During the sweltering mornings of opening practices in August, each team charges into the new season with hopes of playing championship football. With two wins to open up the playoffs in Olivia, a section final win on Oct. 31 at Big Cat Stadium in Morris and a state quarterfinal win in Alexandria, BOLD advanced for an opportunity to play a championship game in a Big Ten stadium. The 2014 BOLD Warriors gave Caledonia their first and final loss of the season with a 21-0 win in the semifinals at Eden Prairie on Nov 15. “Win or lose, we will be able to say we gave our best effort,” BOLD head football coach Steve Solem said in post-victory comments. “Against Caledonia, we kept pounding and controlling the clock.” BOLD will face Holdingford for the Class AA state championship in the Prep Bowl on Nov. 21 at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. “I’ve never been to TCF Bank Stadium. It is pretty awesome that my first time going there, I’ll actually be competing,” Ben Steffel said. BOLD offensive coordinator Daren Sagedahl recalled his projection on the potential of the Warriors. “We saw back when this group of seniors were in junior high that we could have a special team combined with the grades below them.This group shows amazing hard work, dedication, leadership, and have such a positive attitude,” Sagedahl said. “They set a good example not only on the football field but in the classroom and more importantly in life. When you combine these life skills with talent, you create a special team. We are very excited to represent our community in the state championship game at TCF Bank Stadium next Friday at 1:00.” Brad Wolff powered a three-yard run for a touchdown to cap off a 80-yard drive and a Nick Kubesh extra point gave BOLD a 7-0 lead, a offensive play sequence that Sagedahl said has been indicative of his team’s success. “Our offensive line once again set the tone early and the drive was a big confidence boost, knowing we could control the line of scrimmage,” Sagedahl said. A stingy BOLD defense kept Caledonia from getting into rhythm by allowing only 12 yards of total offense in the first half. On a snowy afternoon BOLD frustrated Caledonia, utilizing three second half turnovers to get the shutout win. In the third quarter, Austin Weis forced a fumble and Lane Stadther recovered it as the return set up BOLD in striking position. On a 18-yard run off right tackle, Steffel scored his 17th rushing touchdown of the season and a Kubesh extra point pushed the lead to 14-0. According to Steffel, the second touchdown of the game came in part to in-game communication and a big block to spring the play on the perimeter. “Our coaches saw that they had their linebackers stacked up in the middle so we called a run play to the outside and Brad made a really nice block for me to get to the outside untouched,” Steffel said. “Coming out at half, we all knew this was a very winnable game for us because of our solid defense and the long drives we know our offense is capable of.” Austin Weis had two second-half interceptions against Caledonia and the defensive back doubled his interception output on the year to four. Weis hauled in a 34-yard pass from Stadther and Wolff scored on a one-yard rush. Kubesh’s third point after kick gave BOLD a three-possession lead and the Warriors defense continued to ice Caledonia for a 21-0 win and the opportunity to play in the Prep Bowl. Sagedahl commented on how important it was to demonstrate a physical presence to create angles. “Caledonia had to bring their linebackers up to help on the run which later allowed us to play action pass to Weis,” Sagedahl said. “Once we were up 21-0, we went to a conservative mode calling plays with the elements of the snow and weather making it tougher to use our passing formations.” For the third straight playoff game, the Warriors defeated a team that was rated high in the Class AA rankings, a metric that Steffel said his team pays no thought to. “Our team doesn’t care about rankings; we just play who we have to and we don’t get intimidated,” Steffel stated. “I knew our defense could stop them but I also knew their defense was going to be very tough to run on since they are fast and physical.” Wolff had two sacks for BOLD and Austin Tersteeg led the Warriors with 11 solo tackles. For the third straight postseason game, Steffel and Wolff accounted for all BOLD offensive touchdowns. Steffel noted how the weather impacted the semifinal game at critical times. “Playing in the snow made the game a running attack for both teams. We have a better run defense and I thought that made the difference,” Steffel said. The deeper a team gets in the playoffs, two integral factors are field possession and the ability to run the football. Sagedahl said the Warriors made a personnel adjustment against Caledonia. “We moved Tyler Park to weak side tight end and started Logan Dahlk at tackle because both are run blocking very well and at this time of year playing outside in the cold, we need to be able to run and it worked against a very fast defense,” Sagedahl stated. “Nick showed once again how important field position is with his punting. The last time we played Caledonia, they blocked our punt twice and that was something we stressed all week in practice and the special teams came through big time.” BOLD scored 21 points against a Caledonia defense that had six shutouts during the season. “I thought that if our offense can score a couple times, our defense will stop them,” Steffel said. “Coach Sagedahl’s game plan was to run the ball, have long drives, and when we pass it’s gonna be a big play.” BOLD 21, Caledonia 0 BOLD individual stats Passing: Stadther 1-for-2, 34 yards. Rushing-(attempts-yards) Steffel 37-116, 1 TD. Wolff 16-58, 2 TD. Receiving-(receptions-yards) Weis 1-34. Kicking: Kubesh 3-for-3 on XPS. Punting: Kubesh 6-250. Forced fumbles: Weis,1.Fumble recoveries: Stadther,1. QB Sacks: Wolff,2. Jon Schulte,1. Interceptions: Weis,2. Tackles-(solo-assisted) Tersteeg 11-2. Manuel Garcia 4-4. Jake Rauenhorst 2-5. Wolff 5-1. Austin Einerson 4-0. Max Buchtel 1-3. Kubesh 3-1. Schulte 3-0. Tyler Park 1-1. Chris McRell 1-1. Alex Pietig 0-1. Weis 1-0. Zach Blum 1-0.