MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Under the lights at Park Center’s field Thursday night, Maple Grove Senior Joe Raymon caught a glimpse at the score board with about a minute to go in the fourth quarter.
His team was down by 17 points in the 6A state quarterfinal.
“You think, ‘Well, is this the last game that I’m ever going to play in?” Raymon said.
Crimson Head Coach Matt Lombardi was telling his team to not give up.
“I had someone ask me that. ‘Do you think you’re going to win?’ I said, ‘No, I just want to keep it going,'” Lombardi said.
Raymon caught a pass from his fellow senior quarterback to make it 27-16. Fifty-nine seconds were left on the clock. They went for an on-side kick — success.
Raymon again catches a pass and carries it halfway down the football field for another touchdown. Forty-six seconds to go. The comeback was in motion.
“When the Patriots played the Falcons last year, I mean, that’s a big one you think of it right away,” Raymon said. “But I mean, just kind of what happened last night, actually being a part of it, it just feels like something different than I’ve ever seen before.”
The team went for the on-side kick again and got the ball. Raymon caught a pass, making it to the 1-yard line, before yet another touchdown and extra point.
Final score: 29-27, Maple Grove.
“I’ve been 40 years of games and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Lombardi said.
Raymon says he has tried to stay off social media, where their story on the football field is capturing national attention. He says he is just proud he had a moment he will always remember with his team.
“The relationships that I’ve built with these guys, I love the guys that I play with and, you know, I’d do anything for them,” he said.
Maple Grove now goes on to play Eden Prairie in the semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium next Thursday.
The winner of that game advances to the state championship.