NRHEG falls 35-0 in season football opener
HOLD ON — NRHEG sophomore Nick Bartness (32) tries to hang onto Blooming Prairie sophomore Cole Sunde on one of the Blossoms’ many big plays in a 35-0 decision at Blooming Prairie last Friday. (Star Eagle photo by Chris Schlaak)
By DALE KUGATH
BLOOMING PRAIRIE – It was hard to believe that Blooming Prairie sophomore quarterback John Rumpza was starting his first varsity game. Rumpza was able to convert numerous third-down plays to lead the Blossoms to a dominating 35-0 victory over New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva in Friday’s football opener at Blooming Prairie.
The Blossoms, coming off an 11-2 state tournament season in 2011, took over right where they left off a year ago. The BP offense topped the 400-yeard mark and the defense was threatened just once the entire night.
“Blooming Prairie is young and talented,” said NRHEG coach Dan Stork. “Our lack of depth really hurt us.”
The Panthers, a 5-5 team in 2011, lost last year’s contest 33-30.
NRHEG was flagged for a running into the kicker, and another fourth down penalty was given to keep BP’s opening drive alive. The Blossoms converted at the 7:26 mark when Mike Thomas snared a 23-yard scoring strike from Rumpza. Brett Wacek, who was perfect for the night, converted the extra point as the Blossoms took a 7-0 lead on their first possession.
Rumpza fired his second scoring pass of the night the next time BP had the ball. Weston Fiebiger was on the receiving end of the 20-yard aerial. Wacek’s boot made it 14-0 with 2:18 left in the opening quarter.
NRHEG was having no success offensively, but its defense did manage a couple of stops against the Blossoms. With 6:41 remaining until halftime, sophomore Cole Sunde grabbed a nine-yard scoring pass from Rumpza. Wacek’s PAT upped the BP advantage to 21-0.
The Blossoms reached the end zone once more before halftime, scoring on a 23-yard pass from Rumpza to Thomas with 1:11 remaining. Wacek’s conversion kick sent the teams to the intermission with BP leading 28-0.
“Their passing attack make them a very difficult team to prepare for when you are inexperienced, especially a first game,” said Stork. “It seemed like we would stop them for two or three plays and then they would convert a big play.”
The final score of the night came on BP’s first possession of the second half. The Blossoms moved down the field in less than four minutes with sophomore Scott Romeo running it in from three yards out. Wacek nailed his fifth PAT.
Backup quarterback Trevor Tracy led the Panthers on their best drive of the night, getting to the Blossom six-yard stripe. But, a couple of penalties killed that drive.
BP finished with a 12-2 advantage in first downs and a 414 to 173 margin in total yards. The Blossoms held a 149 to 114 edge on the ground, but a huge 265 to 59 margin through the air.
Sunde topped the winners’ ground game with 61 yards on eight carries, while Romeo carried 12 times for 43 yards.
Casey Rosacker gained 60 yards on just five carries for the Panthers, Brad Claycomb ran 12 times for 37 yards and Nick Bartness chipped in with 22 yards on four carries.
Rumpza connected on 13 of 30 passes for 265 yards. He hurled four TDs and was intercepted once.
Sunde caught five passes for 126 yards, Thomas had four receptions for 76 yards and Fiebiger made four catches for 63 yards.
The Panthers struggled with their passing game, completing just 5-24 in the game. Rosacker was 3-17 for 45 yards and Tracy completed 2-7 for 12 yards. Dillon Parpart was the lone Panther with more than one reception, catching two balls for 39 yards.
Parpart led the NRHEG defense with 11 tackles, Bartness was in on eight stops, Nick Mangskau made seven hits and Spencer Tollefson and Noah Krell had four tackles apiece. Nic Goette had the lone Panther sack and Claycomb came up with an interception.
The Panthers are on the road again Friday, traveling to Winthrop to tangle with Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop, a team they drubbed 73-8 last season. It is the Gopher/Valley Conference opener.
The Thunderbirds are 0-1 this season, having lost to Sibley East 34-8 in their opener.
BP 35, NRHEG 0
NRHEG 0 0 0 0 0
BP 14 14 7 0 35
1st Quarter: (BP)-Thomas 21 yd. pass from Rumpza (EP-Wacek kick). (BP)-Fiebiger 20 yd. pass from Rumpza (EP-Wacek kick).
2nd Quarter: (BP)-Sunde 9 yd. pass from Rumpza (EP-Wacek kick). (BP)-Thomas 23 yd. pass from Rumpza (EP-Wacek kick).
3rd Quarter: (BP)-Romeo 3 yd. run (EP-Wacek kick).
4th Quarter: No scoring.
First Downs 2 12
Yds. Rushing 114 149
Yds. Passing 59 265
Total Yds. 173 414
Turnovers 1 1
Penalties/yds. 2/10 4/30
NRHEG Rushing: Rosacker 5/60, Claycomb 12/37, Bartness 4/22, Minter 6/-5.
NRHEG Passing: Rosacker 3-17 (0 TDs, 0 intc.), 45 yds. Tracy 2-7 (0 TDs, 0 intc.), 12 yds.
NRHEG Receiving: Parpart 2/39, Mangskau 1/7, Bartness 1/6, Peterson 1/5.
NRHEG Defense: Parpart-11 tackles, Bartness-8, Mangskau-7, Krell-4, Tollefson-4, Minter-3, Rosacker-2, White-2, Hermann-2, Claycomb-1 (1 intcp.), Goette-1 (1 sack), Peterson-1, Webster-1, Jensen-1, Hanson-1, Arnold-1, Maxon-1, Ryg-1.
NEXT: Friday-NRHEG at GFW (Winthrop), 7 p.m.