Blooming Prairie players celebrate with the Class 1A championship Friday after defeating BOLD 41-15 in the Prep Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium. Photo: Steel Brooks, special to the Star Tribune
Consider this Gabe Hagen’s coming out party.
Not that the Blooming Prairie defensive end/receiver was an unknown commodity beforeo the Awesome Blossoms’ 41-15 victory over BOLD in the Class 1A championship game. At 6-5 and 250 pounds, Hagen stands out every time he steps on a high school football field.
But it was his play that stood tallest Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Using soft hands and relying on his 4.7 speed in the 40, Hagen caught eight passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, including a juggling grab in the end zone while on his back.
“When the other team’s wide receivers are bigger than your offensive line, it’s a tough task,” BOLD coach Derek Flann said.
Hagen’s ability to catch the ball was his most significant contribution, but he first showed up on defense.
Blooming Prairie started the game by attacking the BOLD offense, using overload blitzes to get linemen running free at Warriors quarterback Jordan Sagedahl. The strategy results in six first-half sacks, never allowing Sagedahl the time to sit back and throw.
Luke Larkoski chased down Sagedahl on BOLD’s second possession, forcing an ill-advised throw that landed in Hagen’s hands. He ran 18 yards untouched for the game’s first score and a 7-0 lead.
Kaden Thomas passed for 298 yards and four touchdowns and Gabe Hagen scored three times, including an acrobatic touchdown reception while lying on his back, to pace Blooming Prairie to a 41-15 victory over No. 1-ranked BOLD in the Class 1A championship game.
Blooming Prairie (13-0), which had lost to BOLD in the 2018 Class 1A semifinals, leaned on a strong pass rush Friday to shut down the Warriors' vaunted passing attack at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Awesome Blossoms took a 7-0 lead when Hagen intercepted BOLD quarterback Jordan Sagedahl, who was throwing while being tackled, and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown.
BOLD briefly took the lead on a 15-yard pass from Sagedahl to Drew Sagedahl, but Blooming Prairie added two scores and took a 21-15 halftime lead. BOLD never regained the lead after that.
The victory gave Blooming Prairie its first Prep Bowl championship.
BOLD (12-1) lost in the Class 1A championship game for the second consecutive season.
Check back later for more on the game.
Blooming Prairie receiver Alex Baldwin (6) ran with the ball in the second quarter against BOLD on Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Photo: Steel Brooks, special to the Star Tribune