The Rushford-Peterson football team saw its season come to an end, dropping a home-field loss to Blooming Prairie on Saturday, Oct. 28, 21-20. The Trojans end the season with an 8-2 record, while Blooming Prairie advances to the Section 1A title game with an 8-2 record.
The line between winning and losing can be a small one, as demonstrated by the game on Saturday. One missed extra-point kick that went just wide was the difference in a very physical football game.
The Trojans went 3-and-out on their first possession. Blooming Prairie drove the ball deep into Trojan territory, turning the ball over on downs at the Rushford-Peterson 10-yard line after a dropped pass in the end zone.
A good punt return combined with a facemask penalty on the Trojans gave the Blossoms possession at the R-P 43. BP quarterback Seth Peterson scored the first points of the game on a 6-yard TD run, with the Blossoms taking an early 7-0 lead with 1:41 left in the first quarter.
Peterson threw an interception on the fourth Blossom possession, with the errant pass picked off by Jake Paulson. Rushford-Peterson took advantage, putting together a 75-yard scoring drive. Ethan Sense covered the last 20 yards to score the first Trojan points. The extra-point kick was no good, so BP still had the lead at 7-6 with 8:58 left in the second quarter.
Ethan Hermanson would pick off another Seth Peterson pass late in the first half and the Trojans would drive the ball deep into BP territory. After an incomplete pass in the end zone, R-P quarterback Landon Skalet was intercepted, with the defender falling out of bounds at the one-yard line.
After a risky pass from their own end zone, it looked like Blooming Prairie was trying to run the clock out in order to take a one-point lead at halftime. However, running back Max Romeo was hit by a Trojan defender almost as soon as he took the handoff from Peterson, jarring the ball loose. The ball bounced around in the end zone, where Peyton Morrison recovered the ball for a quick six points for Rushford-Peterson. Skalet was tackled while attempting the 2-point conversion, but the Trojans led 12-7 going into halftime with some momentum.
The Blossoms fumbled the ball on their first possession of the second half but the Trojans weren’t able to convert it into points. The second BP possession went much better for the Blossoms. Peterson finished off a 78-yard drive with a 10-yard scoring pass to Matthew Pryor. The XP kick made it a 14-12 Blooming Prairie lead with 4:29 to go in the third quarter.
The biggest break of the game swung to Blooming Prairie in the third quarter. The Trojans were running the Wildcat formation with Jake Paulson taking snaps instead of Skalet. Paulson had the option to throw or pass out of the formation. Paulson’s pass in front of the Blooming Prairie sideline was intercepted and the Blossoms would take advantage.
Blooming Prairie capitalized on a 30-yard scoring drive as Peterson hit Colin Lerum on a 16-yard TD pass with 1:03 left in the third quarter. The extra-point kick made it 21-12 in favor of Blooming Prairie.
Undaunted, the Trojans came right back on their next possession, answering the score with one of their own. R-P drove the ball 80 yards, with the big play a Skalet-to-Paulson 33-yard bomb. Those two would connect again on a 25-yard TD pass. Sense carried the ball into the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt and the Trojans had knocked the BP lead to a single point, 21-20, with 11:13 left in the game.
The Blossoms got a 48-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, taking possession at the R-P 38. The Trojan defense would rise to the challenge, forcing the Blossoms to turn the ball over on downs at the Rushford-Peterson 24. The Trojans had time to work with on the clock and a chance to drive for the winning points.
R-P drove the ball deep into Blooming Prairie territory, helped out by a questionable pass-interference call on the Blossoms, which kept the drive alive. The last gasp came on a Skalet pass into the end zone that was intercepted, giving Blooming Prairie a chance to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, winning the game 21-20.
I caught up with R-P head coach Davin Thompson after the game. Obviously, he was pretty dejected but was very proud of his team: