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Defense, running game lead Blooming Prairie to first 1A Prep Bowl game

By NATE GOTLIEB, Special to the Star Tribune, 11/16/19, 2:15PM CST


The Awesome Blossoms, led by senior Matthew Pryor, amassed 431 yards of offense en route to a 41-0 victory over Ada-Borup.

Blooming Prairie's Matthew Pryor (28), who scored three touchdowns, tried to dodge a tackle by Ada-Borup's Preston Gwin (6) in the first half. Photo: Shari L. Gross ¥ shari.gross@startribune.com

His team facing third-and-12 midway through the second quarter against Ada-Borup, Blooming Prairie coach Chad Gimbel called timeout with his team at the line of scrimmage.

When play resumed, the Awesome Blossoms lined up in a similar formation, with four receivers out wide and running back Matthew Pryor flanking quarterback Kaden Thomas. The snap went to Thomas, who looked out as if he planned to pass. Instead, he handed the ball to Pryor, who rushed for 37 yards to set up Blooming Prairie's third of four first-half touchdowns.

It was the team's longest play for scrimmage in a 41-0 victory over Ada-Borup in a Class 1A semifinal Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium. The win secured the team's first Prep Bowl appearance.

Pryor rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns, leading a Blooming Prairie offense that gained 431 yards. Thomas threw for 137 yards and two touchdowns, including a 47-yarder late in the second quarter to Gabe Hagen.

Karson Vigeland and Tyler Archer also scored for the Awesome Blossoms (12-0).

The second-quarter draw play "popped in my head a little bit late," longtime Blooming Prairie coach Chad Gimbel said, explaining the timeout. His voiced welled with emotion when asked what it meant to reach the Prep Bowl.

"To finally break through and get that opportunity, that's a huge step for us and for our program and for our kids," he said.

First report

Matthew Pryor rushed for three touchdowns and Blooming Prairie outgained Ada-Borup by 290 yards in a 41-0 victory in a Class 1A semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Pryor, a senior running back, rushed for two of his three scores in the first half Saturday as Blooming Prairie (12-0) built a 27-0 lead. One of them capped a 71-yard drive, on which he rushed for 61 yards, and the other, an 11-yarder, was the team's first score.

Kaden Thomas threw for two first-half scores for the Awesome Blossoms, including a 47-yarder to senior Gabe Hagen, a 248-pound receiver who has committed to Minnesota State.

Hagen also had a third-down sack for an 11-yard loss when he shedded an Ada-Borup blocker and tackled quarterback Preston Gwin with one hand. Blooming Prairie held Ada-Borup to 141 yards of offense.

Karson Vigeland also caught a touchdown pass, and Tyler Archer rushed for a score for Blooming Prairie, which is making its second consecutive state-tournament appearance and its ninth overall.

The Awesome Blossoms, who amassed 431 yards of offense, secured their first state-championship-game appearance with the victory.

Their defense forced six punts and turned the Cougars over on downs four times.

Ada-Borup (10-2) had won 10 consecutive games after a season-opening loss to Class 2A state tournament semifinalist Barnesville.

Ada-Borup forced two interceptions and recovered a fumble. Verdis Barber led the Cougars' offense with 46 rushing yards. Gwin forced and recovered a fumble, and Sylas Larson and Beau Fetting had interceptions.

Check back later for more on the game.

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