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Blossoms ready for another run

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Blooming Prairie's Luc Zellmer avoids a Goodhue defender in a postseason game last year. Zellmer is back to lead the Blossoms in 2011.

With starting quarterback Luc Zellmer returning this season, the Blooming Prairie Blossoms will once again be one of the top teams in their section.

Not only does Blooming Prairie return its signal-caller, there are a total of 20 starters returning this season. This includes 10 starters on defense and offense, which means Zellmer, a senior, will have plenty of weapons at his disposal.

Last year, Zellmer was 167-for-292 in pass attempts. He threw for 2,952 yards with 43 touchdowns and only six interceptions.

The Blossoms went 8-2 last season, which included their only regular season loss in the opener against New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva.

The Gopher Conference will be tough, but the Blossoms face an even bigger challenge in a realigned Section 1A with the addition of Southland and Kingsland.

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"The top teams in our conference should be LeCenter, Medford and ourselves," Blossoms coach Chad Gimbel said. "Adding Southland and Kingsland made an already difficult section even harder, that is for sure.

"We open with NRHEG and that's a big rivalry game. They have gotten us the last two years by an extra point, and a two-point conversion, so we're hoping to change things around. They are always a good team to open with to prepare us for the rest of the season."

Senior Gabe Kartes was one of the top receivers last season with 42 receptions for 894 yards and 14 touchdowns. In addition, Kartes had 540 yards on 42 attempts with three touchdowns. He also plays defensive back and three interceptions last season.

Jon Kraling, senior halfback, had 682 yards rushing last season and scored five touchdowns on the ground. He also had 25 receptions for 337 yards and five touchdowns, plus 70 tackles on defense. Luke Hueman, a senior, caught 28 passes for 537 yards and 12 touchdowns last year, along with 144 tackles and two sacks on defense.

Isaiah Toquam, a senior wide receiver, is another two-way player. He had 11 receptions last season for 224 yards and a trio of touchdowns. Toquam also snagged two interceptions on the defensive side.

Most of the defense returns intact for the Blossoms. Jared Schewe recorded 72 tackles and had 2.5 sacks of the quarterback last year. Alex Fiebiger had 68 tackles and two sacks.

Michael Thomas, a junior, is another strong defensive player with 39 tackles and two interceptions a year ago. Ryan McCabe had 48 tackles and senior lineman Pat Jones had 43 tackles as the defense bottled up the opposition in most of the games last season.

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