BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) Down but not out. That was Maple Grove’s football team in last night’s 6A Minnesota state quarterfinal game in Brooklyn Park.
The Crimson rallied to beat Saint Michael-Albertville 29-27. How they got there is the amazing part.
After scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown, Maple Grove successfully converted two onsides kicks, and marched down the field twice more to score. All in the final minute of play.
“Even when the game was over, even our kids and everyone kind of, ‘what just happened,’ ” Maple Grove coach Matt Lombardi told Dave Lee on the WCCO Morning News. “You heard that saying more than anything just because it happened so quickly.”
Trailing 27-10 with 4:30 left in the game played in Brooklyn Park, Maple Grove marched down the field and later scored on a pass from Curtis Haugen to Joe Raymon. The clock read :59.
After recovering an onsides kick, Haugen and Raymon connected on the very next play to cut the gap to 27-22.
The clock read :46.
Using the same onsides kick play that worked wonders seconds earlier, squibbing the ball up the middle, Maple Grove recovered the football again.
“Our onsides kicks were perfect,” said Lombardi. “It was something we worked on.”
It took five plays before Evan Hull swept around the left side from the one-yard line and ran untouched into the end zone for the go-ahead score.
The clock read :04.
St. Michael-Albertville (9-2) had no answer to the stunning reversal, and the Crimson are incredibly in the state 6A semifinals for the third time in four years.
“In times of peril, (our players) did very well,” Lombardi said. “There’s just a fun buzz around school. Everybody that stuck it out and was there, it was ten degrees and freezing, and then you see something like that. For the kids it will be a memory that they’ll have for a long time.”
The comeback is now getting national attention, with the sports commentary site Deadspin posting about it.
The Crimson (8-3) play defending state champion, top-ranked, and unbeaten Eden Prairie on Thursday night at U.S. Bank Stadium in the state football semifinals.