Johnson leads comeback, team to first place

With five minutes left in the game and McDonogh down 26-7, it appeared as though the Eagles and quarterback Rudy Johnson were done and one look around the huddle told the senior that his teammates were not very happy with him.

But three touchdowns and a thrilling come-from-behind victory later, the Eagles were 27-26 winners, his teammates were happy and Johnson earned this week's MDVarsity.com State Player of the Week.

"I think I was just having trouble finding guys earlier in the game and
I don't really know that Georgetown Prep really changed too much,"
Johnson said of the comeback victory. "I was just smarter and getting the ball off quicker - not trying to do too much - just trying to put the ball in the hands of the playmakers and let them do what they do."

Johnson rebounded from a rough start to throw for 355 yards and four touchdowns, throwing for three touchdowns in the final five minutes.

"I could tell by the look on their [teammates] faces that they were pretty sick of me at the time. I talked to Isaac [Jorgenson] after the game and he said they weren't very happy with me at one point in the game," Johnson said of his rough start.

"I just looked at everybody and could tell how bad they wanted the game and how bad they were feeling. It just gave me that little bit extra motivation. I wanted to come back and win the game for them," Johnson added.

Georgetown Prep had built a 26-7 lead, scoring 23 points in the third and fourth quarters, but with five minutes remaining, McDonogh shifted to its no-huddle offense.

Johnson threw a four-yard touchdown to Justin Gross with 4:49 left. Then with 3:32 left Johnson threw a touchdown to Gabe Macis to cut the lead to 26-20.

"They [Georgetown Prep] had me in check pretty much the entire game. After we threw the first one [touchdown], our defense really came up big and kept getting us the ball back. My receivers started making plays and my linemen were giving me time. Everything just fell into place," Johnson said.

The final drive started with 1:34 left in the game with McDonogh at its 7 and no timeouts left. Johnson completed four passes to Macis on the drive, including the game-winning 34-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds remaining.

"It's probably been the most special thing I've ever been involved with in a game - I can't even explain it," Johnson said. "It really shows me that in order for something like that to happen it's not going to be something that you do on your own. It's going to be a team effort."

The win keeps McDonogh (7-1) in first place in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) A Conference with a 3-0 league record.

Johnson, who is committed to Buffalo, has thrown for 1,498 yards and 17 touchdowns this season.

To be considered for Player of the Week honors, make sure to submit an athlete's performance for Top Performances each week. To submit a Top Performance e-mail Mike Loveday at Mike.Loveday.ESPN@gmail.com

Submissions must come from a coach, team statistician or newspaper. Please include your name in submissions so all performances can be verified.

To see a complete list of MDVarsity.com State Players of the Week, Click HERE.

ESPNRise encourages comments from its users. Leave a comment below. Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com