Blooming Prairie believes it has some unfinished business at the Class A state football tournament.
A year ago the Blossoms reached the state semifinals only to suffer a 37-7 loss to BOLD.
"Their whole goal last year, and it started right after we lost to the BOLD, was to come back and finish something that we feel like we didn't get done," Blossoms coach Chad Gimbel said. "We talked about that last year, but this year we've tried to stay one game at a time and stick to the process and work on just getting better each week, each game, each play and let the other stuff take care of itself."
That motivation has paid off as Blooming Prairie is a perfect 10-0 and ranked No. 2 in the state in Class A. But the Blossoms figure to face a tough challenge in Saturday's state quarterfinals against No. 3 Springfield (10-0).
"A large reason for our success has been that we have 16 seniors leading the way," Springfield coach Bob Fink said. "Our depth is a strength as we have only four players that start both ways."
The veteran Springfield team is also returning to the state tournament. The Tigers also won in the quarterfinals before falling in the semifinals in 2018.
"I don't think we're going to have any more experience than they have. But it is a big plus to have gone through that with this group of kids," Gimbel said. "They know what to expect and it's not too big for them. Not that it was last year either."
Both teams have been lethal on each side of the ball. The Blossoms average 50.2 points per game and allowed 8.4. Springfield averages 36.9 points and allows 6.9, the best in Class A.
"They have a very good defense," Gimbel said. "They're big up front on the offensive and defensive lines and have a good running game. And a very good passing game as well; they're very balanced."
Blooming Prairie is more of a passing team, but can also run the ball well.
Kaden Thomas has passed for about 2,000 yards for Blooming Prairie more than 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Gabe Hagen and Karson Vigeland are the top receivers and Hagan has more than 500 yards receiving with 10 TDs.
The Blossoms showed how well they would run with 304 yards against Goodhue in the section finals.
"We were happy to grind it out on the ground," Gimbel said. "But if they load the box to stop that, we feel we're able to pass as well. We'll take what they give us."
Matthew Pryor leads the Blossoms more than 1,000 yards rushing.
Mason Rummel has rushed for more than 700 yards and 11 TDs for Springfield while Kadin Johnson has more than 500 yards on the ground. Quarterback Decker Scheffler has passed for more than 2,000 yards with 24 TDs and just four interceptions. He has also rushed for more than 400 yards and four TDs.
Tori Helget and Nolan Hovland are the Tigers' top receivers.
"They do a lot of things very well, run and pass, so they're both big concerns for us," Gimbel said. "That's what we have to figure out, how do we defend both."