossom turnovers, Goodhue got on the board with Kaleb O'Reilly's 1-yard run and Sam Opsahl's 20-yard pass to Carter Danielson. But the Wildcats came up empty twice on two-point conversions and trailed 14-12.
“We had chances on those conversions, one went through the hands and the other we just didn't have time to get it off,” Poncelet said. “Four more points would have been nice, but I give Blooming credit. They have a lot of weapons, and I give our defense credit for holding them to 21 points.”
With the second failed conversion fresh on the minds of all in attendance, Simon carved his way through the Goodhue kickoff coverage for an 87-yard score and a 21-12 Blooming Prairie lead.
The Wildcats had a response, however, scoring on a 14-yard Kyle Schoenfelder run. But, once again, Goodhue was unable to come away with more than six points.
The Wildcats would get a couple more chances, including a drive that was stopped just inside the Blossoms' 20-yard line. But penalties, especially a couple of drive-breaking holding calls, hampered Goodhue. And a sack and fumble with just seconds to play sealed the Wildcats' fate.
“We put ourselves in back-to-back first-and-20s, and that's tough to overcome against a good defense,” Poncelet said. “I'm proud of our guys, there's nothing to be ashamed of. Going 9-2 is a great year.”
Goodhue was led by Schoenfelder's 42 yards on seven carries, while O'Reilly managed just 40 on 12. Opsahl had 247 yards through the air, with a touchdown on 16 of 38 passing. Schoenfelder had the lion’s share of receiving yards, piling up 217 on six receptions.
Kodee O’Reilly had a team-high 13 tackles and two tackles for loss, and Kaleb O’Reilly finished with eight tackles and a sack. Opsahl had an interception on defense and Danielson had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Thomas hit on 17 of 25 passes for the Blossoms, totaling 222 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions each. No one receiver had a big game, as four caught Thomas passes for at least 30 yards led by Tim Wolf’s 75. Blooming Prairie rushed 30 times for 76 yards as a team.
Fourth-ranked Blooming Prairie (11-0) moves on to the Class A quarterfinals against sixth-ranked United South Central (10-0) on Saturday, Nov. 11, at New Ulm High School. Seventh-ranked Goodhue ends the season 9-2, with both losses coming to the Blossoms, including a 20-14 setback in Week 5.