BOLD bats down Blossoms
MINNEAPOLIS — Entering Saturday's Class A semifinal against Blooming Prairie, the BOLD Warriors didn't have much experience against a pass-first offense. It didn't matter.
With BOLD, it never matters.
BOLD overcame a slow start on the way to a resounding 37-7 victory against the Awesome Blossoms to clinch a spot in the Class A state championship. They will take on the winner of Mahnomen/Waubun against Springfield at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
It looked precarious for the Warriors in the opening quarter as the Awesome Blossoms recovered a pair of fumbles near the red zone, including a muffed punt on BOLD's 10-yard line. Momentum certainly felt as though it was titled in favor of Blooming Prairie but BOLD held strong and kept the Awesome Blossoms off the board.
"I would say we pretty much didn't worry about it," said BOLD quarterback Jordan Sagedahl, who scored twice in a 20-point third quarter. "Every week, we've been saying we need to learn how to handle adversity and what we do when it comes to it. I thought we did very well and said, 'Don't worry about it, keep your heads up and move on to the next play.'"
Blooming Prairie's patented pass-first offense, led Saturday morning by junior Kaden Thomas instead of injured senior Seth Peterson, struggled to make big plays thanks to a swarming Warrior defense. Thomas finished the game with 201 yards and 21 completions on 33 attempts, including an interception and his team's only touchdown, a 21-yard strike to Payton Simon in the third quarter.
"When we practiced this week defensively, there wasn't a football involved," said BOLD head coach Steve Solem. "It was, you covered everything you were supposed to do and if you look at, like you throw Gavin [Vosika] out at a corner and [Jordan] at a corner and Luke [Ryan] up top, that's probably as good of athletes as we've ever had in those spots. Put them man-to-man, and a couple of the younger guys that are playing underneath are pretty good little athletes, too, with some speed. If you look at teams we've had in the past that have done well, they've been fast. We rallied to the ball well. You put big Luke ... in center field back away from everybody and tell him to go get the ball and he does a nice job offensively and defensively of trying to find the ball."
Ryan entered the game as one of 11 finalists for Minnesota's Mr. Football and the Awesome Blossoms treated him as such. Ryan played a quiet game and didn't register a reception, despite being the team's leading receiver. That doesn't matter to him.
"That's fine by me," said Ryan, who also entered the game with 14 interceptions this season, tied for the state record. "They can double cover me all day, that just leaves Gavin with man-to-man and he's so quick."
Sagedahl, who celebrated his birthday Saturday with 75 rushing yards and 99 passing yards, says that's what makes this team so special.
"I think it's so good with our team that we're so unselfish and we don't really care who gets the ball," Sagedahl said. "It's just a matter of going down the field and getting that big play for a touchdown."
While Ryan was quiet, the Brothers Vosika took charge for the Warriors. Senior Dawson rumbled his way to 116 yards on just 11 carries while junior Gavin racked up 68 yards on the ground and caught all five of Sagedahl's completed passes for 99 yards.
It also proved to be a record-breaking day for at least one Warrior. Braeden Tersteeg drilled his first extra point of the day to pass Mike Pelican of Cretin-Derham Hall for extra points made in a season. Tersteeg finished the day with four extra points made to bump that single-season number up to 81. He also scored his team's first points of the game with a 22-yard field goal in the first quarter.
BOLD's offense looked strong, compiling 427 yards of total offense, but it was the defense that stole the show. Blooming Prairie averaged 40.9 points per game this season but the Warriors were able to hold the Awesome Blossoms to just 239 total yards, and it often came down to size.
"I'd take our defense over anyone else's in the red zone, because our big boys in the middle get the job done," Gavin Vosika said.
Saturday will be the Warriors' sixth trip to the Prep Bowl but their first crack at the state title since 2014, when Holdingford edged BOLD in a 20-18 overtime game. BOLD met Mahnomen in the final in 1998, one which went in favor of Mahnomen. This year's edition will come with the added stipulation that it will likely be Solem's last as the BOLD head coach.
"This is probably going to be my final year and I don't think there's a better way to go out than to have these young men lead you to a state finals game," Solem said. "Win, lose or draw, we lay it on the line every game and when we're done we look at the scoreboard and if it's in our favor, we like it, if it isn't, we're not as happy but when we're done we know we played as hard as we could."
Blooming Prairie 7
BOLD (13-0) 3 7 20 7 — 37
BP (12-1) 0 0 7 0 — 7
BOLD — Braeden Tersteeg 22 field goal
BOLD — Gavin Vosika 2 run (Tersteeg kick)
BP — Payton Simon 21 pass from Kaden Thomas (C Brennecke kick)
BOLD — Jordan Sagedahl 3 run (Tersteeg kick)
BOLD — Sagedahl 17 run (Tersteeg kick)
BOLD — Anthony Maher 36 yard fumble return (Kick missed)
BOLD — Tim Peppel 7 run (Tersteeg kick)
First downs: 23 ... Penalties: 4-37 ... Rushing (Individual and team): Dawson Vosika 11-116, Jordan Sagedahl 15-75, Gavin Vosika 10-68, Blake Plass 5-33, Hayden Tersteeg 4-34, Tim Peppel 2-11, Joey McMath 1-1. 50-340 ... Passing (Individual and team): Sagedahl 5-10-99-0 ... Receiving (Individual and team): G Vosika 5-99 ... Interceptions: Tersteeg 1 ... Fumble recoveries: Anthony Maher ... Tackles (solo-assist): Luke Ryan 8-0, Andrew Sheehan 6-0, Trey Mertens 5-0, Tersteeg 5-0, Riley Weis 4-0 ... QB sacks: Mertens 1, Weis 1
First downs: 14 ... Penalties: 8-62 ... Rushing (Individual and team): Matthew Pryor 11-33, Tyler Archer 1-11, Alex Baldwin 1-5, Kaden Thomas 7-2. 21-34 ... Passing (Individual and team): Thomas 21-33-201-1, Drew Kittelson 2-5-4-0. 23-38-205-1 ... Receiving (Individual and team): x ... Interceptions: None ... Fumble recoveries: Dylan Nirk 2 ... Tackles (solo-assist): M Fiebiger 10-2, Payton Simon 9-0, Nirk 6-0, Jarrett Larson 3-0, Zach Weber 3-0 ... QB sacks: None