St. Paul Johnson rallied with three unanswered touchdowns and three two-point conversions — highlighted by two long, brother-to-brother touchdown passes — to defeat St. Anthony 24-22 in the Class 4A quarterfinals Thursday night at Park Center High School.
The Governors (7-4), who have been absent from the state tournament since before the Metrodome was built, advance to the semifinals next week in U.S. Bank Stadium.
"I've never done anything like that in football, youth or high school, it feels great," said quarterback Joey Moberg of his team's dramatic comeback from 22 points down late into the first half.
St. Anthony's backfield tandem of Johnathan Kieren and Troy Ellison had amassed more than 100 yards rushing in the first half.
Kieren, a junior, scored three touchdowns in the first half, two of them coming on runs of 25 and 14 yards. He also recovered a Johnson fumbled snap for a 1-yard score on the opening possession of the game.
Moberg started the Governors' comeback with a 45-yard touchdown pass to brother Luke Moberg with 30 seconds left in the first half. Joey then ran in the two-point conversion.
"We just take the game one play at the time," said Governors coach Eric Moberg, the father to Joey and Luke, who combined for more than 100 yards through the air. "If you turn the ball over, you put it behind you. We never get too high or too low."
A 2-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter by Johnson running back Demarion Nelson and the two-point conversion whittled St. Anthony's lead to 22-16. The Huskies (8-3) turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter, including a fumbled punt return at midfield with a litle more than nine minutes to play to help set up the Governors' winning score.
Joey Moberg's 39-yard scoring pass to Luke Moberg tied the score at 22-22 with 6:32 left.
The pair then connected for a two-point conversion pass that gave Johnson its first lead of the game.