Victorious in four of the past five Prep Bowls, Caledonia is accustomed to success inside the Metrodome.
But Thursday's 26-24 Class 2A semifinal victory against BOLD was something new. The teams traded leads in the second half as Caledonia's vaunted defense gave up its most points in 63 games.
"Against Chatfield this season we won 6-0 so that was close, but we didn't exchange scores like this," said Levi Schmitz, Caledonia's savior against BOLD.
While not dominant, No. 1 Caledonia (12-0) advanced thanks to timely plays from its defense and a tremendous day from Schmitz.
Schmitz caught a 46-yard first-quarter touchdown pass, then broke a 7-7 halftime tie by blocking a BOLD punt and recovering the ball in the end zone for a 13-7 lead with 10:02 left in the third quarter.
No. 4 BOLD (11-1), based in Olivia, responded on its ensuing drive. Quarterback Tyler Rock broke off a 60-yard touchdown run as BOLD reclaimed a 14-13 lead.
Schmitz keyed Caledonia's go-ahead drive, catching a 31-yard pass at the BOLD 1-yard line. Ryan Pitts scored from there to give Caledonia a 20-14 lead.
BOLD would not relent. A 41-yard field goal by Nick Kubesh cut Caledonia's lead to 20-17 going into the fourth quarter.
"It was different because we were No. 4 and they were No. 1," BOLD coach Steve Solem said. "We are used to being the [higher-ranked team]. I think it helped us relax."
Schmitz applied pressure with a 55-yard punt to BOLD's 1-yard line. Two plays later, Jacob Swindell intercepted a pass at the BOLD 12.
"It was a great punt and it gave us a great situation," Swindell said.
A short Alex Varney touchdown run with 9:26 remaining gave Caledonia a 26-17 lead that wobbled but held up. A second Rock touchdown run with 5:06 left brought BOLD within 26-24 and represented the most points given up by Caledonia since 2008.