Dawson/Boyd’s Evan Robertson and Blooming Prairie’s Michael Thomas go up the ball on a second-quarter pass to Thomas during the Minnesota State Class A Football semifinals on Saturday at the Metrodome. -- Eric Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune

Dawson-Boyd ends Blooming Prairie’s season in state semifinals at Dome

Published 9:17am Monday, November 21, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — The Blooming Prairie football team accomplished its main defensive goal by stopping Dawson-Boyd’s rushing attack, but it was the Blackjacks’ passing attack that ended BP’s season in a 50-27 loss in the Class A state football semifinals in the Metrodome Saturday.

DB sophomore quarterback Joey Lee threw for 240 yards as he hooked up with tight end Zach Stelter on throwing scores of 38, 22 and 15 yards in the second half to turn a close game into a blowout.

The Blossoms packed in their defense and held the Blackjacks to 136 yards on the ground, including 51 yards on 38 of their 40 carries. DB’s other two rushes combined for 85 yards.

“They’re running game was too good,” BP head coach Chad Gimbel said. “We went cover zero and if we didn’t do that, they were going to run well. We stacked the box for the run.”

BP looked to be in prime position to hold a halftime lead after a couple of big passing play. Michael Thomas caught a 38-yard pass down the sideline on third-and-22, then Thomas leaped up hauled in a 38-yard TD pass from Luc Zellmer to put BP up 13-7 with 7:47 left in the second quarter.

“I was feeling good at the time and I was really conditioned coming into this game,” said Thomas, who finished with 105 yards receiving. “We had a lot of hype after that touchdown.”

BP’s defense came out and pushed DB back 22 yards on its next possession as senior linebacker Luke Hueman, who finished with 16 tackles and four for a loss, made a big sack for a 16-yard loss on third down.

Then things took a turn for the worse. On the ensuing Blackjacks punt, Gabe Kartes went up to make the catch and ended up muffing the ball away.

“I’ve never seen a ball drop that fast,” said Kartes. “I thought I had it. Then it hit the ground and I tried to get away, but it bounced on me. That’s part of the game; it’s not a circle ball, it’s going to bounce wherever.”

DB took possession at the BP 49-yard line and a 27-yard Justin Lee run set up a five-yard Evan Roberston TD catch.

BP’s Alex Fiebiger ran the ensuing kickoff 20 yards to the BP 48-yard line and the Blossoms got as far as the DB 36-yard line when Robertson got one of his two interceptions off of Zellmer, who was playing with a shoulder injury that has kept him out of practice for the last three weeks.

“He’s tall, he’s quick and he jumps,” Zellmer said of Robertson. “I’ve just got to make better throws out there. The shoulder was kind of nagging. But all of those throws were me, it wasn’t on the shoulder.”

The Blackjacks turned the turnover into a score thanks to a third and 22 conversion where Esten Weber blasted through for 58 yards on the ground and Stelter came up with a 26-yard catch on third and 16. Two plays later, Joey Lee ran it in on a three-yard quarterback bootleg as time expired to make it 21-13 at the half.

BP pulled to within 29-19 in the second half when Zellmer hit Kartes for a 25-yard score with 7:58 left in the third quarter. The BP defense forced a punt, but Robertson picked off Zellmer again and DB scored touchdowns on its next three possessions.

“Right now (this loss) hurts a lot,” Gimbel said. “But five years down the road it’s going to be a lot more meaningful. Not a lot of kids get to play in the Dome and a lot of these kids got to do it twice.”