Stunning rally lifts La Salle

La Salle's Jimmy Herron (right) celebrates his touchdown reception with Charlie Hemcher. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Archbishop Wood, with 333 rushing yards, led comfortably by 17 points late in the third quarter Friday night in its showdown against La Salle.

That's when a near-certain win began to evaporate.

The resilient Explorers, fueled by the spectacular play of Jimmy Herron and two turnovers, flipped the switch, scored three times in the final 12 minutes, and emerged with a 35-31 victory before an overflow crowd at William Tennent.

"It's just great," La Salle coach Drew Gordon said while his players celebrated the improbable triumph. "The best thing is the comeback. There was every reason for the kids to give up, but they didn't."

All Herron did was make a career-high four touchdown receptions, including three in the last period, and recover the fumble that set up his winning 45-yard grab with 4 minutes, 50 seconds to play.

Then, on Wood's final series, Herron sealed the victory by breaking up a pass from midfield that was intended for Vikings wideout Mark Webb.

"It's pretty special," said Herron, a senior wide receiver and defensive back. "We just kept battling, even though it looked bleak. We believed in ourselves."

In stunning previously undefeated Wood, which came in ranked No. 1 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, No. 2 La Salle (5-1) overcame the 380 rushing yards totaled by the Vikings on 45 attempts.

With 273 yards on the ground, including 228 by fleet tailback Jarrett McClenton, Wood (5-1) took a 17-14 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

"They would get 5 to 8 yards at a pop," Herron said. "They kept coming at us. McClenton is a real good runner and works well with their offensive line."

Herron, who will play baseball at Duke, finished with eight catches for 111 yards. Kyle Shurmur connected on 19 of 31 passes for 273 yards.

On a 30-yard reception by tight end Jake Cooper and an 8-yard burst by McClenton, the Vikings went ahead, 31-14, in the third quarter.

A fumble recovery on Mike Raczak's punt, with the ball hitting a Wood player in the back, set the stage for Herron's 12-yard TD catch. Soon after, Herron's 49-yard reception paved the way for his 5-yard score that trimmed the gap to 31-28.

Herron's heroics continued when, on the next play from scrimmage, he scooped up McClenton's fumble, after a 20-yard gain, at the La Salle 44.

La Salle 7 7 0 21 - 35

Archbishop Wood 7 10 14 0 - 31

AW: Jarrett McClenton 51 run (Dan McDonald kick)

LS: Jordan Meachum 4 run (Mike Raczak kick)

AW: McClenton 31 run (McDonald kick)

LS: Jimmy Herron 8 pass from Kyle Shurmur (Raczak kick)

AW: FG McDonald 49

AW: Jake Cooper 30 pass from Anthony Russo (McDonald kick)

AW: McClenton 8 run (McDonald kick)

LS: Herron 12 pass from Shurmur (Raczak kick)

LS: Herron 5 pass from Shurmur (Raczak kick)

LS: Herron 45 pass from Shurmur (Raczak kick)